World Politics

Research Article

Castro's Revolution, Cuban Communist Appeals, and the Soviet Response

Edward Gonzalez*

Developments in the Cuban revolution between mid-1959 and early 1960 demonstrate both the interaction between the international and domestic systems and the bargaining process involved in Cuban efforts to secure Soviet support. Until the dispatch of First Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan to Havana in early February 1960, the Soviet Union had been hesitant about revolutionary Cuba. The radicalization of the revolution which preceded Mikoyan's visit, therefore, stemmed not only from Fidel Castro's perception of opposition to his regime and from his need to ensure revolutionary momentum, but also from his efforts to increase Cuba's bargaining leverage with Moscow. In turn, the Cuban Communists served as a key linkage with Moscow and, most important, as an aggressive negotiating agent for Castro. In formulating their response to revolutionary Cuba, the Soviets were thus forced to contend with covert and overt pressures from Castro and his Communist allies.

Edward Gonzalez is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He visited Cuba in August, 1967, and is currently engaged in writing a full-length study of the internal and external development of the Cuban revolution.

* I am grateful to the U.C.L.A. Committee on International and Comparative Studies, with funding from the Ford Foundation International and Comparative Grant, for the support given to this study. I am also grateful to The Brookings Institution for its fellowship assistance when I was writing my Ph.D. thesis, upon which this article is based. I wish to thank Bernard Brodie, David T. Cattell, and Luigi R. Einaudi for their encouragement and editorial comments on earlier drafts.