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Facts about Cuba:

Is Cuba democratic?

Yes. The Cuban revolution began with the struggle for democracy against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Being a country whose economy and political life were dominated by US interests, the revolution was also a struggle for democracy in the sense of winning the right of the Cuban nation to act as a sovereign power and shape its own future.

Out of the revolution there arose a number of mass popular organisations which to this day wield considerable influence in Cuban society. These organisations enable all Cubans to participate in decision-making and to ensure their voices are heard when consultations take place with a view to forming government policy. The right to participate and to be heard is enshrined in the Constitution and Cubans have the opportunity to participate in decision making both in their neighbourhoods and their work places. There are also numerous groups representing particular professions or social or cultural interests which play an active part in the consultative process so characteristic of political life in Cuba, such as the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), pensioners’ and ex-combatants’ associations.

Eighty per cent of Cubans over the age of 14 are members of their local Committee for the Defence of the Revolution – a committee composed of members of about 60 households living in a district or area. CDRs are found in every neighbourhood throughout the country. They are responsible for a variety of aspects of the life of the neighbourhood, from civil defence (necessary in a country 90 miles from a world super-power which, since 1959, has not ceased to act in a hostile manner towards it), collecting waste for recycling and social events to voluntary work and discussing proposals of new laws from central government.

Was Fidel Castro a dictator?

No. Any one of the deputies to Cuba's parliament, including Fidel Castro, are subject to recall at any time and must by law report back to mass meeting in their constituency once every six months.

If Castro was such a dictator, why did he receive such overwhelming support in the elections? Why is it also that his position as the country's President was decided by parliament and that members of his government were also voted in by parliament?

What does the U.N. think about Cuba?

It has long been clear that international law protects the domestic affairs of states and their independence and sovereignty. On 21 December 1965 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 'Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of their Independence and Sovereignty'. The principle was ratified in the 1970 declaration on Principles of International Law. In addition, on 9 December 1981 the General Assembly adopted by 120 votes to 22 (all Western states), with 6 abstentions, Resolution 36/103, the 'Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States'.

What has socialism done for the Cuban people?

Until 1959 Cuba was a third-world country that served as a provider of sugar, cigars and cattle for the benefit of a few large companies and landowners. Its impoverished population was a reservoir of cheap labour. Due to its proximity to the US it was also a playground for wealthy Americans who visited the island for its casinos and brothels, largely owned by the Mafia.

On 1 January 1959 the revolutionary government took power with its policy of freeing Cuba from the economic and political domination of the US and of a few wealthy Cuban families. Since that time the island has been subjected by the US to an increasingly severe blockade with trade restrictions and prohibitions in addition to harassment, armed attacks, campaigns to demonise the Cuban state and illegal interference in the country’s internal affairs and infrastructure carried out by groups of Cuban exiles, fully aided and abetted by the US. Despite the US’s attempts to ostracize and destroy the Cuban state on the one hand, and the economic crisis the island suffered in the 90s with the collapse of its main trading partners in Eastern Europe on the other, socialist Cuba has managed to achieve advancements of which the majority of Cubans living in 1959 and the present populations of other Latin American countries could only dream.

Why is the U.S.A. blocking Cuba?

The triumph of the Cuban revolution in January 1959 put an end to Cuba's colonial status as a sugar producing state of the USA. As the US government saw it this revolution was a downright robbery. How dare the Cuban people overthrow a government of the US and take over the US owned sugar mills and plantations! What right did they think they had to establish their own foreign policy independent of the imperial aims of Washington? And to add salt to an already gaping wound, they then have the audacity to go communist! The worst nightmare of the US sugar barons and oil conglomerates had become a reality just 90 miles off the Florida coastline.

The US has never forgiven Cuba for this unpardonable crime and for years it has waged a relentless war to conquer Cuba and erase its example from the minds of tens of millions of working people across the Americas.

Facts compiled with the assistance of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

Fidel Castro