Is Castro a Modern Caudillo?
Section A: Plan of Investigation
The aim of this investigation is to find out whether or not Fidel Castro should be considered a Modern Caudillo. The investigation will cover Fidel's years in college at the University of Havana, his Political beginnings with his mentor Eduardo Chibas, and his rise to power creating his single partied Communist republic. An analysis of these periods should give the reader a good interpretation on whether or not Fidel Castro should be considered a modern Caudillo. Much of the research will be done through Biographies of Castro along with Internet research.
B. Summary of Evidence
1. Castro studies at Havana University
In 1945, Castro began law school at the University of Havana and was greatly interested by the political culture there. He decided to join the action group Partido Ortodoxo led by Eduardo Chibas which stood for social justice, honest government, and political freedom. At his law school, tensions rose between the various political parties and rivalries were common. During 1948, when Castro returned to the University of Havana after a brief hiatus, he was linked to two political assassinations; the murder of Manolo Castro on February 22, 1948 who was the President of the University's Student Federation and was killed in a gangster-style shoot-out at a cinema not far from the university campus, and the murder of university police officer Oscar Fernandez who was killed in front of his own home on June 6th where people witnessed the murder. Both incidents passed and Castro joined the anti-American demonstration trip to Bogota, Colombia which was fully funded by President and Army Colonel of Argentina Juan Peron. Castro was involved in mob violence and property destruction later seeking refuge in the Argentinean embassy. All of these acts show his controlling character and lust for violence. The anti-American demonstration trip that he went on with military stic dictator Juan Pedro implies that he approves of Caudillo's running government.
2. Rise to Power
After working at a small law firm, Castro became increasingly interested in having a career in politics. He broke away from the Partido Ortodoxo and marshaled legal arguments based on the Constitution of 1940 charging General Fulgencio Batista with violating the constitution. When his petition was denied by the Court of Constitution Guarantees, it formed a foundation for Castro's opposition to the Batista government convincing him that the only way to reform Batista's government was through revolution. Castro formed an underground organization whose aim was to have an armed attack on the Moncada Barracks, Batista's largest garrison outside Santiago de Cuba. They collected guns and ammunition for the battle while creating a diversion through simultaneously attacking the Cespedes garrison in Bayamo. Of the total one hundred thirty-five militants, sixty five were killed during the attack. Castro and the rest of the survivors were arrested. Castro and his brother Raul were not executed as many of the other members of their organization were. Fidel Castro was tried in court in the Fall of 1953 where he was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. During this time in jail at the Isla de Pinos, Castro plotted to overthrow Batista by going to Mexico for reorganization and training of his new political party. He was let out after only serving 2 years of his sentence by Batista who was pressured to let him out. Immediately after being released from jail, Castro followed his plan and went to Mexico. He was reunited with other Cuban exiles and founded the 26th of July Movement where they planned how to overthrow Fulgencio Batista. Castro met Ernesto Cheguevara. And after much preparation, they setup camp located in the heart of the Sierra Maestra mountains. From 1957-1958, Castro and Batista's forces fought against each other and on December 31st, 1958 during the Battle of Santa Clara, Batista's forces were defeated. The very next day Batista fled to the Dominican republic with over 300 million dollars. Fidel Castro's forces moved throughout the island and gained power. On February 16th, 1959, Castro was sworn in as Prime Minister of Cuba.
In Castro's revolution, there are many nuances that would classify him as a Caudillo. He believed that the only way for reform of the Batista government was through revolutions so he knew that war was necessary. Every idea that he has had for reform was to overthrow the current government at the time by means of Guerrilla Warfare showing his militaristic tendencies. His friendship with Cheguevara further solidified his militaristic ideologies.
C. Analysis of Sources
My first source is a book called THE SECRET FIDEL CASTRO : DECONSTRUCTION THE SYMBOL By Servando Gonzalez. This source gave me information on the assassinations that Fidel Castro was accused of committing in college.
The second source that I used is http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/fidel_castro.html where I found a biography of Fidel Castro which gave me information on when he went to Mexico and began the 26th of July Movement and how his relationship developed with Che Guevara.
A Caudillo is known for being a political military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. Because of Fidel's actions with which he used to gain power, he can be classified as a modern caudillo.
(D. is bad)
According to the research above, Fidel Castro is a Modern Caudillo. He used Guerrilla Warfare tactics in order to gain power in Cuba which was greatly influenced from CheGuevara.
(E. is bad)