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

1 comment:

Companioni said...

This site along with Professor Manuel Marquez Sterling's book and College course textbook on Cuban history will no doubt become a seminal resource In the study of Cuba's historic Memory.