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Castroism (castrismo in Spanish) is a left-wing ideology, lined with and created by Fidel Castro. Castroism is influenced by many ideologies but particularly the theories of Cuban revolutionary José Martí, and after 1961, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and according to some, fellow 26th of July Movement revolutionary Che Guevara. Castroism's main focus is the practice and theory behind revolution and revolutionary government in Cuba and promotes Latin American solidarity, social justice and people's democracy.
Fidel Castro first expounded the main principles of Castroism in his 1953 speech, History Will Absolve Me. Here he stressed the reinstatement of the 1940 Constitution of Cuba, and also promoted a series of land and labor reforms. In this speech, he mentions little about socialism; and socialist ideologies and terminology make no appearance. In the speech Castro also stated the need for Cuban nationalism, social equality and solidarity among the Cuban people. This speech strongly criticized the government of Fulgencio Batista.
In the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution and his appointment as Prime Minister of Cuba, Castro began to take a more active interest in the development of his political ideals. During this time, Castro did implement many socialist, but not explicitly Marxist reforms of land and working rights, including the 1959, First Agrarian Reform. Soon afterwards, however, it was noted that Cuban officials had contacted KGB operatives in Mexico City.
This was followed soon by over 500 Spanish-speaking advisors being sent to Cuba by the Soviet Union. Over the following two years Castro built up his relationship with the USSR, buying oil from them, and exporting sugar and coffee. In 1960-61 Castro began to introduce Marxist-Leninist ideas into the, then developing theory of Castroism. Collectivization schemes and other socialist practices were implemented, and Cuba was declared a socialist state.
In 1976, the Cuban government introduced the modern constitution of Cuba, which sought to institutionalize the Cuban Revolution, and its Marxist principles. It was based extensively on the constitution of the Soviet Union. It introduced socialist ideology, specifically Marxist-Leninist, into the government of Cuba. It stipulated that health care and education provision ought to be free of charge, and that the state could restrict media and religious organizations within the island. This was the first time that explicitly Soviet principles had been incorporated into a major piece of Cuban legislation. In 2002, socialist ideals were declared ultimate and irrevocable, within the governance of the island of Cuba.
The development of Castroism is based upon the background of the 1959 Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro's years in power. It was largely shaped by a close involvement with the Soviet Union.
In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union and Cuba began to form a closer relationship, thus providing opportunities for Cuba to export large amounts of sugar, coffee and other goods. As a result of this Cuba became embroiled in many of the conflicts between the Soviet Union and the USA including the Cuban missile crisis.