Casualties of a Radicalizing Cuban Revolution: Middle-Class Opposition and Exile, 1961-1968

Loiacano, Catherine Lynn. “Casualties of a Radicalizing Cuban Revolution: Middle-Class Opposition and Exile, 1961-1968.” (Under the direction of Dr. Richard Slatta.)

This study explores the major factors contributing to the exodus of the Cuban middle class from 1961-1968. For the purpose of this study, the heterogeneous middle class is broken up into middle-class students, professionals, and businessman. Each of these groups had slightly different values and motivations, yet large percentages of each left Cuba as the revolution radicalized, changing economic, political and social life for all Cubans. In explaining this phenomenon, this paper follows the relationship between Cuba and the United States, focusing primarily on the conflictive dialogue that emerged between Fidel Castro and the US presidents of the 1960’s. In addition, the role of each government in facilitating the exodus must be considered, necessitating attention to US special treatment toward Cuban immigrants. Ultimately, this study asserts that various radicalizations in revolutionary Cuba from the declaration of socialism in April 1961 to the final revolutionary offensive of 1968 pushed the middle class to the United States. Unlike the middle classes of 1940s Costa Rica and Guatemala, they chose to leave in order to retain their standard of living rather than to sacrifice in order for the lower classes to benefit.

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