II. Economic aspects of the Cuban Revolution | by Celso Furtado


From Economic Development of Latin America,  1970

Translated by Suzette Macedo


Redistributive stage of the Revolution

The 1959 revolution precipitated the course of events and impelled the country towards the second alternative at a spectacular pace. The reaction of the United States and the subsequent economic blockade of the island imposed by the Washington government, together with the support given to the new Cuban government by the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, caused events to move with incredible speed, changing the very essence of the range of options arising out of the country’s previous evolution. The revolution must be regarded as part of the formative process of the Cuban nation-state, a process that had begun with the country’s struggle for liberation from Spanish power. But the later course of the revolution cannot fully be understood without taking into account the fact that the last act of this liberation process was played out against the United States at the critical time when the balance of nuclear power called for a strict demarcation of the spheres of influence of the two super-powers. Thus, the international circumstances surrounding the Cuban Revolution came to play a decisive role in the course it was to follow.

From an economic point of view, the evolution of post-revolutionary Cuba can be divided into two periods. The first is marked by a policy designed to change the power structure and the distribution of income; the second by a concerted effort to bring about the country’s economic reconstruction.

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