Cuba's Colonial History

3014 Words12 Pages
Cuba Cuba The forces that define Cuba today are in many ways the same ones that have defined it for centuries. The ethos of monism, or the tendency to centralize power and to use it to represent pluralistic, divergent or dissenting impulses, was established early in Cuba's colonial history. A small Spanish elite group used centralized power to rule for what they viewed as the common good. This common good usually coincided with their interest, and public office was often seen as both proprietary and legitimate source of private gain. Political monopolies were reinforced by economic ones, all of which served to limit accountability, social mobility, an expectation of fair play and economic development (Ellis, 2007). In Cuba, as elsewhere in Ibero-America four hundred years ago, rulers viewed society as an organic whose constituent part were united by the imperatives of order, harmony and uniformity. Experimentation, critical inquiry, and compromise were antithetical to the imperatives of monism. These forces and the limitations they place on human development have been increasingly challenged over the last century and a half by efforts to develop a more pluralistic society. Indeed, much of the modern history of Cuba is a tale of the conflict between the ethos of monism and the ethos of pluralism. This work traces the monistic impulse, efforts to change it, and its manifestation in contemporary Cuba. Throughout the colonial period, contraband trade long served as way
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