Castro's Changes

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  • Castro's Changes
    • ‘Committees for the Defense of the Revolution’ were established throughout the country and recruited 500,000 soldiers who owed their allegiance to Castro
      • Conscription was used and helped to unite Cubans behind a common cause
      • 550 of Batista’s supporters and officials were executed
        • Many middle class Cubans were worried about this and it led to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Cuba’s best educated ad talented to the US
          • Within 18 months the free press was suppressed and the academic autonomy of the University of Havana was abolished
    • Ministry for the Recovery of Stolen Property confiscated the property of Batista and his supporters as well as dissidents.  This was estimated at US $25 million and funded future ventures
      • Lavish houses and mansions were converted into multi-family housing units that helped alleviate a housing shortage
      • When several major oil companies refused to extend credit to the new government for oil imports, Castro bought Soviet crude oil to be processed in US-owned refineries in Cuba
        • US revoked the Cuban sugar quota which annually bought 80% of the cane crop. Castro responded by seizing all US property and utilities, sugar mills and nickel mines.  
      • On April 15 1961, shortly after the failed Bay of Pigs invasions, he declared he was leading a socialist revolution under the nose of the US
        • The Integrated Revolution Organisation brought together the fidelistas and Cuban communists officially in 1961
    • Guevara believed that moral incentives should be used to create a new breed of Cubans who understand the need for personal sacrifice
      • Carlos Rafael Rodriguez was an economist who argued that for the economy to advance there needed to be incentives offered
    • On May 17 1959, the Agrarian Reform Law (ARL) was passed.  This allowed the expropriation of large agricultural holdings
      • Set the maximum farm size to 30 caballerias (995 acres or 403 hectares).  It abolished sharecrops and restricted foreign ownership
        • In 1963, the Second Law of Agrarian Reform expropriated about 10,000 mid-sized farms (over 67 hectares) and the state controlled 70% of the land
      • On June 11 the US government demanded immediate and fair compensation for all US interests.
        • October 1960, in response to the US ending the sugar quota and imposing an embargo, Castro expropriated all US landholdings without compensation


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