Fidel, Raul and Che die during the Cuban Revolution: Does Cuba still become Communist?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Ricardolindo, May 11, 2019.

  1. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

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    From what I know of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel, Raul and Che were the 3 top communists of the 26th of July Movement (though Fidel's communism only became blatant after the revolution while Raul and Che's was always blatant). If they had been killed during the Cuban Revolution and the 26th of July Movement still succeeded in overthrowing Batista, would Cuba have still become communist or would the moderates in the 26th of July Movement have come out on top and turned Cuba into a democracy?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
  2. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I think some of it was that we in the U.S. cut them off from trade. And so, since their main trading partner was the Soviet Union, they had abundant self-interested reasons to get with the program, so to speak.

    Not that we in the U.S. can always throw our weight around and affect outcomes, but on this one, I kind of think we did.

    =========

    Later edit: Or, on the other hand, I may be mistaken.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  3. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

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    Wrong, it's mentioned in https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/wi-no-bay-of-pigs-invasion.453926/#post-17742352 that anti-Communism had already been declared counterrevolutionary by the end of 1959. The embargo only started in October 1960.
     
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  4. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. And I also looked up the book from this post:

    Wish they would have gone the route of a mixed economic system.

    And/or play both sides against the middle and achieve good trade deals with both superpowers, but that may be quite a bit trickier than it is in some of my favorite timelines.
     
  5. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

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    You have realized your mistake but I wonder when most people will end this old anti-American myth that Cuba only became communist because the USA were hostile to Fidel. Fidel was always a communist, though he only stated it openly after the Revolution. BTW, before it became blatant that Fidel Castro was a communist, the USA were actually friendly to him, initally, and cut off support to Batista months before the end of the Revolution. They were, however, concerned with Raul Castro and Che Guevara, whose communism was always blatant.
     
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  6. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I think most Americans get it about right!

    I mean, Fidel and Cuba might be the rare exception which proves the rule. In all too many cases, we have opposed a populist leader because he (or in rare cases, she) was in favor of changes that would hurt American corporate interests. And all our rhetoric about genuine economic development, about democracy, about rising standards of living for all, didn’t amount to a hill of beans when it came down to it.

    No different than any other empire. Meaning the British, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Spanish, and heck, even the Native Americans if they had beat us to advanced military and seafaring.

    Now, I’m in favor of taking it a step further and asking, okay, what are some of the rare exceptions which we can build off of?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  7. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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  8. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    And I understand these governments were also largely effective in regulating financial markets. That is, they prevented the stock market tail from wagging the overall economy dog.
     
  9. ennobee Well-Known Member

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    Quick answer. Raoul and Fidel Castro dying during the revolution would so a rt a nest of butterflies that could flap either way. But Check Guevara was already a legend in his own right. If he were to die he would be instantly elevated to national saint and martyr and the new government would have no choice but to completely declare itself the executor of his 'Glorious Dream' . If the country doesn't go Communist right away it will still have a large socialist - even socio-communist - underpinning which will slowly get it on the US's naughty list and into the Soviet sphere of influence.
     
  10. DaveBC Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I would agree with this point too.

    I think the only thing that made the revolution "non-communist" were:

    (a) they didn't want to give the U.S. any excuse to prop up Batista, and

    (b) they were waiting to see what aid the U.S. might offer the new regime, which obviously would be zero if they said they were communists.

    I mean, I guess what that means is that the U.S. could have bought them off and hence in that sense they "became communist because the USA were hostile," but "it's our fault because they wouldn't have done it if we bribed them not to" is a bit of a stretch to me.

    I co-wrote a paper on the Canadian embassy in Havana during the revolution years ago. That visit Fidel made to the U.S. in 1959 was supposed to be a joint visit to Washington and Ottawa, but the Canadians were so afraid they'd be embarrassed if he visited them and turned out afterwards to be a communist that they slow-walked the request. By the time they realized he was actually going to meet with Nixon, it was too late to reschedule the Ottawa leg of the trip. He ended up going to Montreal to save face.
     
  11. Arcavius Arms and the Man I Sing

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    The Yugoslavs managed it.
     
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  12. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Now, I don't know if it's true for Canada, but elsewhere in the Commonwealth, I kind of gather that the UK itself was more hardcore anti-communist than the U.S. especially during the early days of the cold war. The UK did not have a McCarthy-like going after people and trying to get them fired, but foreign-policy-wise, rather hardcore.

    Was Canada similar?

    But then interestingly, I understand Canada remaining a trading partner for Cuba even during many years of a U.S. embargo.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  13. DaveBC Well-Known Member

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    It's a bit of a mixed bag. In some respects Canada was more worried about communist suspicion - there was also no McCarthy here, but on the other hand, the national police did purge the civil service of leftists and gays, and even invented a machine that was supposed to be able to detect whether you were gay or straight by flashing images in front of your eyes and then measuring, well, you can guess what. This was called, hilariously, the "fruit machine."

    More to the point on Cuba, though, the enduring foreign policy problem for the Canadian government, always and on every issue, is how to find some safe middle ground between winning votes by "standing up to the Yanks" and protecting the economy and security by cooperating with the U.S. Hence the Canadian government didn't want to get caught out left-footed if the U.S. was going to condemn communism in Cuba, but on the other hand, it didn't want to be seen to be doing America's bidding by going along with the embargo, either. My impression of Britain is that they face the same foreign policy dilemma but are a little bit less neurotic about it than Canada sometimes is.

    One hilarious anecdote that came out of the research -- as foreign exchange problems mounted, the Cuban stores started running out of fresh fruit and vegetables that they used to import from Florida. The UK and US embassies had a secret arrangement with one of the local stores where they were smuggling in fresh food in diplomatic bags. The smuggling operation got big enough that they asked whether we wanted in on it.

    The external affairs office in Ottawa vetoed this, however, much to the disappointment of the Havana staff, I'm sure.
     
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  14. OldNavy1988 Well-Known Member

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    If those three are killed, Cuba is pretty much stuck with Fulgenico Batista for at least the next decade...right?
     
  15. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully, other leaders step forward.
     
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  16. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Almost as if they're playing a parody of being bad communists!

    It would have been so much better if Fidel had taken a step backward, let one of his ministers get upset, then privately talk with this minister, and say something like, Okay, the Church is talking some shit. And we're going to let them keep on talking shit because it demonstrates we're easier to work with than a lot of people say we are! And we're just going to have to flat-out outcompete the Catholic Church in providing better schools, that's all there is to it.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  17. David T Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily--I would say, not even probably. There were all sorts of people other than the Castro brothers trying to overthrow Batista--ex-President Prio, various military factions, the Revolutionary Directorate (which actually had more guerillas fighting in the Escambray Mountains in September 1958 than the Castros had in the Sierra Madre) https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/wi-1957-cuban-revolution.429786/#post-15954827 etc.

    Even M-26-7 could have been a powerful force without the Castro brothers if Frank País https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_País had lived.

    Indeed, it is doubtful that Fidel Castro even saw Batista as his main enemy. A great deal of his activities can best be explained as aimed at assuring that Batista would not be overthrown by someone other then himself:

    "Second, Fidel wanted Mariano Sori Marin to get a message to former Cuban president Carlos Prio, the same luxury-loving chap Fidel had once castigated as the "buyer and seller of assassinations," the same Prio who had fled Cuba after Batista's coup in 1952 and who was now plotting his own "countercoup" and return to power. Fidel wanted Sori Marin to tell Prio to overthrow Batista within six months or else give Fidel the money so he could do it! Here the cunning intelligence of Castro again shows. He told Sori Marin, "If a coup is made against Batista, then I am going to go down in history without a name, even though I made Moncada."

    "So, Sori Marin dutifully went to see Prio and he gave the former president Fidel's message, to which the affable Prio agreeably answered, "Chico, this is a young man—we have to help the young men." Now it was just a matter of time. Fidel could wait.

    "Not long after the meeting with Sori Marin, Fidel himself went to see Dr. Jose Miro Cardona, who had been one of his professors at the University of Havana. He told Miro proudly that he was "going to Mexico to make the revolution." But Miro was a suspicious man. He narrowed gimlet eyes upon Fidel and said, "And, against whom are you making the revolution?"

    "Fidel did not even hesitate, and he certainly was not being ironic when he answered, "Against Carlos Prio, of course!"

    "In 1986,1 spoke to Jorge Valls, the respected intellectual "author" of the anti-Batista Directorio Revolucionario (DR), or Revolutionary Directorate. Valls told me that Fidel's remark had confused Miro for many years until he finally realized that Fidel's first and most implacable war was not against Batista at all but against any competitive revolutionaries. Under no circumstances was he about to be preempted!"

    https://books.google.com/books?id=dRhJGLnJjugC&pg=PA134
    https://books.google.com/books?id=dRhJGLnJjugC&pg=PA135
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  18. luis3007 History amateur

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    Going from a bloody dictatorship in service to the Soviet Union to a bloody dictatorship in service to the United States.....hmmm....choices, choices /s :noexpression:
     
  19. Relekka Member

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    Not everything needs to be a dictatorship, nor aligned with the world powers. Non-Aligned Cuba’s a very distinct possibility if the US plays its cards right.
     
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  20. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Revolutions that throw out a dictator and end up replacing him with something better are, sadly, not very common. Different is rarely better and often worse. Folks love to point to the improvements in Cuban health care and other aspects of life since Castro/communism took over, but overall has life been better - fewer political prisoners? Did land reform really help the Cuban farmer/peasant? Disconnection from the internet second only to North Korea? Under previous Cuban governments, you could leave if you wanted to (for whatever reason), once Castro came in you could not leave - what do you call a place where you can't walk out the door if you so desire, a prison.

    Could anti-Batista forces have overthrown him, other than those led by Castro? Probably. Would they have been better for the Cuban people than Batista or Castro, possibly. Recent history has shown us that "imposing" democracy, or a reasonable facsimile, with respect for law, minority rights etc on someplace by an outside power does not work very well. Unless of course you are willing and able to move a large occupation force in and stay for 10+ years, stomp any opposition to your social changes, and in the interim run things yourself only gradually letting the locals back in. This is the Germany/Japan model post WWII, of course Germany had had democracy and rule of law before Hitler so there was that to build on, and in Japan you had the Emperor signing off on these changes (and in 1945 he was still the unquestioned supreme authority).
     
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