The Cuban revolution of 1959 and Cuba’s subsequent revolutionary government represent a remarkably unique historical process. Over the four and a half decades since the victory of the July 26th Movement, Cuba has gained and maintained an international reputation for acting with deliberate contrariness to established international norms of diplomacy, ideology, economic development, and political practice. Alistair Hennessy has written that “to find comparable examples of small states exercising influence on a global scale we would have to go back to the sixteenth and seventeenth-century.”1 In such a context, a rigorous investigation of the regime’s philosophical development would seem to be an essential element of an explanatory framework aimed at understanding Cuba’s revolutionary four decades.
This essay represents an attempt to provoke a detailed discussion of the changes in ideological rhetoric on the island, through proposing and testing a conception of Castro’s ideology. By way of introduction, a very general sketch of the current literature on the ideological content of recent Cuban politics will be made. Secondly, I argue that the current literature suffers from several defects, which must be rectified if we are to fully understand the motivations of the country’s government. Thirdly, the most salient elements of a prospective guiding ideology of the Cuban state are outlined, and the centrality of Fidel Castro to that conception of politics will be demonstrated. Lastly, I will propose a model of Castroism and a method to test that model.
IDEOLOGY AND CASTRO: CURRENT LITERATURE
Cuba is the one of the few states in the world whose domestic politics have been consistently dominated by a single figure for over forty years. Fidel Castro Ruz’s “imprint on Cuba is so vast and deep that the revolution has been identified as his own.”2 Suchlicki characterises Castro’s style of leadership as “personal, Stalinist, caudillista, and he views institutions as instruments for carrying out his policies rather than as policy-making bodies in themselves.”3
Writers universally agree on the importance of Castro’s position in the regime for policy development and regime legitimacy in Cuba since the revolution.4 The disputes in the literature concern the content of Castro’s views of politics and his motivations. He is variously characterized as an anti-intellectual pragmatist or an unreformed Marxist, as a benevolent supervisor of others’ policy developments or a jealous megalomaniac. For instance, Crabb characterises Castro’s economic policy reforms since the fall of European communism as examples of a long-running trend in Latin American and Spanish politics in which political officeholders use the state apparatus to entrench personal control over the economy. In this conception the regime has never been motivated by ideology, and socialist rhetoric is a cynical mask.5 By comparison, Bunck suggests that Castro has “repeatedly silenced more pragmatic views and stifled …serious reform.”6 She suggests that far from being a supporter of change (for whatever reason) Castro is an ideologue unwilling to reform the Cuban economic or political systems. Suchlicki has some sympathy for this view and characterizes the limited reforms of the late 1990s as “Castro serv[ing] notice to his own supporters and to the population at large that he would not tolerate any dissent and that Cuba was entering a period of ideological orthodoxy guided by the Communist party.”7 Azicri provides a more charitable portrait of Castro in suggesting he has repeatedly encouraged intellectual debate on the island, contributing to, but not dictating, its content. Castro, in this view, is working with civil society to develop a new ideology which protects socialist goals but countenances economic reforms to achieve this, placing Cuba in a wider international community of left-wing regimes and thinkers.8 Ortega makes a similar claim, criticizing an ‘American demonization’ of Castro, and finding it “curious that the Cuban revolution has evolved to the point that references to communism have become a formality … The theme is Cuba’s sovereignty.”9
Despite these disputes as to Castro’s ideological motivations, three important points of agreement can be taken from the debate. First, Castro is unavoidably the central figure in the regime. He is the channel for significant policy change and the sole selector of senior regime personnel. Secondly, Castro is fond of highlighting the historical background of the revolution. His oratorical longevity is well known, as Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez puts it, Castro “rests from talking by talking.”10 Thirdly, the Cuban regime has never tailored its policies purely to economic needs or diplomatic success. As Suchlicki comments on the outcomes of a Party Congress of 1997, “once more, as he has done for the past four decades, Castro showed that in Cuba politics dictate economic decisions.”11 Azicri emphasizes that domestic and international forces affect the socialist state in Cuba, limiting policy options to some extent but, he claims, despite this, personality traits and individualized decisions carry far more weight than in other states.12
An academic criticism of the literature on Castroism can be powerfully made. There is a large number of qualitative works that trace developments and justifications in Cuban policy since the revolution, many of which tend to conclude that there is no single ideology at work. More generous works suggest Castro has undergone a learning process which altered his ideology over time; the more critical suggest his only guide is pragmatism. However, first, there is no large-scale testable model of an ideology: previous works cannot provide replicable conclusions. Rather, they tend to use the same vast amount of material, and the methodology of evidence selection is rarely explained or justified. As such, authoritative determinations are repeatedly open to the allegation that they are themselves ideologically motivated, and tend to be answered with brief impressionistic policy surveys or the use of isolated quotes from major actors.
Secondly, with the exception of work by Kapcia,13 Valdés,14 and to some extent Azicri,15 authors have not provided detailed definitions of an ideology. This is ironic, given the forthright views on its existence in Castro’s discourse. For instance, the literature is often unclear as to whether the aim of maintenance of personal power is incompatible with an ideological motivation for a particular policy.16 Further, given Cuba’s precarious economic state for the last fifteen years, it would seem a prerequisite to discussing the existence of a Cuban ideology is to argue whether or not such a theoretical framework must be the sole justification for policy reform. It is notable that the field of ideological analysis has attempted to answer many of these questions in other areas, providing a number of theoretical frameworks that seek to bridge political philosophy and policy development.
This brief analysis of the current literature on Castroism would suggest, therefore, that there is room for a study which links the field of ideological analysis, providing an explicit conception of ideology, with a systematic study of a justified body of evidence, in order to investigate whether Castro and the Cuban experience has developed a coherent ideology. The circumstances of the Cuban regime provide a uniquely suitable body of material for such an aim. The single regime leader makes it possible to assume a clear ideological succession through the many policy changes within that time. Further, Castro as an individual is exceptional in repeatedly and publicly providing detailed accounts of his motivations for particular legislative developments.
TRENDS WITHIN CASTROISM: BUILDING A MODEL
The proponents of the thesis that Castro is ideologically motivated acknowledge two major trends in Castroism: a Marxist element, and a Latin American influence.
Cuba’s revolution was not Marxist. Rather, the Batista regime was overthrown by a guerrilla army of many different political persuasions. Indeed, as Aguilar points out, at the overthrow of the old regime, the “prestige of the Cuban Communist party … was at a very low point.”17 Castro’s July 26th Movement was not explicitly Marxist, and the move from a ‘people’s’ revolution to a socialist state was a slow one. As Whitehead points out, the ruling party was not formally constituted until a decade after the revolution. 18 Further, doctrinaire Marxist theory does not easily accommodate the Cuban model of revolution. In orthodox Marxism, the vanguard of revolution is an elite communist party providing intellectual discipline both before and after the overthrow.19 The indigenous model of Marxism predicted revolutionary change by the rural peasantry, and predominated amongst the leading Marxists of the revolution. Guevara, for instance, revealingly criticized the orthodox model as “capable of creating cadres … but not … cadres who can capture a machine-gun nest.”20 The continuing disparity between Cuban development and the changes in the Communism of the USSR and Eastern Europe, China, and Vietnam bear out the unique nature of Cuban Marxism. For instance, the Soviet adoption of perestroika and glasnost (economic and political liberalisation in concurrence), was rejected by the Castro regime.21 Subsequently, the Cuban state responded to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the consequent economic downturn22 not by moving towards freer markets and political pluralism, as might have seemed inevitable, but by reaffirming the need for a socialist solution to such problems. As Cuban scholar Haroldo Dilla Alfonso has written, there were few doubts about socialism as a goal, but rather the “experiments east of the Berlin Wall, which were only a mythological construct.” 23
Therefore, two elements of Castroism’s Marxist trend are divisible. On the one hand, the orthodox Marxism of the Soviet Union may be seen. This was most influential in Cuba from 1971 to the mid- 1980s. In that period the Cuban economy was governed by the Soviet economic model—the System of Direction and Planning of the Economy (SDPE).24 Soviet advisors and aid had heavy influences upon economic policy, and Cuba returned to a system which Castro had in earlier days heavily criticized of an economy largely reliant on a single national product: sugar. The ideological influence of European Marxism in this period is clear. For instance, in 1975, Castro confessed that “if we would have been able to understand that revolutionary theory was not sufficiently developed in our country, and that we really lacked true economists and scientists of Marxism,” Cuban revolutionaries would have been able to learn, “with the modesty of true revolutionaries,” from the experiences of “other socialist countries.”25
On the other hand, we may recognize the indigenous interpretation of Marx. In this conception, as influentially proposed by Debray and Guevara, moral incentives overtake material concerns in the minds of the workers. By the end of the revolutionary process, the mindset of the ‘New Man’ who recognises the supreme importance of community welfare above his own would have been developed in the minds of the masses.26 As Mesa-Lago points out, these ideas dominated Cuban economic policy in a sector of the economy from 1963-65, and were subsequently expanded across the economy in 1966-70.27 This conception is highly critical of using the market and individual incentives to induce productivity: “Che was radically opposed to using and developing capitalist economic laws and categories in building socialism…Many of Che’s ideas are absolutely relevant today.”28
At the heart of the second significant trend in the presence-of-ideology thesis is a belief in the importance of the Latin American history of imperial domination by Spain, followed by the economic and political neo-imperialism of the United States. Hennessy argues that this element of continental awareness was dormant in Cuban policy-making and its dominant ideology before the revolution, “one of the most important consequences of the revolution has been to ‘Latin-Americanize’ Cuba.”29 This contribution to Cuban political thought may be significantly ascribed to the role of the nineteenth century writer and revolutionary Jose Martí.30 As Kapcia puts it, the Cuban leadership’s post-revolutionary move towards socialism “was as much attributable to the inherent tendencies … as to new influences.”31 Liss identifies Martí as Castro’s “link to an earlier heroic epoch in Cuban history,” and the Cuban Castro invokes more than any other.32 There are many elements to this conception, including a belief in private property: “economic wealth and social progress could be measured according to the number of small farmers who owned their land.”33 However, the most significant element in influencing Castro’s thought would appear to be the Martían belief in Cuban spiritual exceptionalism: a belief in the essential racial and social equality of all Cubans to discover Cuban solutions to Cuban problems, whilst supporting internationalist attempts to liberate oppressed peoples from the imposition of foreign models.
Again, we are able to divide this greater trend of Martí’s philosophy into two separate elements that have both influenced Castro’s thinking. First, ‘classical’ Martí as derived from his writings and his death fighting as a rebel against the Spanish. Second, the influence of Martí upon Cuban left-wing populism before the revolution. As mentioned above, in his youth Castro was not a Marxist. Rather, he placed himself in the Cuban political traditions of populist democracy, first as a member of one of the largest political parties, the PRC (the Auténticos) and later as a member of a splinter group, the PPC (Ortodoxos). Castro first came to national prominence by participating in an attack on a government barracks at Moncada in 1953. In a letter from prison after the attack Castro wrote that if the attack had succeeded “our triumph would have meant the immediate ascent to power of the Ortodoxos, first provisionally and later through general elections.”34 As Valdés makes clear, Castro was a loyal follower of the Ortodoxo party leadership, particularly its charismatic leader Eduardo Chibás.35 This group, conscious inheritors of Martí’s philosophical legacy, believed in populist democratic politics. In successive elections the party supported Keynesian economics, and regarded private property as a right but required it to meet a social function. This view of socialism, Valdés claims, amounts to welfare statism and any progressive social legislation was acceptable, but within the limitations of capitalist production. Chibás was, however, one of a generation of leftist Cuban leaders that inspired Castro before 1953. These leaders also particularly included Antonio Guiteras and Julio Antonio Mella. Guiteras provided a mold for the violently revolutionary aspects of Castro’s rise to power as the organizer of several failed insurrections and he represents an important link for Castro in “Cuba’s revolutionary chain.”36 Mella, as a student activist, “added … working class consciousness to the nationalism of José Martí.”37
This brief analysis of the presence-of-ideology literature suggests two important characteristics of a conception of Castroism: a wide range of historical influences; and, a range of mutually exclusive policy recommendations, as for instance, the Keynesian economics of the PRC and the anti-capitalism of Guevara.
IDEOLOGY AND CONTENT ANALYSIS
A major international research project, the Manifesto Research Group (MRG), has empirically investigated the ideologies of major political parties in twenty countries in the post-World War II period using the systematic content analysis of manifestos to place parties within a national ideological space.38 In an analysis of the investigation of ideologies, Mair justifies the use of content analysis over other methods. One could interview party elites to determine their positions on particular issues, however there are clear problems of access to the relevant officers, and, particularly in Cuba, difficulties as to the honesty of replies by members with a continuing interest in the regime. Furthermore, if we are interested in ideological development over the course of the regime, then it is important to gain a contemporaneous analysis. A government official being interviewed at time T2 will report his ideology at time T1 as he views it through the filter of T2.
Mair discusses the use of mass surveys, however this, again, relies upon a breadth of access and honesty that would be impossible to achieve, and for which there is no suitable pre-existing Cuban data. The little survey evidence available does not appear to directly concern the ideology of the regime.39 A third option appears to revolve around surveying the opinions of academic writers on the subject, either qualitatively by an extensive literature review, or quantitatively through questionnaire survey. However, the current literature on Castro has already been criticized as methodologically unclear, and, as Mair puts it, an expert survey is “a crude synthesis of … other approaches, filtered through the perceptions of wellread and intelligent observers. They are less an alternative than a short-cut.”40
The MRG responded to these concerns by proposing a common methodology of ideological survey using content analysis. This methodology can provide a useful tool for the investigation of the existence of Castroism. However, the nature of ideological analysis must first be discussed. In my view, the so-called ‘morphology’ of ideologies accords most easily with the actual use of ideologies to affect political practice. Freeden’s morphological approach can be distinguished from a number of other approaches, but the most illustrative distinctions may be made between the morphological approach and Marxist and dogmatic views of ideology. In the Marxist approach, ideology is viewed as a mask to the true power relations of political practice.41 Comparatively, the ‘doctrinaire’ suggestions of the “standard view of political science in the 1960s,”42 saw ideologies as dogmatic and internally coherent views of the political world, but entirely divorced from reality. To adopt either of these definitions would seem to determine the result of any investigation of Castro’s ideology. Castro’s intellectual influences, and consequently his worldview, were far from internally coherent, and this is echoed in the major Cuban policy shifts over the decades, for instance from the Guevaran 1960s to the Soviet model of the 1970s and 1980s. In the highly theoretical view of ideologies as coherent and deductive, therefore, Castro could not have had an ideological map. In a Marxist interpretation the study of Castro’s ideology is an irrelevant task, “consigned to metaphysical digressions from … what actually happens in the world.”43 Yet, there are considerable problems with both of these conclusions.
The conclusions of these schools rely upon the suggestion that a clear distinction can be made between truth and falsity by political actors. These schools claim that one can show what is the true state of affairs in the social world whilst a given ideology deviates from that understanding, and is therefore false. This is not how actors behave. Rather, political actors interpret reality themselves, and do not rely upon an objective understanding of the world to create their philosophical approaches. In other words, both schools fail to adequately meet the challenges of an academic “context in which the dualism between absolute truth and absolute falsity is questioned.”44 In political practice, however, an ideology can be seen to serve two different purposes: (1) to provide an intellectual map of the political world, which “enables us to position ourselves in the social landscape”45; and (2) as a blueprint of the ideal society, how social and political relations “ought to be organised.”46 Therefore, ideologies are theoretical exercises that require some level of logical interrelation if they are to guide holders, but they are also exercises in the social world, both affected by and affecting political acts.47 They are interpretative constructs, in the sense that they react to events, but can also cause such events. One might view them, consequently, as feedback loops. Further, as a system of human beliefs, they have non-rational elements which cannot be subject to the simplicity of a truth-falsehood distinction.48
Freeden therefore argues that ideological analysis is best viewed as “a specific genre of political thought that involves a close scrutiny of fundamental political concepts, understood as those units of political thinking which shape political argument.”49 As such, the analyst of ideologies is to “focus on the patterns, continuities, and discontinuities political thinking displays and the way in which these shape the politically possible.”50 This methodology concentrates on the discourse of the authors of an ideology, and how they express their beliefs through the use of language to create frameworks in which a range of possible meanings of political concepts such as ‘democracy,’ ‘justice,’ and ‘equality,’ are decontested.
Within these frameworks ‘clusters’ of concepts congeal, and play different roles. Some are ineliminable elements which cannot be removed from an ideology, others are ‘adjacent’ concepts which provide the meaning to central elements, still more are considered ‘peripheral’ and relatively unimportant to the framework of interlinked concepts which make up the portrait of an ideology. “In effect, ideologies may be distinguished by the relative ordering in which they deploy similar concepts, on which depend both the precise decontesting of the concepts and the overall interpretation of any ideology’s messages.”51
To exist as an ideology, therefore, Castroism must display certain qualities. Amongst these include a certain level of consistency “to display characteristics which, while not unchangeable have, nevertheless, reached a certain degree of stability.”52 Further, although the conceptual pattern formed by an ideology need not accord to the rigorous standards of internal coherence required by the ‘doctrinaire’ school outline above, ideologies do require a general level of ‘logical adjacency.’ Freeden uses the analogy of a map to explain this characteristic, in which logical constraints determine the network of roads emanating from a given point, and cultural constraints provide a route through that network, closing some routes and even recommending the use of unfinished roads.53 Finally, for the purposes of this paper it is important that Freeden acknowledges a role for influential historical thinkers in the creation of ideologies. A discussion of the ideas of such thinkers is valuable to an exploration of the ideology, but these ideas ought to be viewed through the interpretations of later ideological authors. In other words, what matters most is how later ideologues analyze older ideas, not whether such analyses are objectively the most accurate.54 Relatedly, Freeden discusses the role of prominent individuals in creating ideologies such that “those individuals may offer an excellent illustration of a particular ideological position” by representing the views of a wider group who identify with that position. “Nevertheless, their articulated thoughts are meaningless without an understanding of the ideational environments which fashion them [and] …their social and cultural surrounds.”55
Fidel Castro provides a uniquely qualified mouthpiece for Castroism given his dominance of Cuban politics over several decades. If one combines the methodological advances of the MRG in content analysis with the morphology of ideologies suggested by Freeden, a strong case is created for a content analysis of Castro’s public speeches over the course of his regime. It is important to note here that in such a survey we are not concerned by two characteristics of Castro’s speeches. First, it is irrelevant whether the motivations, ideological or otherwise, that the speaker ascribes to government policy are the true reasons for particular actions. For instance, we are not concerned by the question of whether Cuba turned to the Soviet Union in the 1970s out of economic need.
Rather, the view of ideology employed here is “an understanding of ideology as nothing other than a language of politics deployed to legitimate political action and to establish and/or alter a society’s moral identity.”56 The question of whether Castro has an ideology will turn on whether his rhetoric consistently decontests concepts which may be placed in a network of mutual reliance, bounded to some extent by logical constraint but heavily reliant upon cultural linkages. This is not to suggest that Castroism must be static in its decontestations, indeed much of the interest in whether or not it can exist stems from questions as how to such a wide range of policy positions over the decades57 can be legitimated within the same ideological framework, and whether the move away from orthodox Marxism in recent years represents the creation of a new ideology or the confirmation that the regime is unconcerned by ideological consistency.58 Rather, the question will be whether any conceptual framework retains important or logically ineliminable components.
Secondly, it is important that we are looking at Castro’s public pronouncements of ideology, rather than what he may suggest in private. As Freeden makes clear, ideologies are not simply the product of individuals, but to be influential in guiding and legitimating a society must, at some level, enjoy mass recognition and acceptance. Further, as the MRG make clear in justifying their study of party manifestos, public statements bind political actors into particular courses of action, which private statements do not.59 As such, ideological development is, at least to some extent, more defined and controlled by public statements as to its content than by private discussions, and thus provides a better guide to its true content.
A reading of the current literature provides the overwhelming impression of a regime with access to a vast range of ideological influences, and, consequently, of key political concepts decontested in many different ways. However, there are clearly particular concepts which are alien to all of the ideological ancestors of Castroism, and which, equally, ought to be shown to be alien to Cuban policy makers. The testable suggestion of this paper is that this provides a belief system that may be characterized as a morphology of political concepts: an ideology which has taken slightly different forms over different periods in the regime.
This conception of Castro’s belief system may be expressed through the analogy of a “bucket of principles”:
• some of which principles have a single variety within the bucket (Positive Level 1 concepts),
• some of which principles have a number of varieties, which is not limitless, of the same principle within the bucket (Positive Level 2 concepts), and
• for which some principles have always been outside the bucket, notable only by their absence in policy considerations (Restrictive Level 1 concepts).
Castro has used a limited range of political concepts, some of which have been decontested during the regime in only one way, whilst others have been decontested in two or more ways. This is to acknowledge that there are some policy proposals and understandings of the political world that cannot be countenanced within his political belief system (Restrictive Level 1 concepts), providing the discipline of an ideology. An example of this may be seen in the suggestion that Castro would never acknowledge or assert the social justice of an uncontrolled economic market. Equally, however, his belief system provides an element of flexibility in other political concepts, allowing him to emphasize different aspects of the system, and different supporting historical figures to justify policy changes that are incompatible with preceding practice and decontestations, but this does not prevent Castro from making reference to the original decontestations in reverting back to the first policy (Positive Level 2 concepts). An example of this category of political concepts can be seen in the use of a Guevaran suspicion of capitalist laws. These motivated Cuban economic theory during the second half of the 1960s, but were then denigrated by Castro as a mistaken understanding of economics from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, only to be resurrected as an ideological guide by the leadership in the second half of the 1980s.
A third category can be found in the political concepts that provide a constant feature of Cuban policy making, not signalling permanent ideological boundaries (found in Restrictive Level 1 concepts), but signalling permanent ideological prerequisites to any policy or worldview. These may therefore described as Positive Level 1 concepts. An example of this type may be found in the near universal agreement in the literature that the revolutionary government has never tolerated political dissent that is perceived as being outside the boundaries of revolutionary thought: alternative and reasoned interpretations of Marxism may be welcome, but assertions that Marxism is fundamentally flawed will not be. This conception is presented diagrammatically in Figure 1.
Clearly, some Restrictive Level 1 concepts will be mirrored by an equivalent Positive Level 1 concept, for instance, a suspicious view of American business will be both a constant element of Cuban economic understanding (Positive Level 1) and its opposite will remain an unconsiderable option (Restrictive Level 1). However, this will not always be the case. For instance, although the regime may not tolerate counter-revolutionary dissent internally (and as such it will be a permanent element of policy), this is not to suggest that its opposite of politically limitless public discourse will form an important defining concept as permanently anathema to the ideology, but rather that the possibility of restrictions upon internal discourse are an important element of Castro’s thought, which can be loosened or applied as the belief system as a whole requires it.
The morphological approach will allow us to recognise the dynamic aspect of this model which retains a particular set of decontestations but in which some “concepts are shuffled” (Level 2 concepts) whilst retaining the overall character of a single ideology through its repeated emphasis upon Level 1 concepts.
METHODOLOGY AND DATA COLLECTION
Through a content analysis of the Cuban leader’s major domestic speeches we might test this model. This study is too short to investigate Fidel Castro’s rhetoric from his rise to power in 1959 to the present day. The existing literature on the regime agrees that the first decade of the Revolutionary government was a period of inconsistent policy experimentation and debate on the island.60 Castro’s role in this debate was ambiguous, seemingly allowing other figures to engage in the details of ideological discussion. However, from 1970 onwards, the tone of regime policy appears to have stabilized, in the sense that one may observe that programs and policies in a particular period tend to cohere in their ideological approach. For instance, it is generally agreed that from 1971 to 1985 the regime used a Soviet economic model, relying upon the expertise of Soviet technicians and aid with the use of economic incentives to develop the economy. As such, in selecting our sample it is reasonable to assume that we might observe a greater ideological stability from 1970 onwards, albeit a stability which the periodization literature suggests develops into different ideological period from the mid- 1980s.61 Therefore, we will use speeches from January 1, 1970 until December 31, 2003.
There are four key sources of speeches by Fidel Castro. First, speeches which are transcribed and translated by the Cuban government itself, made available on-line through the web-site of the Presidential offices.62 Second, speeches that are recorded, translated, and published by the state-owned Cuban media, available largely from the newspaper Granma, which produces an international edition.63 Third, a number of non-Cuban publishing houses have collected, translated, and re-published speeches delivered in Spanish by Fidel Castro as works of political commentary. 64 And last, and most fruitfully for this study, an agency of the United States government, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, has monitored the output of the Cuban media for many decades. This agency has transcribed and translated the public statements of Fidel Castro, which are now available on-line through the University of Texas.65
From these four sources, the major state speeches of Fidel Castro since 1970 were collected and converted into a uniform format. The dates upon which they were delivered, the venues, and sources are available from the author. Major state speeches were defined as:
• Speeches on major state occasions, which were given extensive national media attention, such as the return of Cuban athletes from the Pan- American Games (August 16, 1970) and the appointment of a new Foreign minister (April 2, 1993).
• Speeches on the anniversaries of important historical events which were given extensive national media attention, such as the annual ceremony commemorating the attack on the Moncada barracks (July 26), the anniversary of the Revolution (January 1), or of the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) invasion (April).
• Speeches at the conferences and congresses of major state organs, such as the FMC (Cuban Women’s Federation), the PCC (Cuban Communist Party), the UJC (Union of Young Communists), the CTC (Trade Union Confederation), the National Assembly, Ministry of Interior civil servants, the ANAP (National Association of Small Farmers), and the CDRs (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution).
• Speeches responding to recent events which were given extensive media coverage as requiring extraordinary comment by Castro, such as a speech at the anniversary of the street riots in Havana (August 6, 1995), or a special televised appearance on alleged actions by the United States and its agents in Cuba (April 25, 2003).
Using this criteria, 195 transcripts were collected, of which there were 17 pairs of transcripts which recorded the same speech from two different sources. These pairs were read and the only differences in translation were inconsequential to this study, as they only concerned such details as word order, rather than different understandings of key terms. This was borne out by a content analysis test of three random selected pairs of transcripts using the issue index specified below. The transcripts concerned the September 1970 speech commemorating the founding of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the speech to the 1978 Congress of Cuban Trade Unions, and the speech on the Anniversary of the Moncada Assault in July 2002. The results of this test found that of the 14 variables, the pairs disagree on only a single observation (a comment on the general desirability of equality). The number of speeches per year is shown in Figure 2.
Content analysis has been described as “a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication.” 66 From political texts we can determine the relative importance of different elements to the author, an important step in the investigation of Castroism. The most important methodological assumption of content analysis for the purposes of this study has been developed by the MRG and concerns the relative salience of issues and past historical thinkers for the Castro government.
The MRG work demonstrates that there is often little merit in simply measuring the policy positions of different actors on particular issues, such as, for instance, whether or not they are in favour of a heavily polluted environment. “As a matter of empirical fact, almost everyone agrees on the desirable outcome while disagreeing about how important the issue is in the first place.”67 Thus, in order to investigate the ideologies of different parties, or, in the Cuban case an ideology as expressed by a single individual over several years, the relative importance of particular concepts and references must be ascertained. ‘Saliency theory’ “legitimises using data on policy emphasis to estimate substantive party positions since it assumes a strong relationship between party position on, and party emphasis of, an issue.”68
From the existing literature on Castro, two indices were drawn up of key vocabulary that would indicate ideological changes in the Cuban President’s rhetoric. The first index concerned historical figures, as the individuals that Castro chooses to name as authorities for his policy changes and as legitimating figures for his leadership, reflects the way in which he wishes listeners to view his own government. In line with the assumptions of saliency theory, the more often Castro mentions Karl Marx, for instance, the greater the importance for Castro of the work of Marx in understanding the processes of development and in constructing a vision of an ideal society at that point in time. The selection of the particular figures was drawn from the literature on the Cuban President that suggests he does have an ideology. Thus, classical Marxist-Leninism is modelled by references to Marx, Lenin, and Engels. Guevaran Marxism is, rather obviously, shown by reference to Che Guevara. Simón Bolivar and, to some extent, José Martí represent the strand of Latin American pan-nationalism which is said to influence Castro by Kapcia69 and Valdés, amongst others.70 Classical nationalist thought is shown by references to Martí, Maceo, Céspedes, and the Mambí army. Nationalist thought inspired by Martí is demonstrated by Chibás, Mella, and Guiteras. Lastly, references to heroes of the Cuban revolution are shown by Frank País and Camilo Cienfuegos.
However, it is important to note that Freeden emphasizes that the study of ideologies and historical thinkers must be concerned with the interpretations of such thinkers by later ideologues, rather than by the original authors. As such, the index of thinkers was based not only on the names of the major figures of the four strands of Castro’s intellectual heritage outlined in this study, but also the phrases associated with those figures by Castro. For instance, Guevara associated himself heavily with the vision of a ‘New Man’ and we might expect Castro to mention this phrase in association with the Argentinean. These further phrases were only included in the software dictionary of text analysis if the existing literature, supported by a brief investigation of a selection of Castro’s speeches, concluded that he associated the phrases with particular figures. The full index is shown in Figure 3.
A second index that measured issue salience was constructed. This list of issues was derived from the secondary source of current literature on Cuba, which suggests some of the key defining topics that the regime has considered important over the decades. Again, the positions within the rhetoric on particular issues were of secondary importance, Castro has never, for instance, spoken in favour of social inequality. Rather, salience was measured by the number of times that the issue was mentioned.
It would be unrealistic to suggest that one could test all the concepts that may be considered in a complete portrait of Castroism: time and space precluded such an analysis. Therefore, certain indicative issues were selected. Amongst these included issues which may be classified into each of the three different strands of political concepts: as Positive Level 1 issues (as such consistently important in the rhetoric), Restrictive Level 1 issues (consistently decried in the rhetoric) and Positive Level 2 issues (which offer some flexibility to Castro). The full index is shown in Figure 4.
The use of two indices allowed two types of investigation. Initially, the indices offer some indication of continuity or changes within the range of ideological referents. In this form, the thinker index acts as a proxy measure for the conceptual content of Castro’s own thought. As references to Guevara, for instance, are seen to decrease over the decades, we can infer that the Guerilla Marxism of the President has decreased in importance. In contrast, if it were discovered that the selection of referents remain constant, it would suggest that the conceptual configurations of any ideology equally stay unchanged. By comparison, the issue index allows us to demonstrate that the relative importance of different issues has, or has not, altered over time, measuring a different aspect of a prospective ideology. For instance, if over a particular five year period Castro’s references to social equality remained relatively constant, but the thinker index demonstrates that in this period references to orthodox Soviet Marxism increased markedly as references to Latin American Marxism decreased, this might indicate a change in the nature of the concept of social equality as used by Castro in that period.
The second type of test stemming from these indices was more focused on testing the periodization literature. 71 A close analysis of the ideological patterns in Castro’s rhetoric may be connected to the data for such periods. In other words, the indices provide a mode of objective, quantitative support for assertions stemming from the qualitative investigation of particular periods in the regime.
There are some problems which need to be borne in mind in studying the results: particularly if the data were to show that there is no pattern in the rhetoric, such that the thinker index, for instance, lay in contradiction to the issue index. For example, a particular five year period could suggest that whilst the emphasis upon orthodox Soviet Marxism increased, so did the emphasis upon the benefits of free market tools. This would mean the hypothesis of a structured ideology which guides Cuban policy has been falsified, that Castro cannot be said to have an ideology. Equally, the model proposed in this study would be falsified if although there was a pattern in the salience of intellectual referents, this did not reflect a viable network of concepts, with the presence of mutually incompatible decontestations in the same policy period, or with a breach of logical prerequisites.
Further, there will be some difficulty in measuring the validity of the two indices. Content analysis does not provide a clear method to test such validity. As Krippendorff has written, “we consider content analysis valid to the extent its inferences are upheld in the face of independently obtained evidence.”72 Laver and Budge write that the MRG have used rather impressionistic measures, “the major check on the validity of our coding is the extent to which it generates results that make sense within countries.”73
The validity of the investigations must to some extent be measured from the existing literature which was criticized for its methodological imprecision. However, this problem need not be over-stated as it is arguably a problem which all studies encounter at some stage, any study which challenges the existing literature on a subject would have to struggle to demonstrate the clarity of its reasoning. Indeed, this methodology has a significant advantage over much of the current literature, which attempts to both explain ideological development on the basis of a confused pattern of policy development, and justify its conclusions as to ideology because of its mirroring of policy development. In this methodology, by comparison, ideological assertions are developed solely from rhetorical explanation, which can then be tested against the reality of policy measures: different sources create and validate the conclusions.
There are two key methodological assumptions in this study. First, all annual scores are equally representative of the ideological content of the year, regardless of the number of speeches in that year. In other words, a year from which only a single speech is available (e.g., 1997) is considered to reflect as accurately the ideological position of Castro at that point in time as the annual score of a year from which twelve speeches are available (e.g., 1970). Clearly, this assumption could be questioned, but as Castro’s public appearances do not appear in perfect regularity, some such method had to be adopted. Furthermore, transcripts from the most fruitful source, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, were only available for speeches until 1996. Thus, there is no significance in the number of speeches recorded as delivered in each year, as there is no assumption that every major state speech was included in this study. Rather, this study used all the major state speeches that were made available, from whichever source, in English.
Second, this study assumes that Castro intends to address the same audience in each speech: the Cuban people. It is assumed that he does not tailor his message solely to the immediate listeners, but also to a wider group which will have access to his words. Even though certain speeches are delivered in conferences and congresses of particular groups (such as the Interior Ministry workers) all texts used in this study were delivered on state occasions and were, as such, publicly available to a mass Cuban audience through the national media, be it newspapers, radio, or television.
As discussed earlier, it is not clear how one might undertake a detailed post-hoc test of the validity of the methodology. However, some indication of the measurement validity of the two indices can be obtained by identifying key events that would greatly increase the salience of particular historical figures for Castro. For instance, in April 1970 Castro gave a speech at a ceremony celebrating Lenin’s centennial in a theatre in Havana. Consequently, in 1970 we would expect a much higher Marxist-Leninism content than in subsequent years, as Castro would obviously have made many more references to Lenin and Marx in a single speech in this year than in more typical speeches. This is shown to be the case by the peak at 1970 in Figure 5.
Similarly, in 1997 we would expect to see a peak in the variable marking references to the Argentinean as a result of the ceremony returning Che Guevara’s remains to Cuba. This is the case in Figure 5. Therefore, measurement validity is shown, albeit rather approximately, to be high. What was predicted (varying levels of references to historical figures) is shown in the final data.
The hypotheses generated in the earlier sections, by the proposed model of Castroism and the existing literature, are detailed below:
Hypothesis 1: That political issues are consistently associated with historical figures who proposed them, e.g., Classical Marxist-Leninism with Class Struggle; Che Guevara with moral transformation; Martí with imperialism.
Hypothesis 2: That Castro’s rhetoric echoes the periodization literature in legitimating the ideological content of the policies of the regime, both: (a) in demonstrating ideological stability within periods; and (b) in demonstrating ideological change between periods.
Hypothesis 3: That there is a general change such that following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Castro’s rhetoric has become more nationalistic and less Marxist-Leninist.
Hypothesis 4: That there are consistent conceptual elements, representing both: (a) Restrictive Level 1 concepts; and (b) Positive Level 1 concepts.
Hypothesis 5: That there are flexible, ‘binary’ conceptual elements in which one of the pair is present at any one time. In other words, that Positive Level 2 concepts are mutually exclusive.
Correlations between Historical Figures and Issues
The issue index recorded both issues that are of value in themselves (such as social, racial, and economic equality) and issues that would allow an adherent “to position [himself] in the social landscape.”74 Of the latter, a clear example is the references to class struggle. In line with Hypothesis 1, an important element of the proposed model of Castroism would be demonstrated if Fidel Castro uses the analytical tools provided by particular historical figures whilst referring to those figures to legitimate the analysis. For instance, Castro said in a speech in 1984: “the working class has given this struggle an ideology, the ideology of the working class—Marxism-socialism, Marxism- Leninism, the struggle for socialism and communism.” 75 Here he was clearly connecting Marxist-Leninism with the understanding of development as the class struggle of the working class to improve their condition.
To some extent the data bears this suggestion out. A bivariate analysis was carried out, having removed the year 1970 as an outlier found in the Marxist-Leninism variable because of the single Lenin Centennial speech, which may have corrupted any correlation. There is a positive, significant correlation between references to Classical Marxist-Leninism and Castro’s use of the class struggle in explaining the “social landscape,” indicated by the salience of class struggle (r=0.447, n=33, p<0.01, two-tailed).76 This is shown in Figure 6. The two data points, 1973 and 1984, which are clearly above the trend are not technically outliers, neither being three standard deviations outside the mean. This analysis suggests that as the salience of Classical Marxist-Leninism alters in the Cuban President’s ideological framework, the conceptual apparatus developed by Classical Marxist- Leninism (that class struggle determines historical development), alters similarly.
A similar positive, significant correlation was discovered between references to José Martí and imperialism (r=0.417, n=33, p<0.01, two-tailed). Again, this would suggest that one of the key defining issues of Martí’s writings, criticism of imperialism, is associated by Castro with Martí. This is shown in Figure 7. Further, two additional bivariate analyses of the variables ‘Céspedes’ and ‘Maceo’ demonstrate no such significant correlation for either.77 Céspedes and Maceo are two variables that represent nationalist figures who came to prominence by taking part in insurrections against the Spanish before Martí became a national figure. Therefore, Castro’s association between imperialism and Martí would not appear to be indicative of a general association by the speaker between nationalist figures and imperialism. Rather, the salience of Martí is, to Castro, as the single nationalist whose works may be seen to directly warn of foreign exploitation.
The model of Castroism envisions what may be described as a cumulative definition of Marxist-Leninism. In this understanding, Fidel Castro always argues that his current understanding of Marxist-Leninism is the correct one, in line with the work of founders of classical Marxist-Leninism, ie. Marx, Engels and Lenin. We would not expect, therefore, that the use of classical Marxist-Leninism referents would be correlated with Castro’s invocation of moral incentives as the appropriate method of affecting the productivity of workers (which is an element of Guevara’s philosophy). Rather, although classical Marxist- Leninism does not emphasize moral transformation, Castro should suggest that there is clear authority for the development of a socialist man in the earlier literature when he invokes that idea, as well as suggesting that classical Marxist-Leninism is compatible with the use of material incentives, when he invokes that idea. This suggestion is not challenged by the data: a bivariate analysis (again with the 1970 outlier removed for consistency with the earlier analysis) suggests that salience of classical Marxist-Leninism is not significantly correlated at the 0.05 level with the salience of moral incentives (r= 0.24, n=33, n.s.). Furthermore, any correlation that may exist is positive (0.24), such that if the data suggests anything it suggests that as Castro draws upon Classical Marxist-Leninism referents in his rhetoric the salience of a moral transformation that is not emphasized in Classical Marxist-Leninism similarly increases.
However, this initial clarity of a correlation between historical figures and their conceptual approaches cannot be entirely borne out by the Guevaran variable. Hypothesis 1 would predict that references to Che Guevara ought to be positively and significantly correlated with the salience of moral transformation for Castro. This is not the case (r=-0.104, n=33, n.s.). For argument’s sake, even removing the year in which Guevara’s body was returned to Cuba as a possible outlier, given the obviously increased salience of Guevara in the single speech of that year, the data does not demonstrate a significant correlation between the two variables (r=-0.07, n=32, n.s.). Further, several authors suggest that a element of Guevara’s philosophy involved celebrating and encouraging voluntarism on the part of citizens as a demonstration of their socialist consciousness.78 Yet, Castro’s references to Guevara as a legitimating authority are not significantly positively correlated with the salience of voluntarism as a commendable quality (r=0.064, n=33, n.s.).
Two alternative conclusions may be drawn from the analyses thus far. First, we might suggest that Castro has failed to display a conceptual network in his rhetoric that rigorously draws upon different historical figures to legitimate the different philosophies which both political theory and the existing literature on the Cuban leader would suggest he ought to associate with those figures. This, it could be argued, shows that the Cuban leader cannot have a rigorous approach to political concepts, as the lack of correlation between the legitimation by authoritative historical figures and issues shows that the heritage of ideas from those figures is re-interpreted as Castro wishes to alter his policies. In other words, Castro changes his view of what different historical figures stand for as his policies change, and he seeks to legitimate the latest reforms.
A second, more subtle, view of this data may suggest that such changes in interpretation are only the case for certain thinkers. There is a clear correlation between Castro’s use of the conceptual framework of class struggle and the salience of Classical Marxist- Leninism. From Marxist-Leninism, therefore, Castro draws the clearly identifiable heritage of that strand and recognises it as such. Similarly, there is a clear correlation between Castro’s warnings of the threat of imperialism and the salience of José Martí. However, perhaps, other historical figures such as Guevara and the various non-Martí nationalists are generally legitimating in Castro’s political thinking. In this sense, ideas like the moral transformation of citizens may not be emphasized by classical Marxist-Leninism, but are not in direct contradiction to its principles. However, they are emphasized by Guevara, who is a key constant authority for political practice. Therefore, we would not expect a significant negative correlation between positive references to Guevara and references to classical Marxist-Leninism. The data does not undermine this suggestion: there is no significant correlation between classical Marxist-Leninism and the salience of Guevara (r=-0.136, n=33, n.s.).
For instance, when Castro seeks to legitimate the use of moral incentives he may suggest that Guevara had proposed the authoritative interpretation of the works of Marx and Lenin. The process of defining the content of Marxist-Leninism may, in other words, be cumulative. Restrictive level 2 concepts may now be viewed not as mutually exclusive. Instead of choosing either material or moral incentives; strong leadership or mass participation as the appropriate form of decision-making; or Internationalism or Nationalism, Castro instead may choose to use both in different proportions as it suits his legitimation.
Further, there may be a division between two types of historical figures: public heroes and public theorists. If Castro felt that certain historical figures were more appealing to his listeners than others, then those figures would tend to be used repeatedly, albeit not in a consistent pattern: these are heroes. Class struggle is inevitably bound up with the works of Marx and Lenin in both political theory and Castro’s political philosophy. To Castro, Marx and Lenin are admirable as theorists, as opposed to heroic individuals. This distinction may not be perfect (the types may be Weberian ideal-types), Martí may be both a hero and a theorist, but predominantly a theorist when (for Castro) imperialism is relevant.
Certain historical figures have a more permanent role than Marx and Lenin in that Castro uses them to legitimate his policies even when ideas of those historical figures are not immediately relevant to the issues at hand. In other words, Castro understandably feels that Guevara (and, possibly, the non-Martí Cuban Nationalists) is held in higher esteem than Marx and Lenin. Consequently, Guevara is invoked to legitimate policy programs even when his intellectual heritage cannot easily be seen to advocate such policies. Guevara, for instance, did not emphasize the role of the working classes in historical development, but, instead, concentrated on the role of the peasant classes. In Freeden’s terms we might consider this use of Guevara to be a cultural influence which recommends that Castro chooses to legitimate a position not by its most logical referent, but by its most popularly attractive.79 Further tests may determine which alternative interpretation is most convincing.
General Trends in the Figures Index
Nationalist Thinkers: As discussed earlier, a key figure in Fidel Castro’s political education was Eduardo Chibás, the leader of the Ortodoxos.80 This Cuban leader placed great emphasis upon the importance of moral leadership, and was deeply anti-communist. Interestingly, Castro did not make reference to Chibás at all in the 31 years of speeches that were considered in this study. Furthermore, Castro made only 3 references to Antonio Guiteras in the rhetoric analyzed since 1971. Valdés argues that Castro was nurtured upon the “anti-imperialism and insurrectionary actions of Antonio Guiteras,” yet this early socialist revolutionary does not form part of Castro’s public legitimation of his own policies. Lastly, Julio Antonio Mella, was cited as a Cuban Marxist who had developed from the University Reform Movement a few decades before Castro’s own political activity began through the same movement.81 Yet, again, Castro rarely refers to Mella, mentioning him only 24 times in the 161 speeches. These references are shown in Figure 8.
Therefore, although it might be argued that Castro learnt from, or was inspired by, the experiences of Cuban nationalists of the early-twentieth century (here represented by Chibás, Guiteras, and Mella), the data does not suggest that Castro publicly legitimates his leadership by reference to those figures. They are not public heroes, nor public theorists.
This is an appropriate moment to note the salience of Latin American pan-nationalists in Castro’s speeches. The most important figure in this tradition is Simón Bolivar, and he is the only figure of this strand mentioned in the 31 years. Castro does not, for instance, refer to the Aprista movement, or Perón from Argentina. The table above also demonstrates that although Castro has mentioned Simón Bolivar in his rhetoric, this figure is far from a central example in the discourse. Again, Kapcia and Valdés82 may argue that Castro was inspired by the pan-American message of Bolívar, but he is not a key legitimating figure. Rather, Cuban nationalists have a greater importance in the Cuban President’s rhetoric.
As Figure 8 shows, a comparatively very salient group of figures for Castro is made up of nineteenth-century Cuban nationalist figures who came to prominence during the Ten Years War of 1868-1878, and two of whom (Maceo and García) maintained their violent opposition to the Spanish occupation of the island even after the treaty which ended the war was signed. It is important to note that the ‘Mambí’ and ‘Céspedes’ vocabularies refer to figures or groups which were prominent in the same period: it was the Mambí army which fought for Cuban independence against the Spanish, and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes was the nationalist whose 1868 ‘Declaration of Yara’ began the war. There are also a high number of references to José Martí who came to prominence after the Ten Years War.
It should be noted that the ‘ideologically committed’ literature which suggests that there is a heterogeneity of influences from which Castro might draw, emphasizes José Martí as a key writer who inspired the Cuban nationalists who followed him, including Fidel Castro himself. In the biographical literature, Peter Bourne stresses the personal inspiration which Martí’s life provided to Castro: he “developed a powerful identification with Martí and in a way he worshipped him.”83 Yet, the evidence from this study suggests that Castro’s public legitimation places the salience of the pre-Martíano nationalists of the Ten Years War at a similarly high, if not higher, level than Martí. Castro does not legitimate his own policies by positive references only to the proto-socialism of Martí but also to earlier rebellions by slave-owning landowners, such as Céspedes. These leaders did free their slaves to fight alongside their former masters, however, it is clear that often their politics were not as aspirationally transformative in seeking to end economic exploitation of the lower classes as Martí’s later writings would propose. They may, in the understanding of the last section, be classified as pure public heroes.
If we create a new variable, a composite nationalist ratio, that represents all of the references to nineteenth- century Cuban Nationalists (both pre- and Martiano) this can show the general changes in the Cuban Nationalist aspect of Castro’s discourse. This is plotted in Figure 9. The two obvious peaks in 1973 and 1978 represent key commemorative events for Cuban Nationalist figures: 1973 was the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Major Ignacio Agramonte, a leader in the insurrection against Spain, while 1978 was the one hundredth anniversary of the Baraguá Protest in which Maceo and García rejected the treaty with the Spanish ending the war. It is not clear that there are any general trends in nationalist references. Hypothesis 2 suggests there will be some consistency in nationalist content from 1970 to the mid-1980s as the general tenor of the literature is that this period was one of ideological stability: Mesa-Lago argues that the policies of this period can be characterized as based upon a Soviet, pre- Gorbachev model of economic reform.84
Further, one might expect that in launching the Rectification Campaign of 1986, which criticized the Soviet model as an incorrect interpretation of Marxism, 85 this might be accompanied by a deliberate move by Castro to emphasize the essential ‘Cubanness’ of the regime’s interpretation of Marxist-Leninism. This is the suggestion of Hypothesis 3. Yet, 1986 itself marks the lowest dip in nationalist references of that decade. Further, it might be expected that Castro would draw upon nationalist rhetoric to maintain the governmental settlement in the aftermath of the collapse of the Warsaw Pact system in 1989: as Pérez-Stable puts it, “the symbols and history of la patria (the homeland) are the sole remaining source of ideological legitimization.”86 Yet, although the years 1990, 1991, and 1995 are the highest peaks in such references outside of the two commemorative years, there is no consistent trend in such greater salience. This is illustrated by the very low salience of nationalists from 1996-2003.
Such graphical interpretation is borne out by statistical analysis of the data. First, a simple bivariate analysis of years and the composite nationalist ratio does not show that there is a significant correlation between nationalist references and an increase in the years of the regime. If there is any correlation it is negative one, such that the increase in years is associated with a lower nationalist salience (r=-0.377, n=33, n.s.).
Secondly, the periodization literature which suggests periods of little internal change but which are themselves very different over the three decades is not borne out by a one-way ANOVA test. To undertake this analysis the years of the regime were categorized into four periods: (1) 1971-1984: Soviet model of orthodox economic reform; (2) 1985-1990: The Rectification Process and collapse of the Soviet Union; (3) 1991-1995: Opening moves to the market; and (4) 1996-2003: Post-Soviet Union stabilization period.
These periods are slightly different to economic policy periods laid out by Mesa-Lago as they were intended not to measure policy but rhetoric. Thus, the policies of the Rectification Campaign may have begun to be applied in 1986, but the dissatisfaction with the earlier model began to be expressed earlier by Castro, in 1985.87 Similarly, the years following the Rectification Campaign were divided into three further periods for greater detail. Thus, the second period represents the immediate responses to Gorbachev’s reforms and the uncertainties of the Soviet Union collapse in which Castro, it is generally argued, sought to defend the true model of Marxist-Leninism from perceived Soviet ideological betrayal. The third period, by comparison, should represent the first ideological moves towards the market by the regime. The final period should be largely consistent with the third, representing the ideological stability that may have developed with the onset of newly globalized open markets, and with the total certainty that Cuba could not rely on preferential trade from an Marxist group of nations. The final period is included so as to increase the detail of the post-1991 analysis.
The analysis suggests that there was no significant effect between periodization and the salience of nationalist figures (f(3,51.101)=0.998, n.s.). Further, a post-hoc test showed that no single difference in means between any of the periods is significant. Thus, we cannot suggest that the three periods show different general tendencies as to the importance of nationalist figures.
Interestingly, however, there is a positive, significant correlation between the Marxist-Leninism ratio and the nationalist composite ratio (r=0.527, n=33, p<0.01, two-tailed). This would suggest that as Castro alters his references to Marxist-Leninism he also alters his references to nationalist figures in the same way. This challenges hypothesis 3, which is supported in parts of the literature, such as Pérez-Stable’s account mentioned above, that as the centrality of Marxist-Leninism has reduced for Castro the salience of the figures of la patria in legitimating his regime has increased.
Marxist-Leninism Referents: In contrast to the ambiguity of changes in the Nationalist figures indices, the changes in the index of classical Marxist-Leninism are clearer. The plot in Figure 5 shows that there is some significant variation year-on-year in the references to Marxist-Leninism, but the general trend appears to be a reducing salience: from the 1970s to the late 1980s the levels are higher than the 1990s and early years of the 21st century. This initial observation is borne out by a basic bivariate analysis of Marxist-Leninism and change in the years of the regime, which demonstrates a significant negative correlation (r=-0.491, n=33, p<0.01, two-tailed). Thus, as the years passed Castro made fewer references to Classical Marxist-Leninist figures.
An ANOVA analysis using the same periods as identified above supports the general bivariate analysis. This suggests that there is a significant effect between the periodization of the regime and the number of references to Classical Marxist-Leninism (f(3,8.74)=5.19, p<0.01). This is shown in the plot of the means of the periods in Figure 10, such that the salience of Classical Marxist-Leninism for Castro increases slightly from the first period to the second, in which Castro claims the Soviet reforms are incorrect. Then there is a great collapse in the mean of references, as Castro moves towards market reforms and away from Marx.
Hypothesis 2, in line with much of the periodization literature, suggests that the salience of Guevaran Marxism ought to increase during the Rectification Campaign and maintain such salience after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Castro relied upon the invocation of moral commitment to one’s fellow socialists to maintain support for his regime during economic collapse. Mesa-Lago, for instance, refers to a popular renaissance in studies of Guevara immediately before and during the Rectification Campaign. 88 However, Figure 5 shows no such increase in references to Guevara in the mid-1980s, quite the opposite as there is a distinct trough in references in these years. The salience of Guevara appears to intermittently peak (outside of the key commemorative year of 1997), notably in 1978, 1982, 1988, and 1999, however there are no clear periods of salience. An ANOVA analysis supports this analysis, such that there is no significant effect between periodisation (again using the periods above) and the salience of Che Guevara (f(3,27.516)=2.76, n.s.). This may support the earlier contention that there are two idealtypes of historical figures in Castro’s network of rhetorical legitimation: heroes and thinkers.
Earlier in this article it was noted that there was no significant correlation between the salience of Guevara and the salience of moral incentives or the development of a socialist consciousness. The lack of a single- trend pattern in the salience of the development of a revolutionary consciousness and the use of moral incentives is similarly shown in Figure 11.
In Figure 11 it is clear that in the salience of moral incentives there is a peak in 1985, and a second peak in 1987, which conceivably may be the effects of the Rectification Campaign. It is important to note two features. First, the use of material incentives alone is almost never invoked by Castro. The one year in which this use is advocated (1982), it corresponds to a peak in the salience of moral transformation. Further, Castro barely makes any positive references to the combined use of material and moral incentives until 1986 which subsequently seems to enjoy an inverse correlation with Castro’s invocation of moral consciousness alone. One might suggest, therefore, that hypothesis 5, which suggests a binary relationship between positive level 2 concepts (here shown by the invocation of moral and material incentives) is falsified, and a cumulative notion of Marxist-Leninism is supported. It is clear, with the introduction of the salience of the use of both types of incentives, that there is not a binary relationship between the invocation of one type of incentive or the other.
The earlier years of the 1980s show in many years a higher salience of moral incentivization: a period (at the end of the 1970-1984 period) during which the periodization literature would suggest Castro was enjoying ideological stability based upon material incentives and economic decentralization. Further, the economic collapse of 1989 to the mid-1990s did not, the data suggests, represent a set of years during which Castro sought to invoke a socialist morality to garner popular support. Rather, this period shows a clearly reduced salience for some six years (1989- 1994). Therefore, Hypothesis 2 is falsified with regard to the ideological tone of the periods as reflected by the issues index. This is supported by the ANOVA analysis which shows there is no significant effect between periodisation and the means of the variable representing the salience of moral transformation, and the variable representing the invocation of the use of both moral and material incentives.
Thus, we might conclude that Castro’s rhetorical legitimation is distinct from the policies that are being implemented by his government. For instance, his invocation of revolutionary consciousness in the latter half of the 1970s to the first half of the 1980s, is at odds with a period in which the regime sought to rely upon material incentives in its economic program. The concept of ideology used in this study is not concerned with gaining a true portrait of policy changes, but, rather, envisages ideology as an independent network of legitimation. However, further work concentrating upon the relationship between what Castro says and the reality of his policies would be rewarding and may cast light upon the workings of the regime, and the way in which Castro seeks to affect his listeners.
Hypothesis 4 suggests that there are elements in Castro’s ideology that do not significantly increase or decrease in salience over time. These are Level 1 concepts, which are elements of all the philosophies which influence the Cuban President. In the indices, these elements are reflected by the inclusion of racial and sexual equality, and education as positive values which Castro ought to consistently value. The data does not indisputably support this hypothesis, however neither does it falsify it. An ANOVA analysis showed that across the four periods there is no significant difference in mean as to the salience of these three issues.
A key trend, however, concerns a set of issues that the model of Castroism considered Positive Level 1 issues, i.e., an issue that is important to elements of the four key philosophical strands. First, the issue of economic equality which is negatively and significantly correlated with the years of the regime (r=-0.596, n=33, p<0.01, two-tailed). This is plotted in Figure 12. The correlation between the salience of economic equality and the years of the regime is marked. Indeed, it is significant to the 0.0005 level. It would appear to be the case, therefore, that a key element of Castroism, equality, has changed fundamentally over the decades, so as to longer to be decontested as a need for economic equality.
Further, it would appear that for the Cuban President, economic equality is heavily related to both Marxist-Leninism and the use of the class struggle to understand society. As the data for the variable measuring economic equality was collected with a vocabulary which included the word ‘class,’ a new variable was collected excluding this term from the measure in order to properly explore the correlations between the conceptual apparatus of Marxist-Leninism and economic equality. Tested against this new economic equality variable, the variables Classical Marxist-Leninism and class struggle are individually, positively, and significantly correlated with the salience of economic equality at the 0.05 level.89 Thus, Castro’s legitimation has altered: with the reduction in the use of the conceptual analysis of Marxist-Leninism, and the authoritative invocation of the figures responsible for that analysis economic equality has similarly reduced. Castro apparently, therefore, viewed economic equality not as an essential element of his thinking, but rather as a goal associated with Marx and Lenin which either need not, or cannot, be sustained without the philosophy of those figures.
A counterpart to the decline in the salience of economic equality is a marked decline in three other key variables: imperialism, internationalism, and sacrifice. These three related issues form elements of nationalism (concerned only with fear of imperialism and admiration of sacrifice), Marxist-Leninism (both Guevaran and classical), and Latin American pan-nationalism. All three variables are negatively and significantly correlated with an increase in the age of the regime.90 The correlation concerning internationalism is plotted in Figure 13.
This turn away from economic equality and internationalism as positive goals, a reduction in the salience of sacrifice as a positive value, and imperialism as a phenomenon to be fought, marks a significant ideological shift on the part of Castro. This is a turn towards liberalism, in which equality should not be forced upon individuals, nor sacrifice to be a defining element of a good citizen. Further, the reduction in internationalism from a once salient quality to a rarely used issue represents a move from a general view of people around the world struggling together against larger forces to, perhaps, a view of nations looking after their own people before all those of other nations.
The results of this study have tested the five hypotheses constructed in the first three sections.
Hypothesis 1: The data suggests that certain historical thinkers are associated with their philosophical heritage by Fidel Castro. Notably, classical Marxist- Leninism is associated with the class struggle, and José Martí is associated with fears over imperialism. However, certain thinkers are not associated with ideas that may be ascribed to them: Guevara is not associated significantly with moral transformation.
The analysis of nationalist figures suggests that Castro made a distinction between José Martí and other nationalist figures. The pre-Martí figures are repeatedly invoked by Castro, but are not associated with particular issues. The post-Martí nationalist figures (Julio Antonio Mella, Antonio Guiteras, and Eduardo Chibás) are not consistently used by Castro in his speeches. When these observations are combined with the observation that Castro does not associate Guevara with the Argentinean’s ideas as they are applied by the Cuban regime, this may suggest that Castro makes a distinction between two types of figures: heroes and theorists. Future work on this possible division may be fruitful in increasing the understanding of Castro’s philosophy. Further, such work may even be very useful in exploring the influences of individuals upon many different ideological positions in other countries.
Hypothesis 2: This hypothesis suggests that the periodization of the economic policy of the Cuban regime may be echoed by the philosophical tenor of the President. This would appear to be the case for some figures and issues. For instance, the rhetorical salience of classical Marxist-Leninism and the class struggle was significantly different in 1985-1991 from the period 1970-1984, as Castro defended a self-proclaimed pure form of Marxist-Leninism in the face of Soviet reforms. Further, after 1991 the salience of Classical Marxist-Leninism was greatly reduced as economic policy moved toward embracing the market.
However, the periodization thesis is not supported as far as references to Guevara during the late 1980s are concerned. These do not significantly increase in this period. Further, the suggestion that within periods ideological content may be stabilized, echoing economic policy, is not supported by the data. It is clear that Castro often and repeatedly invoked moral transformation and the development of moral incentives during the ‘orthodox Soviet’ policy period of 1970-1986.
The disparity between the philosophical approach of the President’s rhetoric and economic policy is also an area that merits further attention. It may be the case that Castro reassures the populace as to the goals of the revolution by increasing the salience of issues that are not obviously addressed by the practical effects of his government’s program. Thus, revolutionary moral transformation is kept in the rhetorical forefront as it cannot be maintained in the policy forefront. It would be very interesting to investigate the question of why moral transformation is afforded such treatment, whereas economic equality is clearly downplayed in the 1990s as the government policies began to diminish such equality. This divergence of rhetoric and practice may offer an exciting insight into the way in which Castro seeks to maintain his popularity.
Hypothesis 3: It is clear that as the regime grows older, Castro becomes less reliant upon the use of the language of Classical Marxist-Leninism in his rhetoric. However, it is not clear that this is mirrored by an increase in the salience of nationalist figures. There is not a significant increase in references across the four periods, when their means are compared. It may be the case that the proportionate salience of nationalism has increased, as previously it was joined by classical Marxist-Leninism in the President’s rhetoric. Clearly, a portrait of Castro’s rhetoric in 2000 is very different to an equivalent portrait in 1970. But, there is no evidence to show this conclusively.
It might equally be suggested that Castro was once a speaker inspired by Marxist-Leninism of both a classical and Guevaran bent, which was combined with a clear nationalism. Now, Castro is more liberal philosophically, less concerned by class, imperialism, and sacrifice, but still concerned that nationalist figures are seen to legitimate his regime. It is important to note that Castro was always a nationalist, in that he has consistently cited figures from Cuba’s history in order to legitimate his regime. This has not significantly altered over the decades of the regime.
Hypothesis 4: This suggestion that there are elements which are consistently emphasized by Castro throughout his premiership is confirmed by the data, which shows that three indicative issues—education, racial equality, and sexual equality—do not significantly alter across the periods of the regime. However, the salience of certain Level 1 concepts have been shown to alter over the course of the speeches. The typically nationalist and Marxist concepts of internationalism, imperialism, and sacrifice have greatly reduced. Further, the essentially Marxist-Leninist issue of economic equality has become less important than it once was.
Hypothesis 5: The exact nature of Positive Level 2 concepts was explored in the analysis. The results suggest that a cumulative, rather than exclusive notion of flexibility might be more accurate. In other words, where the key political traditions offer two or more interpretations of the most appropriate policy instruments or of multiple interpretations of closely related goals, then Castro may employ more than one of these understandings at any given time. The key example in this study was of the use of moral transformation to develop workers’ consciousness and therefore productivity, as compared with the use of material incentives to develop productivity that demonstrated a cumulative notion of Marxist-Leninism.
In conclusion, this study suggests that Fidel Castro may have a conceptual framework that we may describe as an ideology. There are clear elements that remain consistent throughout the rhetoric: such as the value of education, racial, and sexual equality. Further, nationalist thinkers remain a constant legitimating source for Castro. This demonstrates the stability of conceptual analysis that Freeden warns is an important characteristic of an ideology.91 The gradual changes in reducing the use of class analysis, references to Marxist-Leninism, the importance of economic equality and imperialism, sacrifice, and internationalism demonstrate that the ideology is a coherent network. The indications that a number of concepts change together suggests that there is a necessary element of logical interrelationship.
Yet, there is also a level of cultural interrelation, for which Norval argues we must take account of the role of the emotional or traditional as well as the intellectual attractiveness of arguments, as discussed in above.92 This is seen in his use of Guevara to legitimate policies which are not related to, or which are even in tension with, the Argentinean’s own philosophy. Similarly the invocation of philosophically unsuitable pre-Martiano nationalists to support the socialism of Castro’s own policies demonstrates a set of cultural influences.
Castro may, therefore, have a legitimating network of conceptual decontestations that may be described as an ideology.
1. Hennessy, Alistair (1989), “The Cuban Revolution: A Wider View,” Vol 5, no. 4, Journal of Communist Studies, p.3.
2. Hennessy, 1989, p. 17.
3. Suchlicki, Jaime (2000), “Castro’s Cuba: Continuity Instead of Change,” in Cuba: The Contours of Change, eds. S. Kaufman Purcell & D. Rothkopf, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colorado, p. 66.
4. Eg. Szulc, Tad (1988), “Fidelismo: The Unfulfilled Ideology,” Cuban Communism, eds. I.L. Horowitz & J. Suchlicki, 10th Ed., Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J., p. 114.
5. Crabb, Mary Katherine (2000), “The Political Economy of Caudillismo,” in Cuban Communism, eds. I.L. Horowitz & J. Suchlicki, 10th Ed., Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J.
6. Bunck, Julie M. (2000), “Market-Oriented Marxism: Post-Cold War Transition in Cuba and Vietnam,” in Cuban Communism, eds. I.L. Horowitz & J. Suchlicki, 10th Ed., Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J., p. 192.
7. Suchlicki, 2000, p. 66.
8. Azicri, Max (2001), Cuba Today and Tomorrow: Reinventing Socialism, University of Florida Press, Gainesville, pp. 277-307.
9. Ortega, Luis (1995), “Las Dos Imágenes de Fidel Castro,” Vol 6, Contrapunto, p. 20.
10. Quoted in Azicri, 2001, p. 299.
11. Suchlicki, 2000, p. 67.
12. Azicri, Max (1992), “The Rectification Process Revisited: Cuba’s Defense of Traditional Marxism-Leninism,” in Cuba in Transition: Crisis and Transformation, eds. S. Halebsky & J. Kirk, Westview Press, Boulder, p. 45.
13. Eg. Kapcia, Antoni (1989), “Martí, Marxism & Morality: the evolution of an ideology of revolution,” Vol 5, no. 4, The Journal of Communist Studies.
14. Eg. Valdés, Nelson P. (1975), “Ideological roots of the Cuban revolutionary movement,” Occasional papers, no. 15, 1975, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Glasgow.
15. Eg. Azicri, 2001.
16. Eg. Crabb, 2000.
17. Aguilar, Luis E. (1986), “Immutable Proclamations and Unintended Consequences,” in Cuban Communism, eds. I.L. Horowitz & J. Suchlicki, 10th Ed., Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J., p. 88.
18. Whitehead, Laurence (2002), “On Cuban Political Exceptionalism,” Paper presented to the conference on Cuba’s Integration Into the International System, March 23rd 2002, p. 4.
19. For instance, Marx, Karl & Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1990. 20. Debray, Régis (1967), Revolution in the Revolution?, Monthly Review Press, New York, p. 103.
21. Petras, James F. & Morris H. Morley (1992), “Cuban Socialism: Rectification and the New Model of Accumulation,” in Cuba in Transition: Crisis and Transformation, eds. S. Halebsky & J. Kirk; Azicri, 2001, p. 34.
22. Carmelo Mesa-Lago demonstrates that Cuba’s trade decreased by 76% in 1989-1994, largely because of the removal of Eastern European trade and aid: (1998), “Assessing Economic and Social Performance in the Cuban Transition of the 1990s,” Vol 26, no. 5, World Development, p. 867.
23. Dilla Alfonso, Haroldo & John F. Uggen (1994), “Cuba Between Utopia and the World Market,” Vol 21, no. 4, Latin American Perspectives, p. 54.
24. Mesa-Lago, Carmelo (1989), “Cuba’s Economic Counter-Reform (Rectificación): Causes, Policies and Effects,” Vol 5, no. 4, Journal of Communist Studies, p. 98.
25. Quoted in Aguilar, 1986, p. 97.
26. Guevara, Ernesto (1970), “Socialist Humanism and Revolution,” in Marxism: Essential Writings, ed. D. McLellan, Oxford University Press, p. 382.
27. Mesa-Lago, 1989, p. 100.
28. Fidel Castro, 18th October 1987, ‘Speech on the Ceremony on the 20th Anniversary of the Death of Guevara,’ Granma Weekly Review, pp. 4-5.
29. Hennessy, 1989, p. 4.
30. Kapcia, 1989; Valdés, 1975.
31. Kapcia, 1989, p. 175.
32. Liss, Sheldon B. (1994), Fidel! Castro’s Political and Social Thought, Westview Press, Boulder, p. 33.
33. Valdés, 1975.
34. Valdés, 1975, p. 22.
35. Valdés, 1975, p. 22.
36. Liss, 1994, p. 33.
37. Valdés, 1975, p. 31.
38. For a general account of the project see Volkens, Andrea (2001), “Manifesto Research since 1979: From reliability to validity,” in Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors, ed. M. Laver, Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science.
39. Domínguez, Jorge I. (1993), “The Political Impact on Cuba of the Reform and Collapse of Communist Regimes,” in Cuba: After the Cold War, ed. C. Mesa-Lago, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh.
40. Mair, Peter (2001), “Searching for the Positions of Political Actors,” in Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors, ed. M. Laver, Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science, p. 25.
41. MacKenzie, Iain (1994), “The Arena of Ideology,” in Political Ideologies, eds. R. Eccleshall et al., 2nd Ed., Routledge, pp. 4-7.
42. Freeden, Michael (2000), “Practising Ideology and Ideological Practices,” Vol 48, Political Studies, p. 302.
43. Freeden, 2000, p. 303.
44. Norval, Aletta J (2000), “Review Article: The Things We Do with Words—Contemporary Approaches to the Analysis of Ideology,” Vol 30, British Journal of Political Science, p. 315.
45. MacKenzie, 1994, p. 1.
46. MacKenzie, 1994, p. 1.
47. Freeden, Michael (1996), Ideologies and Political Theory, Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 42.
48. Freeden, 1996, p. 33.
49. Norval, 2000, p. 318.
50. Adams, David M (1998), “Book Review: Ideologies and Political Theory,” Vol 108, Issue 4, Ethics, p. 815.
51. Freeden, 1996, p. 83.
52. Norval, 2000, p. 316.
53. Freeden, 1996, p. 85-87.
54. Freeden, 1996, p. 123.
55. Freeden, 1996, p. 106.
56. Norval, 2000, p. 320.
57. Mesa-Lago, 1989.
58. Azicri, 2001, Chapter 12.
59. Laver, Michael (2001), “Position and salience in the policies of political actors,” in Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors, ed. M. Laver, Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science, p. 72.
60. Mesa-Lago, Carmelo (2000), Market, Socialist and Mixed Economies, John Hopkins University Press, Maryland; Mesa-Lago, 1989; Azicri, 1992.
61. Mesa-Lago, 1989.
62. “Discursos e Intervenciones del Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz,” Oficina de Publicaciones del Consejo de Estado de la República de Cuba, La Habana, Cuba, http://www.cuba.cu.
63. Granma International English Edition On-Line, www.granma.cu/ingles/index.html.
64. E.g. In Defense of Socialism, 1989, Pathfinder Press, New York.
65. UTexas Castro Speech Database, lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/castro.html/index.html.
66. Berelson, B. (1952), Content Analysis in Communication Research, Hafner, New York, p. 18.
67. Laver, 2001, p. 70.
68. Laver, 2001, p. 73.
69. Kapcia, 1989.
70. Valdés, 1975.
71. Mesa-Lago, 1989.
72. Krippendorff, K. (1980), Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology, Sage, Beverly Hills/London, p. 155.
73. Laver, Michael & Ian Budge (1992), Party Policy and Government Coalitions, Macmillan, London, p. 22.
74. MacKenzie, 1994, p. 1.
75. Speech on the 15th Anniversary of Agrarian Reform Law, May 17, 1984.
76. With the 1970 outlier included, the correlation is still significant and positive (r=0.438, n=34, p<0.01, two-tailed).
77. For Céspedes: r=0.048, n=33, n.s.; for Maceo: r=-0.005, n=33, n.s.
78. Fagen, Richard R. (1969), The Transformation of Political Culture in Cuba, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California; Fagen, Richard R. (1972), “Continuities in Cuban Revolutionary Politics,” Vol. 23, The Monthly Review; Debray, 1967.
79. Freeden, 1996, pp. 85-86.
80. Valdés, 1975; Kapcia, 1989; Thomas, Hugh (2001), Cuba, 2nd Ed., Pan Books, London.
81. Valdés, 1975; Suchlicki, Jaime (1997), Cuba: From Columbus to Castro and Beyond, 4th Ed., Brassey’s Inc., Washington.
82. Kapcia, 1989; Valdés, 1975.
83. Bourne, Peter (1987), Castro: A Biography of Fidel Castro, Macmillan, London, p. 27.
84. Mesa-Lago, 1989 & 2000.
85. Black, 1988, quoted in Azicri, 1992, p. 44.
86. Pérez-Stable, Marifeli (1997), “The Invisible Crisis: The Exhaustion of Politics in 1990s Cuba,” in Toward A New Cuba: Legacies of a Revolution, eds. M.A. Centeno & M. Font, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, p. 27.
87. Mesa-Lago, 1989, p. 100; Azicri, 1992.
88. Mesa-Lago, 1989, p. 100.
89. Marxist-Leninism: r=0.375, n=33, p<0.05; Class Struggle: r=0.614, n=33, p<0.01. Both two-tailed.
90. Imperialism: r=-0.527, n=33, p<0.01; Internationalism: r=-0.488, n=33, p<0.01; Sacrifice: r=-0.377, n=33, p<0.05. All two-tailed.
91. Freeden, 1996, p. 83.
92. Norval, 2000, p. 322.
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