From Cold-War Communist Connection to Post-Cold-War Divergence: Cuba and Ethiopia

  • Robert De Leon


My paper will assess the effects that decolonization and communism had on Ethiopia and Cuba during the Cold War. The lasting impacts such concepts had on both countries after the Cold War and into the present day will also be examined. It may be interesting to contemplate that both Ethiopia and Cuba were third-world countries that transitioned into communist nations during the Cold War, but, after the end of the Cold War, only Cuba kept its communist government. Ethiopia was the only non-colonized country in the continent of Africa. Instead of being controlled by outside European nations, Ethiopia was ruled by a monarch for six hundred years. However, in the 1970s, the country was weakened by political in-fighting. In order to restore public confidence and unity, Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu seized power in a military coup and transformed the country into a communist state. As of today, Ethiopia has a formally democratic political system with a federal republic. On the other hand, Cuba had been colonized by the Spanish from the 15th century until the Spanish-American War in the 19th century. In 1959, its US-backed President, Fulgencio Batista, was ousted during the Cuban Revolution leaving the country in the hands of Fidel Castro. Since then, Cuba has been a one-party state under communist rule. Castro would utilize his party to exercise control over all aspects of Cuban life. Through my paper, I will research why out of these two third-world countries with similar desires to unify their nations under communism only Cuba remained a communist nation in the 21st century.

Author Biography

Robert De Leon

Robert DeLeon is a graduate student at California State University – Fullerton who majors in History. His focus is Cold War history, especially the shifting nature of foreign relations throughout the era. Robert graduated with a BA in History at CSUF and has worked as a Graduate Assistant within the Political Science Department on campus. He also volunteers at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda as a full-time Docent and works as an intern for the National Archives and Records Association (NARA) downstairs at the museum.