The political structure of the Cuban Communist regime was relatively orthodox and most of the unusual features it displayed at the beginning of the 1980s were the legacy of its conversion in the 1960s from a nationalist-populist revolutionary military regime into a purportedly Communist regime. A revolutionary guerrilla army, the Rebel Army, had overthrown the country’s military regime at the beginning of 1959 and its young leader, Fidel Castro, had taken the posts of military Commander-in-Chief and Prime Minister of a provisional revolutionary government. By the end of 1961 he had declared himself to be a Marxist-Leninist and Cuba was beginning a protracted conversion into a ‘typical’ Communist regime. But the continuing domination of regime and country by Castro and other former leaders of the Rebel Army left Cuba with a unique, military-party type of Communist regime which was only gradually transformed into a more orthodox Communist regime. The 1970s process known as ‘institutionalisation’ saw the 1975 First Party Congress’s formal establishment of Party rule and the 1976 Constitution’s replacement of the provisional revolutionary government with a relatively normal Communist state structure. However, Castro remained the regime’s leader as not only First Secretary of the Party but also from 1976 onwards the holder of a powerful new state Presidency. His continuing possession of the military post of Commander-in-Chief and his propensity for military garb kept alive the image as well as the reality of rule by a military man – ‘in many ways, the ultimate Latin American caudillo [military leader] of the twentieth century’.1
KeywordsCommunist Regime Material Incentive Hard Currency Voluntary Labour Moral Incentive
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