Cuba’s Old Republic Outshines Colonialism and Castroism
The island’s democratic period (1902-1952) saw impressive achievements.
|Commemorative issue: 50th Anniversary of the Republic of Cuba|
Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s review of “Cuba: An American History” by Ada Ferrer (Bookshelf, Sept. 4) offers insights into Cuba’s history under colonialism and Castroism, but it does a disservice to Cuba’s democratic period (1902-1952). During the Cuban Republic, the island’s leaders negotiated the return of the Isle of Pines and reduced the U.S. military presence from four bases to two and then to one. The Platt Amendment was the price for ending the four-year American occupation following the Spanish-American War, and ending Platt in 1934 ended formal U.S. interference in Cuban affairs.
Over 50 years, Cuba developed a multiparty system, competitive elections, a free press, a modern public health system and a strong labor movement. This translated to social achievements placing pre-1959 Cuba at the top of Latin American indexes, outperforming Castro’s Cuba.
Cuba even led in proposing, drafting and lobbying for the passage of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Language in the declaration was selected from Cuba’s 1940 constitution. Cuban diplomats presented nine proposals, five of which are in the UDHR.
Center for a Free Cuba
Falls Church, Va.
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Appeared in the September 14, 2021, print edition of The Wall Street Journal as 'Cuba’s Republic Outshines Colonialism and Castroism.'