Cuba and the Development of Underdevelopment

  • Patricia Ruffin
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Cuba’s position within the international capitalist system has been determined by historical forces not of its own making, and in many fundamental ways the Cubans have merely responded to the external stimulus imposed upon the nation by the consolidation of the capitalist world economy. As a result, Cuba’s developmental history is symbolic of the paradoxical relationship that emerged among Europe, North America (for the purposes of this analysis the US, not Canada) and the nations of the Third World. This chapter will shift to an analysis of those factors that have contributed to Cuba’s domestic and international position within the context of the capitalist world economy. At this point it is necessary to explore the economic, political, and social conditions which first led Spain to pursue the colonial adventure.


Tobacco Production Industrial Revolution Sugar Production Capitalist System Slave Labor 
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  1. 1.
    Julio Le Riverend, The Economic History of Cuba (Havana: Esayo, 1967), p. 52. Le Riverend discusses in some detail the crisis of the Spanish economy and the decline of Spanish power in the sixteenth century, see especially pp. 52–5.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Manuel Moreno Fraginals, The Sugarmill: the Socioeconomic Complex of Cuban Sugar (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1976), p. 24.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
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  4. 14.
    Manuel Moreno Fraginals, El Ingenio: Complejo Económico Social Cubano del Azúcar (The Sugarmill: the Socioeconomic Complex of Cuban Sugar) (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1978), p. 39.Google Scholar
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  6. 23.
    Some North American accounts of the Spanish-Cuban-American War of Independence would lead most to think that the Cubans played a minor role in the actual conflict. To the contrary, the Cubans were mobilizing while North American foreign policy vacillated from continuation of Spain’s control of Cuba to North American annexation, or Cuban independence. See Philip S. Foner, The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism, 1895–1898, vol. I (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  7. 24.
    The 1902 Reciprocal Trade Agreement between the United States and Cuba was signed in Havana on 11 December, 1902, and ratified by Cuba and the United States on 30 March, 1903. This treaty established the conditions of trade between the United States and Cuba and specified the preferential rates of duty on articles of merchandise imported to Cuba. For example, Article VI states: ‘It is agreed that the tobacco, in any form, of the United States or of any of its insular possessions, shall not enjoy the benefit of any concession or rebate of duty when imported into the Republic of Cuba’. Article VIII specified: ‘the concessions herein granted on the part of the said Republic of Cuba to the products of the United States shall likewise be, and shall continue, during the term of this convention, preferential in respect to all like imports, from other countries. Provided, that while this convention is in force, no sugar imported from the Republic of Cuba shall be admitted into the United States at a reduction of duty greater then twenty per centum of the rates of duty thereon as provided by the tarriff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897, and no sugar, the product of any other foreign country, shall be admitted by treaty or convention into the United States, while this convention is in force, at a lower rate of duty than that provided by the tariff act of the United States approved July 24, 1897’. See Charles I. Bevans (comp.), Treaties and other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776–1975, vol. VI (Washington, DC, Department of State, US Government Printing Office, 1968).Google Scholar
  8. 27.
    Julio Le Riverend, La Republica: Dependencia y Revolution (The Republic: Dependency and Revolution) (Havana: 1971), p. 13.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Patricia Ruffin 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Ruffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Political Science Howard UniversityUSA

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