Cultural Change in Postrevolutionary Cuba

Bunck, Julie Marie, Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs , University of Virginia
Claude, Inis L., Woodrow Wilson Government and Foreign Affairs Department, University of Virginia

This study of postrevolutionary Cuba examines the extent to which the communist regime has been able to transform culture. The Castro government has failed in its efforts to create a new culture.

After transforming structures with great rapidity, the revolutionary leaders believed cultural transformation could be carried out as well. They set out, therefore, to create a "new Cuban man." During the early period of the Revolution, however, the leaders greatly overestimated their ability to use moral suasion, indoctrination, and noncompulsory tactics to mold a deeply rooted culture.

The failure to shape culture through the use of noncompulsive methods forced the regime to adjust its tactics either to accommodate the culture, or more typically to resort to different means in an attempt to force change. By 1970, the use of various forms of compulsion had become common.

The regime also changed its fundamental objective to create a new culture. It instead became satisfied with control over the behavior of citizens. The leaders enforced social conformity and obedience through the use of fear tactics and force.

The use of compulsion, however, produced a cultural backlash. Although most prerevolutionary attitudes remained unchanged, many of the attitudes that the government sought to eradicate became even more prevalent than before the Revolution. Moreover, in response to the regimes fear tactics, different attitudes developed. In part, a new culture emerged. Although it was not the traditional culture, it was also not the regimes ideal culture. It was instead the product of government pressure, deprivation, fear, and disillusionment.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1959-1990, Cuba -- Social conditions -- 1959-1990
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: