Tuesday, November 24, 2009

M Marquez-Sterling Plymouth presentation video

Plymouth State University's Lamson Library and Learning Commons has published the video of Manuel Márquez-Sterling's presentation at the November 3 announcement of his new book, Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power.

The presentation is available as a five part series in standard and high definition (HD) video on the Lamson Library's Channel at YouTube:

Links to the individual parts:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cuba 1952-1959 on Blog Talk Radio (11/19)

Manuel Márquez-Sterling will appear on Cubanology's Blog Talk Radio program Speak Your Mind Thursday 19-Nov at 9:00PM ET. He will talk with hosts Jose Reyes and Roberto Companioni about his new book Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power and answer audience call-in questions. The show audio is also available via iTunes podcast.

The following program notes are from the program announcement post at Cubanology Biweekly:

About the Author:
Manuel Márquez-Sterling, born in Havana, has lived in the US since 1960. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Plymouth State University. His publications include Historia de la Isla de Cuba (co-authored with his father, Carlos Márquez-Sterling), and Carlos Márquez-Sterling: Memorias de un Estadista.

Before becoming a historian he studied law at the University of Havana in the 50s, where at graduation he received the Ricardo Dolz Arango National Law Award, the top University of Havana law student prize. His law practice in Cuba included serving as Public Defender and arguing a constitutional law case before Cuba’s Supreme Court. As a lawyer in 50s Cuba and the son of the architect of Cuba’s 1940 Constitution, the author addresses the legal and constitutional aspects of the revolutionary period from an expert perspective.

About the Book:

This book unearths a lost world to reveal the undiscovered Cuba during the critical seven years of the Cuban revolution. It brings to light long-buried fragments of history and masterfully pieces them together to lay bare how Castro really came to power. It is a book that could be written only by someone who was there, by an eyewitness with an insider’s view of behind the scenes happenings and intrigues, by someone who knew the now historical figures who fought the battles that ended in the establishment of the Castros’ totalitarian regime.

The book gives the reader a revealing look at the Cuba of the 50s, that shatters many widely-held misconceptions, including myths about Castro and his revolution assiduously crafted by Castro and his sympathizers over the last fifty years.

As this book reveals, the problems that plagued Cuba over 1952-1958 were political, not socio-economic. These problems were solvable by political means, and would have been but for Castro. It is commonly but mistakenly believed that in 1950s Cuba there were only two political forces: Batista and Castro. But as this book details, in reality there were three: Batista and his supporters, a revolutionary opposition advocating violently overthrowing Batista (of which Castro’s movement was a part), and an Electoralist/Constitutionalist opposition advocating solutions using ballots rather than bullets. The Electoralists represented the vast majority of Cubans who wanted to resolve the political crisis in a way that preserved Cuba’s 1940 Constitution and its democratic freedoms.

The author’s father, Carlos Márquez-Sterling, a prominent leader of the Electoralist/Constitutionalist opposition, was a presidential candidate in 1958 (
Cuba's last elections). he also played varied roles of substance in Cuban history, including leadership roles in the Ortodoxo party, Speaker of the House, Secretary of Education and Labor, and architect of the 1940 Constitution as President of the Cuban Constitutional Convention.

The struggle leading to the Old Republic’s collapse and Castro’s rise was mirrored in the struggle between Carlos Márquez-Sterling and Fidel Castro in establishing a government to replace Batista’s. Márquez-Sterling fighting for elections, Castro opposing them. The 1958 Cuban presidential elections drew an astonishingly large turnout—despite extreme violence including Castro’s threat to gun down anyone who went to the polls to vote. Márquez-Sterling received a decisive majority of votes cast, but to the surprise of leading political analysts of the day, the Batista government abetted electoral fraud and declared his chosen candidate the winner and new President. Márquez -Sterling’s margin of victory was large enough that the electoral fraud was obvious to everyone. This became the precipitating event to Batista’s departure. The US informed Batista that it would not accept the fraudulent electoral result and pressured him to leave Cuba- ushering in Castro’s regime.

Cuba 1952-1959 on 'Speak Your Mind' on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Visitor Map change

Regular readers will notice a change of Visitor Map in the sidebar. We have phased out the old map in favor of a new one from whos.amung.us which we think is better across the board. Its maps are richer and afford more display options, and it's updated continuously rather than old map which was updated no more frequently than daily.

Though we think this is an improvement, the switch does come at the price of not integrating historical visit data, reinitializing logs to midday on 10 Nov 2009. For those interested in archived visitor data, below is the last map generated with old system which maps visitors to the blog from 9 Nov 2008 to 29 Oct 2009:

Cuba 1952-1959 Blog Visitors 11/9/08 - 10/29/09

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cuba 1952-1959 Book Presentation in NY

Manuel Márquez-Sterling will make a presentation at the New York launch event for his new book, Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session and a book signing. The event is sponsored by the Cuban Cultural Center of New York. It will be held on November 20, 2009 at Columbia University’s Casa Hispánica, 612 West 116th Street, NY. The program begins at 6:00 pm.

For reservations and event information please contact the Cuban Cultural Center by e-mail at: cccofny@aol.com

11/15 UPDATE: The Cuban Cultural Center of New York reports that all available seats for the book presentation on Friday, Nov. 20 have been reserved, and so they have closed reservations for the event.

The following summary is from the New York Cuban Cultural Center event announcement:

the cuban cultural center of new york presents
Manuel Márquez-Sterling's
CUBA 1952-1959:
The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power

A discerning eyewitness account of the key events leading to the triumph of the Cuban revolution and the demise of the Cuban Republic in 1959, as well as a rich and comprehensive historical perspective of the last fifty years that only recent revelations have made possible. A must-read for all those interested in knowing the reality of Cuba’s political, economic, social and cultural conditions at the time of Castro’s rise to power and the catastrophic effects of his ensuing rule. With lucid prose and incisive analysis, the author lays bare long-held popular misconceptions about Cuba and its history and debunks much of the mythology perpetuated by the apologists for a totalitarian regime that has subjugated the Cuban people for over half a century. This book will serve as an invaluable introduction to those unfamiliar with Cuban history, as well as a necessary tool for scholars who wish to acquire an objective perspective and better envision a transition to democracy on the island.

Manuel Márquez-Sterling is heir to a distinguished line of Cuban diplomats, statesmen and journalists. A graduate of Havana University Law School, he has written several books on Cuban history, as well as novels and plays. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Plymouth State University and lives in New Hampshire.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cuba 1952-1959 Book Announcement

Manuel Márquez-Sterling's new book, Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power, was formally announced at Plymouth State University on November 3rd, 2009.

The announcement was made during a presentation at the university's Lamson Library. Honored guests in attendance included Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen. After being introduced to an overflow standing-room only audience by Professor Peng-Khuan Chong, Chair of the Social Sciences Department, Professor Márquez-Sterling opened his talk by observing the day was the 51st anniversary of Cuba's last elections, in which his father Carlos was a presidential candidate. His talk focused on those elections, which proved to be Cuba's last chance at a peaceful constitutional solution to the country's long political impasse. Castro and his revolutionaries had assiduously worked to prevent these elections, including death threats against the candidates and voters who showed up at polling places.

It has long been acknowledged by all except die-hard Batista supporters that Carlos Márquez-Sterling won the 1958 election but was deprived of victory by electoral fraud. Prof. Marquez-Sterling recounted the recent disclosure by Batista's military chief detailing the elaborate plan to perpetrate the fraud and declare the candidate suported by Batista the winner. This chicanery was the event that finally brought down the old Cuban Republic and brought Castro to power. The US informed Batista that it would not accept the obviously fraudulent electoral result and pressured him to leave Cuba, precipitating Batista's flight on New Year's eve and Castro's consequent seizure of power.

Prof. Márquez-Sterling also spoke about another historic fraud—the claims that Castro's revolution resulted in improved Cuban living conditions, education and health care. He presented facts and figures from his new book demonstrating that Cuba today is but the ruins of an advanced and prosperous pre-Castro Cuba which had a large and growing middle class, excellent health care and education, and one of the highest standards of living in the region.

The book gives the reader a revealing look at the Cuba of the 50s, debunking many widely-held misconceptions, including myths about Castro and his revolution assiduously crafted by Castro and his sympathizers over the last fifty years. Among those myths is that the Cuban Revolution was a military battle between the forces of Batista and Castro. Another is that Cuba was a backward nation plagued by socio-economic problems which Castro’s revolution overcame to achieve great gains in quality of life.

The author chronicles Castro’s real innovation: amalgamating political gangsterism, terrorism, and propaganda to impose totalitarian rule under the false flag of democratic liberation. The history in this book is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy when subjected to the kinds of stresses that plagued Cuba in the 50s. Those lessons have been made particularly relevant as a new wave of totalitarians inspired by Castro have adopted and extended his methods to create a particularly grave threat to democracies. Their gambit is to take Castro’s model one step further, seeking electoral victories to be subversively used to implement “constitutional reforms” that transmute constitutional democracies into totalitarian regimes. These “reforms” are achieved and consolidated through political gangsterism and electoral fraud. The success of such neototalitarian electoral coups is already evident in several Latin American countries.

The book incorporates illuminating material from diverse sources. These include recent publications and Spanish-language works not readily accessible to English-speaking readers. As the author mentioned in his (Spanish language) column announcing the book, making this material available in English was one of his major goals.

The book also incorporates extensive annotations and a bibliography for readers who want to further explore the enlightening revelations in this book. These references provide readers a guide to navigate to the accurate materials about the old Cuban Republic that the Castro regime has endeavored to obscure and distort for fifty years.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cuba 1952-1959 on NH Radio

Brian Tilton interviewed Manuel Marquez-Sterling about his new book, Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power. Courtesy of Brian Tilton, we are pleased to present the interview audio (15:51) from the program Bulldog Live! which airs weekday afternoons 1-3 pm on WTPL 107.7 FM "The Pulse" in New Hampshire and on web at www.wtplfm.com.

This program note is from the Bulldog Live! site’s Stories, Topics & Links to Recent Guests:

November 2, 2009

Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro’s Rise to Power

The book will be formally announced in a presentation by Prof. Márquez-Sterling at Plymouth State University, where he is teaching a course on that period of Cuban History this semester. The presentation will be held at the the Lamson Library and Learning Commons, 3:00 pm on Tuesday November 3, 2009. All in the Plymouth community are welcome to attend.