The Haitian Revolution

"Defending freedom is an universal and inalienable right". Unfortunately, the history has examples when freedom could be gained only through the revolution or rebellion. Revolution is an important change in the organizational structures. The main feature of revolutions is that they take place within a short period of time. However, the revolution is always caused by the moral, physical, or economical pressure. Moreover, revolutions may vary in methods and motivating ideology. The results from the rebellion can give rise to economic, industrial, and political changes. The 1804 Haitian Revolution is known as a successful anti-slavery insurrection when the 1953 Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro is an armed revolt against the authoritarian governmenta. Even though these revolutions happened with a century time difference, the comprehensive evaluation of both shows that they are correlated and have correspondences in their political and intellectual traditions both being the fights for freedom.

The Haitian Revolution is considered to be the first successful slave revolution, which established a state of Haiti in 1804. While the first stages of the French Revolution started in 1791, the slaves in the Caribbean colony began their armed rebellion. The scholars say that the Haitian Revolution spurred and freighted the European society in the Caribbean, Latin America, and even in then independent United States. Due to its success, the revolution in Haiti became a remarkable symbol of faith for slaves living in the mentioned areas and the tremulous fear for their leaders and masters. The effect of the revolution prolonged until the South American freedom movement ruled by Simón Bolívar.

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In the book entitled Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution, the scholar Ada Ferrer carries out a comprehensive assessment where she analyzes the influence of the Haitian Revolution and its politics on Cuba, which was at that time a Spanish colony situated near Haiti’s borders. Furthermore, Ada Ferrer develops a perceptive explanation of the ways how Haitian Revolution triggered the escalation of slavery in Cuba. She acknowledges that Haitian Revolution fostered the increasing power of slave masters and an inner wish of rebellion among slaves. 

It was estimated that the sugar plantations situated in Saint Domingue could produce more sugar than all Britain’s Caribbean colonies after the beginning of the revolution in 1791. Thus, the end of slavery and French supremacy in Haiti was followed by a collapse of sugar manufacture. However, while farming and manufacture were stopped in Haiti, the production of sugar took off in Cuba. This is similar to the plantation scheme of coffee cultivation established in the eastern part of the island by the refugees. 

After establishing the formal Haitian state, the revolutionary leaders adopted a radical anti-slavery policy. That involved attacking the Spanish ships which were involved in a slave trade. Moreover, they were sending agents who agitated against slavery in all the Spanish colonies. This radical strategy was reintroduced in 1809. Right after the authorities in Havana rejected to maintain friendly relationships with Haitian state, Henri Christophe, who was the formal leader of Haiti, began capturing slave ships headed for Havana and readdressing them to Haitian ports. In so doing, he invited the slaves to arrive in port as free residents. This vivid similarity in politics echoes with the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro’s radical policy against the government.

Being in a political segregation from other slave powers ruling the Caribbean and having the vulnerable economics, Haiti was a good target for armed attack by French. Haiti, as a comparatively young state, after the revolution faced the pressure put forth by the capital. A revolt like Haitian generated the XX century issue of what policy national leaders should follow: internationalism or the urgent national interests. This dilemma remained undecided even after the revolution.

Cuban Revolution 1953

The example of the Cuban Revolution led by Castro is not much different from the Haitian Revolution. Moreover, both revolutions have similarities in their politics traditions. Even though the Cuban Revolution was against the authoritarian government and not for abolishing slavery such as Haitian, both revolutions have similarities in their policies of ruling the country. The Cuban armed rebellion in 1953 was against Fulgencio Batista, who was the leader at that time. It was successfully led by Fidel Castro, which made him the hemisphere’s longest-serving dictator. 

The elections where Fidel Castro intended to get a parliamentary seat were annulled by the current government. Fidel decided that he was ready to do everything to become a new Cuba’s leader. When the first attempt to overthrow the formal government finished in his incarceration, Castro firmly decided to start congregating a team of followers around him. When Batista’s regime became unpopular among Cuban people, having demonstrated the important leader’s skills, Castro managed to get the power and become the leader of the Cuban people. The situation with the loss of confidence in Batista’s regime and policy was a fertile ground for Castro to become an image of a hero and establish himself as Cuba’s new leader. Moreover, his sympathetic attitude towards the downtrodden made him an icon in Cuba.

During the revolution, the politics of Castro established a strong economic and military relations with the Soviet Union. However, this intensified the relationships with the United States that later led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. After the revolution under Fidel Castro, the considerable improvements were made in education and healthcare system when the civil liberties were promoted.

The thoughtful analysis of Castro’s policy during the years of his ruling and activity demonstrates him as a liberator. Moreover, as a member of guerilla troops, he donated to the process of enhancing Cuba’s political state of affairs. Taking into consideration all the mentioned facts, Fidel Castro eventually managed to change Cuba’s entire political and economic structure.

Consequently, even taking into consideration that the mentioned revolutions took place within a century, it is possible to draw remarkable parallels between unstable foreign strategies of Haitian forerunners and the leaders of the 1959 revolution in Cuba. Considering the Cuban foreign policy, it varied from the revolutionary offensive steps to the national protection. The shifting of politics was related to the chronological changes. However, they varied in different regions.

As the radical policy between Angola and South Africa could coexist with a conformist approach and many communist revolutionaries in Latin American countries did not avert friendly relationships with Mexico’s corrupt party, so did the Cuban leaders. Being a weak state like Haiti, Cuba turned out to be vulnerable to the hostilities of an imperialist global force. Thus, they had to become dependent on the Soviet Union because of its economic and military sustenance.

In conclusion, both revolutions were the fights for freedom. The Haitian Revolution showed that poor apprehending of its goals may lead the revolution into a catastrophe. However, in case with Cuba, it is possible to trace the leader’s policy of converting a necessity into a benefit.

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