Theory and practice associated with Fidel Castro (b. 1926), leader of the Cuban Revolution since 1959. Its first public statement was Castro's History Will Absolve Me (1953) which stressed nationalism, democracy, and social justice, but not socialism (the debate continues as to whether Castro was always a Marxist or ‘became’ one in 1961 in order to secure Soviet support against the United States; see Cuban Missile Crisis).
The Second Declaration of Havana (1962) called upon all progressive forces to participate in an anti‐feudal and anti‐imperialist revolution. Revolutions depended upon the conjunction of objective and subjective conditions in each country. The latter (propaganda, organization, and leadership) matured in response to the former, which included exploitation, the development of a mass revolutionary consciousness, a general crisis of imperialism, and the emergence of national liberation forces. There was no need to create an idealized vanguard party, and neither was the proletariat the only revolutionary class—peasants, students, radical Christians, could all join the movement.
Castroism exercised a strong influence over the New Left. In power, the institutionalization of the Revolution under the Cuban Communist Party produced an uneasy blend of bureaucracy, selective repression, artistic conformity, social welfare, mass mobilization, support for other revolutions (Angola), promotion of Latin American unity (for example, in the debt crisis), and, above all, charismatic leadership.