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Laurent Dubois and Richard Lee Turits

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653600

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653600.001.0001

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The Making of the Cuban Revolution

The Making of the Cuban Revolution

(p.188) 5 The Making of the Cuban Revolution
Freedom Roots

Laurent Dubois

Richard Lee Turits

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the roots and unfolding of the 1950s revolutionary movement in Cuba, in which Fidel Castro’s small guerrilla army triumphed against all odds over the powerful U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista regime. Castro’s army thrived in Cuba’s Oriente Province, where they tapped into a decades-old battle for land between planters and independent peasants and squatters. In this sense, Castro found a movement more than he founded one. The rural insurrection was complemented by an equally important urban uprising that helped destabilize and delegitimize a dictatorship beginning to crumble from within. The chapter integrates the urban, rural, and multi-class dimensions of the Cuban insurrection. In doing so, the chapter sheds light on the complexity of revolutions more generally and the way successful struggles depend on coalitions built among groups with often contradictory interests and goals. The chapter also demonstrates how political aims and alliances shift dramatically in the context of struggle, amid changing perceptions of the possible and new political opportunities, constraints, and alternatives.

Keywords:   Cuban Revolution, 1950s Cuba, Fulgencio Batista, dictatorship, Oriente, peasantry, squatters, political ideas, Fidel Castro, rural guerrillas, urban uprising

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