SEMI-COLONIAL is a major event in the history of










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by Gizem ?aylan





International Relations

IR 327.01



to Marxist theory, semi-colony’s description is a country which is officially
an independent and sovereign nation,
but on the reality it is dependent and dominated by any other imperialist
country (Revolvy,2017). This dominance can influence
the nation in diverse shapes; financial (the supply of capital, innovation or
merchandise, and control over vital resources and remote exchange), political
(coordinate mediation by the colonialist nation in the political undertakings
of the semi-colony to secure client-regimes), military (the nearness or control
worked out by outside troops), cultural/ideological (e.g. the inconvenience of
a remote culture or outside religion on the neighborhood populace through the
media, instruction and outside customer items), innovative (the reliance on
remote innovation, or the innovative mastery by an outside nation), statistic:
the migration into the semi-colony of expansive numbers of pioneers from the
settler nations which overwhelm the semi-colony (Revolvy,2017). Also
in Hong Lisa’s article, it says that, there two clauses cleared as a
semi-colonial; first the loss of the mentioned state’s right to specify its
import and export duties, secondly the accepting of extraterritorial rights to
the subjects of the treaty power (Lysa,2014, pg.328). In that regards, Cuba can
be given as an example of semi-colonial countries. Cuba is a nation which
incorporates the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and a few little
island groups. Cuba is found in northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, the
Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It remains on the south of both
the United States of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti, and north of
Jamaica. Havana is the biggest city of Cuba, and it is the capital. Santiago de
Cuba and Camagüey are other major cities of Cuba. It is the biggest island in
the Caribbean, with a region of 109,884 square kilometres, moreover the moment
most celebrated crowded after Hispaniola with over 11 million residents. (Wikipedia,
2017). With the help of its location and situation, this island had two
different major importance in 18th-19th century on
imperialists’ eyes; sugar production, huge part of slavery and the place on
Atlantic economy.

history is known of the pre-Columbian history of Cuba. Indigenous people are
the former natives of this island. They lived on the island by 3.000 BC. The
first incomers approached the island then migrations of several cultural groups
from some regions of Caribbean. The Tainos were the main indigenous group when
Christopher Colombus landed on the island. He landed in 1492 (A Brief History of Cuba, 2017). Spanish arrival
on the island is a major event in the history of Cuba. Spanish conquest of the
island began in 1509, destroying and murdering the native population by war,
disease, and enslavement. ?n 1520s, Spanish landlords started to import slaves
from Africa to work on their fields and settlements. In today’s world, if
Cubans want to chase their heritage back to Tainos and search for their ancestors
it is almost like impossible because indigenous people of this island were
completely disposed of their native lands.

a long time, Colonial Cuba got to be a significance source and area of riches
of the Spanish Domain. They were sending out and bringing in slaves, briefly
slave exchange was a major significance of that island. Moreover, they begun to
trade tobacco and sugar. Cuban history stood up to the impacts of patriot
insurgencies that spread through the Spanish Modern World after the American
War of Autonomy meanwhile there were gigantic clashes between Spanish
specialists and Cuban landowners and labourers (A
Brief History of Cuba, 2017). 

became so important in the conflictive Spanish Empire with the help of major
sugar production, being a major trading partner with United States in the first
half of the 19th century. However, this situation caused so many suffers in
natives lives. There were miserable conditions in sugar plantations. So that,
slave rebellions emerged. In 1868, even Cuban landowners started to resist
against the current situation. And they initiated the first Cuban War of
Independence (A Brief History of Cuba,

that hard times, many great Cuban national heroes came into prominence such as;
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, Maximo Gomez, Antonio Maceo, and Jose Marti. There
are lots of memorials all over the Cuba which belongs to them (A Brief History of Cuba, 2017).  

Ten Years War against Spain finished in 1878 with the Pact of Zanjon which was
almost like a compromise with Cuban rebels. However, the Pact of Zanjon was not
convincing to some other revolutionaries and Jose Marti. They all continued
their resistance to the Spanish authorities. After that, some of them exiled to
United States from Cuba (A Brief History of Cuba,

February 1895, while the War of Independence, struggle for independence was
keep going, Spanish-American War originated. Then in April, Maceo, Marti and
Gomez, they landed in Cuba to begin the War of Independence. And in 1898,
rebels were largely in control of the island. The United States used the
explosion of the USS Maine in the Havana harbour to begin hostilities against
Spain, they have officially started the Spanish-American War (A Brief History of Cuba, 2017).

December 1898, Spain gave up the control of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and
Cuba to the United States. On the following sixty years, United States had a
huge dominance on Cuba. The U.S. Navy established the base at Guantanamo Bay,
American tourists invaded all over the country such as casinos, hostels,
brothels of Havana. From now on, United States’ undertaking over Cuba became
like a fact (A Brief History of Cuba, 2017).   The Spanish-American War was a strife
between the United States and Spain which resulted by the finishing Spanish
colonial run the show in Americas and in United States securing of domains in
the western pacific and Latin America (Timeline: US-Cuba Relations, 2012).

1902, Cuba became autonomous with Tomas Estrada Palma. He was the president of
Cuba. However, the Platt Amendment (1901) was keeping the island beneath United
States’ assurance and it was giving right to the United States to include in
Cuban issues. Between 1906 and 1909, Tomas Estrada Palma resigned. A while
later, United States possessed Cuba, and a disobedience driven by Jose Miguel
Gomez happened. He got to be the president of Cuba during the taking after
decisions administered by United States. Unless soon he focused on by
debasement. Three years later, United States forces returned to Cuba to offer
assistance, put down black protests against segregation. During these times,
Gerardo Machado was the president of the nation. But in 1933, he overthrown in
a coup which was driven by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista (Timeline: US-Cuba
Relations, 2012)

the 1950s, Cuba was ruling by an unpopular military dictatorship with Fulgencio
Batista. Against the current situation, a resistance movement appeared. It was
leading by Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevera. Che Guevera was an
anti-imperialist but specifically anti-American. He was articulated,
experienced, charismatic leader who is a major spokesperson for Latin American
Revolution. This resistance movement gained increasing support and power by the
people against this military dictatorship. However, in 1953, Fidel Castro
leaded an unsuccessful revolt against Batista regime. Batista Coup d’état,
reinforced US alliance, economic influence, corruption, existing repression. In
1956, he landed on eastern Cuba from Mexico and took the Sierra Maestra
Mountains with the support of Che Guevara. He pursued a guerrilla war.         

Castro was a university-educated, articulate, charismatic leader. First he
failed to attempt to lead left. But then, he returned in 1956. He began
recruiting youth, labourers both urban and rural. In 1958, US withdrew military
aid to Batista. In January 1959, he launched successful revolution. He led a
9,000-strong guerrilla army into Havana, forced Batista to flee. Then he became
the prime minister of the country. He gained control of Cuba and began a
revolutionary reordering of Cuban society, instating land reform, investing
health care, education, and athletics. Under his administration, Cuba became a
one-party communist state, while industry and business were nationalized and
state socialist reforms were enforced throughout society. All US businesses
were nationalised without any compensations. In that regard, US made his
decision and cut off diplomatic relations with Havana. They imposed a trade
embargo in the response of Castro’s reforms (A
Brief History of Cuba, 2017).

announced that Cuba is a communist state and was following a policy which is
close to Soviet Union, and detaining thousands of political rivals. Castro’s
arrangements made Cuba’s relations between its superpower neighbour United
States increasingly conflictive and tense. In April 1961, a failed attack
driven by United States happened. In that regard, Castro strengthened his
relations between Soviet Union. He begun to take a place with Soviet Union in
the worldwide cold war (A Brief History of Cuba,
2017). In the same year, US led an ineffective invasion by Cuban exiles at the
Bay of Pigs. The Bay of Pigs Invasion, was a failed military invasion of Cuba
undertaken by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored paramilitary group (Timeline:
US-Cuba Relations, 2012)

the help of the alliance of USSR, CIA beneath the force of United States
started to make plans to assassinate Castro as part of Operation Mongoose. They
organized at least five assassination plans between 1961 and 1963 (Timeline:
US-Cuba Relations,2012)

1962, Cuban missile crises stroked with the fear of a US invasion. Castro
permitted the USSR to send their nuclear missiles on the island, Cuba. USSR set
up nuclear bases in Cuba. During the cold war, Cuban Missile Crisis is known
for 14 tense days. The United States released photographs of Soviet nuclear
missile silos in Cuba. It was a crisis which took the two superpowers to the
brink of nuclear war. United States agreed to destroy its nuclear bases in
return for a U.S. hostage not to attack Cuba or depose Castro. And USSR agreed
to expel the missiles in return for the withdrawal of US nuclear missiles from
Turkey (Timeline: US-Cuba Relations,2012).

1980, around 125,000 Cubans ran away to the United States when Castro
temporarily lifted restrictions. And most of them were discharged convicts. In
1993, the US tightened its embargo on Cuba, which incorporates some market
reforms in order to stem the disintegration of its economy. US dollar
legalisation, the transformation of numerous state farms into semi-autonomous
co-operatives, and the legalisation of limited person private enterprise were
included. Next year, Cuba signed an agreement with the United States which
regards that U.S. agreed to admit 20,000 Cubans a year in return for Cuba
hindering the migration of refugees. However, after two years, the U.S. trade
embargo made permanent because of Cuba’s shooting down of two aircraft operated
by Miami-based Cuban exiles. In 1998, the United States rearranged limitations
on the sending of money to relatives by Cuban Americans (Timeline: US-Cuba

the other side, after getting along with USSR, the following thirty years,
Cuban got along with the Soviet communist bloc. Soviet imported of Cuban sugar
and it propped up the island economy. When USSR collapsed in 1989, Cuba also
faced with hard times in economy. These years, Cuba had to become
self-sufficient (A Brief History of Cuba,

early 1990s, Cuba opened of the island to the international tourists. And that
decision helped Cuban economy to develop. (A
Brief History of Cuba,2017).

November 2001, Cuban government requested the United States to help it overcome
with the consequence of Hurricane Michelle. At that point the United States
exported food to Cuba for the first time in more than 40 years after. In
February 2008, Raul Castro was officially president. Washington called for free
and reasonable elections but also added that the trade embargo will stay same.
In 2014 the United States and Cuba revealed their arguments to end of conflict.
One year later, Obama became the first president to visit the island since
Calvin Coolidge in 1928 (Timeline: US-Cuba Relations,2012).  

discussing the timeline, historical facts of Cuba, now we can start the analyse
the situation in Cuba now and before. On Hong Lysa’s article, she tells about
Bangkok’s attitude towards semi-colonial action. I briefly examine from the
article that, how Bangkok became ‘modernised’ and ‘globalised’ is related to
how they opened their culture, habits to imperial powers, how Siamese
authorities lost their power. She makes a quotation about the situation, a
journalist Naylor says that “If it were true that in Siam the Press did not
represent public opinion it was probably because there was no public opinion to
represent. The fault lies with the public if the press did not represent its
opinion. The farang (European) community was split up into many sections, while
it is very difficult to ascertain what the Siamese really did think.” (Lysa,
2004, pg. 341). They are telling that with the imperialist powers, Bangkok lost
their ability to state their own ideas, give decisions on their own. In
Bangkok’s case Europeans, here in Cuba’s case Spanish Colony and United States,
these all emperialist powers are attempting to break down semi-colonial
countries’ powers. In the name of modernisation and globalization, history is
full of colonial or semi-colonial assaults. On the records, when ‘global’
claimed in worldwide history, the part of actors and places and forms in that
particular regions ought to be considered which are not commonly examined in
the setting of ‘History’ but of ‘histories’ examined (Freitag, Oppen, 2010,
pg.3).  Since, in the context of history,
we can not talk about history without the impacts of colonial powers, how they
made that particular area global by including their current tradition,
propensities and way of life. The world’s history can not be mentioned without
the domination of these imperialist powers. “The Modern” will be understood, as
Dipesh Chakrabarty disguised in his article, “as a known history, something
which has already happened somewhere else, and which is to be reproduced,
mechanically or otherwise with a local context” (Chakrabarty, 2000, 39). And he
adds that, Morris’s this saying can only leave us with a task of reproducing
what Morris calls “the project of positive unoriginality” (Chakrabarty, 2000,
39). For that statement, I can add an example from lecture presentations.
Philippines was under the hegemony of Spanish colony until the Spanish-American
War just like as Cuba. Then with the loss of Spanish Empire, Philippines were
under control of U.S. hegemony (Philippines and Brazil,27 October 2017).
According to that example, event is same but the actors are different, even
most of the actors are same.  Also in
Venezuela presentation, after the expedition of Colombus on the territory
Spanish Colony exploitation happening for the aim of abusing pearl oysters on
the Pearl Islands, just like the aim of sugar abuse in Cuba’s case (Venezuela,
27 October 2017).

these colonials, colonialist powers provided some facilities to the exploited
nations. Improving the exploited countries’ facilities were mostly depending on
the colonialist powers’ wants and consolation. These days, nations that
exploited other nations have some arguments such as they made these territories
more like a liveable place. However, the truth is that, as Hugo Lysa states,
Europeans attempted to make their lives more pleasant, so that they forced the
government to supply some facilities such as streets and road lights,
sanitation and water systems, enlistment of workers, dogs and passings (Lysa,
2004, pg. 344). First aim of these improvements was to please themselves. Then,
in several examples of exploitation, bourgeoisie started to enjoy that
facilities even though they knew these were not for their good but still they
took advantage. As Hugo Lysa states in her article, there was completely no
control in Siamese authorities themselves dispossess the land. The foreigners
were realizing their opportunities and taking advantage from this circumstance
on arrangements. The Siamese authorities were not even total in charge, and it
was valuable for the westerners and elites themselves to speak as if they were
foreigner (Lysa, 2004, pg. 346). Even there was no privileges for bourgeoisie,
and there were quite pathetic, they kept their silence. But the situation in
Cuba was never like in this case. Until the beginning of the colonialist period
with Spanish Colony, they kept fighting against the imperialist powers. They
never accepted to be dominated by any other forces. Even Cuban bourgeoisie was
not fully cooperating with U.S. forces when Fidel Castro was leading a rebel
against Batista towards United States. The national bourgeoisie felt sympathy
when they saw the resistance of young uprisings from the mountains punish the
hired soldiers, the military arm of colonialism (Guevara, 1961). At the
beginning of the resistant, the national bourgeoisie was against the
revolution. They were holding the streets against the uprisings. At that point
the merciless landowners appeared that they were deceitful and experienced in
the most brutal forms of restraint. At last, bourgeoisie was willing to
cooperate (Guevara, 1961). 

to Guevara’s sayings, the battle in the wide open pushed peasants to join
together. A peasant armed force formed with extraordinary goals for which the
lower class ought to battle would capture the cities from the countryside
(Guevara, 1961). The peasant class of Latin America, attribute itself on the
ideology which refers as the working class. Great thinkers discovered the
social laws. The peasants fight willingly versus the mercenary army. There was a
huge difference between people who are fighting for their own good, for their
dependence, for their primary need and people who are fighting for money.

leading figure was profoundly important. Fidel Castro was a solid leading character
who could make him stand out distant over his supporters. He was a
representative even from his understudy days. He was used to reach expansive
masses. According to Che Guevara’s sayings, he had individual blessings of
strength, quality and exceptional assurance to continuously perceive the will
of individuals (Guevara, 1961). These capacities brought him the positon of
respect and sacrifice. He also had another quality such as the ability to
assimilate information and involvement for understand a circumstance completely,
with its each subtle element. He had a vision to anticipate occasions and
expect them in action. He had a gigantic capacity to join together masses. Che
Guevara states that, Fidel Castro has done more than anybody else in Cuba to
create from nothing the present staggering instrument of the Cuban Revolution (Guevara,

a conclusion, Cuba was always a fighting, resistant country against
imperialism. Even during the Spanish Colony period. People fought and resisted
for the seek of Cuba’s indecency during the “War of Independence”. In the
sequel, Fidel Castro and his followers fought for the independence of Cuba. Fidel
Castro’s ultimate goal for Cuba was to stay “non-aligned” and do not except the
domination of other powers towards Cuba. So that, he took his all actions
according to that idea. He remained non-aligned. No matter how the whole
country moved onto the conflicts, he did not take any action under the United
States’ wills and commands. Cuban Revolution can be stated as a symbolic
revolution around the South American countries, even in the world. This very day,
Cuba still conserves its tradition and natural atmosphere. Nowadays, it is one
of the most popular and authentic island on the world and thousands of tourists
travel to appreciate the unique culture and history of Cuba and enjoy the
climate with the natural beauty of the historic island. They are more open
according to revolution days, but still they did not lose anything from their
own living. They stayed off one’s own bat.











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Atilla Ülke, Ayan
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