The Cuban Revolution and the Triumph of Women in Cuba

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Fidel Castro and the M-26-7 successfully seized power of Cuba’s government in 1959, after years of fighting. The M-26-7’s nationalist movement was able to knock the corrupt leader, Fulgencio Batista, out of power, and in 1961 Castro deemed the revolution to be officially of a Marxist nature. Throughout his 40-year stay as president, Castro has not allowed his revolution to stall, but rather he has allowed it to progress and adapt as he has seen fit. In relation with Castro’s revolution in Cuba has been another revolution, that of the Cuban women. Castro himself described the changes in women’s public and private lives as "a revolution within a revolution". In a true system of equality, as in the one Castro holds as his ideal, equality reaches all people across all lines whether they are lines of race, class, or gender. Throughout Castro’s campaign, starting in 1953 with the failed Moncada attack, Castro has used historic referenciality to appeal to the Cuban population. Castro’s most often mentioned historical figure is no other than the national hero, José Martí. While Martí’s view on women is suspect to debate, his opinion on equality is very clear. Martí once said, "Respect for the freedom and ideas of others, of even the most wretched being, is my fanaticism. When I die, or if I am killed, it will be because of that." The crux of this prophetic quote was borrowed by Castro on a broader level when he attained power and based his entire social structure on equality. Women in pre-revolutionary Cuba Gender differences were enormous in Cuba before the Cuban revolution. The prototypical woman of the old republic according to a leading journalist of the revolution, Mirta Rodríguez Calderón, was Yina the prostitute. A poor wo... ... middle of paper ... ...reignty against the colonizers who exterminated the auctoctonous population, of the interventionists who sought to take up our Island, of the dictators and governments in power under the disgraceful servitude of transnational mandates impoverishing the country. Resolute and brave women patriots engaged in every necessary period of the war for national liberation. When the people took power, women identified the starting revolution, as their own Revolution, which immediately established education and medical care services free for all without distinction, the land and urban reforms, measures of greatly popular benefits made it clear what the revolution intended to do, and therefore they embraced at once, participating intensively in all construction and defense works of the new society that opened its doors with all the rights and opportunities they never had before.

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