As a Socialist state Cuba has two unusual features; it was not founded by an orthodox Communist party and the armed forces, not the party, dominated the regime in its formative years. The armed forces in their turn began as the personal following of a charismatic leader, passed through a period of Maoist influence in the 1960s, and finally emerged on Soviet lines in the 1970s; Cuba now has the largest armed forces in the Americas, after the United States, but their chief activity seems at present to be support for the Soviet Union in Africa and, possibly, the Middle East. The early emphasis on guerrilla warfare seems to have been abandoned in favour of seizing large centres, supplying them by air, and maintaining the most important communications, like the Russians in Afghanistan. The government has been noticeably cautious of becoming directly involved in Central America.
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