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.