In 1959, Cuban revolutionists, led by Fidel Castro, successfully overthrew Batista’s dictatorial regime and took over the government. The successful Cuban revolution consequently became the inspiration for revolutionary movements in other countries, like Chile, in the 1970s, and in Central America, in the 1980s. Despite the success of revolutionary maneuvers in these territories, the rules and policies, implemented by the governments, established post-revolution and resulted in a series of challenges that the states had been working on resolving them even until today. Some of the primary problems involved some challenges in rebuilding and reforming the new rule; they were established after the revolution to make sure that new laws and policies would lead to political and economic prosperity. In Cuba, Chile, and Central America, Latin Americans in government sought to address their problems, resulting from populism by implementing anti-capitalist alternatives. However, the outcomes of anti-capitalist efforts, implemented in these countries, were detrimental to economic development.
ANTI-CAPITALIST ALTERNATIVES AND METHODS
After the end of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Castro’s revolutionary government displayed its anti-capitalist efforts by nationalizing all properties and solidifying Cuba as a socialist state. Castro’s adherence to nationalization was his administration’s mean of diminishing the power and influencing on foreign capitalists in Cuba. Nationalization in Cuba, however, influenced Dwight Eisenhower, the then president of the United States of America, to issue an embargo that led to the decline of the Cuban economy. In response to the embargo, Castro sought assistance from the Soviet Union, another socialist state. The communist party in Cuba also adhered to the underhanded means, in order to preserve the rule of the regime and ensure that people bowed down to the edicts of the state. The economic decline following the embargo, which affected the socio-economic conditions of Latin Americans in Cuba, the gradual configuration of the communist party in Cuba, and Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet Union, prompted anti-communist insurgents, mostly supporters of Batista, and the US government to launch the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Although the intervention of the US was unsuccessful, the maneuvers of the Castro administration to instill anti-capitalist alternatives resulted in Cuba’s economic downfall and its protracted conflict with the US. The conflict between Cuba and the US, which lasted for decades, stunted economic growth in Cuba and exhausted the country’s resources. The demise of the socialist state, the Soviet Union, Cuba’s primary ally, served to be unfavorable to the latter.
In 1970, Salvador Allende Gossens was named President of the Chilean government. Chile attempted to solidify democracy in the country, to be subverted by military forces three years after. Revolutionists, who fought against democracy in Chile, pointed out the errors of a democratic government that implemented laws and policies that supported populism, which shows the gap between the elites, and benefited foreign investors and corporations. Therefore, military rebels took over the government and reverted to dictatorship. However, anti-capitalist alternatives proved to be a failure in improving the Chilean economy and the maintaining peace among the different political factions in the country. Like the political maneuvers of Castro in Cuba following the Cuban Revolution, the Allende administration established the Popular Unitary Action Movement (MAPU), which also led to nationalization in Chile. Due to nationalization, the Chilean government was able to claim ownership of the country’s major source of revenue, its copper mines. The MAPU also enabled the Allende administration to implement other policies for land reform and reinstitution of Chile’s independence from foreign intervention. The outcomes of Allende’s socialist policies also led to economic decline in the country, and hostile relations with the US and its allies.
Other countries in Central America, like Guatemala, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, also suffered economically as an outcome of anti-capitalism alternatives, implemented by their respective governments. Nationalization and land reform in Guatemala led by Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, for instance, not only served as barriers to economic development from foreign relations but also led to social problems that the masses were forced to endure. Communist maneuvers, not only in Guatemala but also in other countries aforementioned, led to various human rights violations overlooked by Latin American governments. Moreover, the pressure from socialist states resulted in ongoing civil wars between anti-capitalist and anti-socialist factions that did not only cause chaos in Latin American countries, but also prevented these states from rebuilding their declining economies.
Anti-capitalist efforts, such as nationalization, stunt economic growth due to the alienation of foreign investors and corporations that could provide various opportunities to increase national revenue through healthy trade relations. Socialist policies, aligned with land reform and labor laws among others, implemented in Cuba, Chile, and Central America failed to improve the socio-economic conditions in these states. Majority of Latin Americans responded through their involvement in coups, leading to civil wars and social unrest. Overall, the outcomes of anti-capitalist alternatives implemented in Cuba, Chile, and other countries in Central America, prove that socialist maneuvers are barriers to economic development and preservation of peace and solidarity in these countries.