The History Of The Republic Of Cuba

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Country Report: The Republic of Cuba
I. Country History
Much of Cuba, as most of the world knows it, revolves around the chaotic time of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Missile Crisis during the mid-1960s. However, Cuba has a long and complicated past of invasion and suffering, booming economic industry, and revolution. There exist scant details on Cuba’s past before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and his men in the New World on 28 October 1492. What historians do know is that there were three main indigenous native tribes that inhabited the island: the Taíno, Guanajatabey, and Siboney peoples. According to Richard Gott’s book Cuba: A New History, “Columbus gave a friendly account of Cuba in his journal, describing villages of large houses ‘looking like tents in a camp, without regular streets but one here and another there. Within they were clean and well-swept, with well-made furniture. All were of palm branches, beautifully constructed’” (13). It was not until the year 1511 that conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar established the first permanent settlement in Cuba – Baracoa. Any Indian resistance was quashed and the leaders burnt at the stake. The Spanish colonial society in Cuba grew slowly with agriculture being the main economic driver; sugarcane and tobacco started to be harvested in limited amounts. Mr. Gott states that “The first large-scale sugar plantations – with three sugar mills under construction in the area around Matanzas – were established in Cuba in 1576 … The foundations of a new economy had been laid, but progress remained slow” (37-38).
In 1762, during the end of the Seven Years War, the British had occupied the capital of Cuba: Havana. While the British only controlled Cuba for eleven months, the economy...

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...onomy. In a July 2013 article published by The Economist, “The government has handed over, on ten-year renewable leases, nearly 1.5m hectares (3.7m acres) of land to private farmers or co-operatives, who now occupy 70% of farmland” (The Economist). This is a baby step in the right direction for the Cuban economy. Privatization ensures that there is an augmented efficiency in services which, in turn, lead to improved quality, lower prices, and a reduced amount of corruption.
It seems that the leadership of Raúl Castro is one that will be more open than his brother. Perhaps he and his compatriots understand that economic growth is an element critical to the wholesome functioning of politics. Many former Soviet countries have liberalized their economies and reshaped the way they govern for the better. Cuba must embrace change to overcome the past.

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