National revolutions significantly altered the internal status quo of Latin American nations in the twentieth century. The region’s first revolutionary leaders took their inspiration from the American and French revolutions. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 brought to power an ideologically committed leader who totally restructured the country’s society, economy, and form of government. Fidel Castro was guided by Marxism-Leninism and the Soviet model, based on revolutionary repression, discipline, and objectives.
Cuba under Castro created an unprecedented array of medals and orders designed to promote his government’s ideology of a new society. These awards paid token homage to Cuba’s early fighters for independence. Orders and medals named for deceased members of Castro’s 26th of July Movement made these comrades martyrs of the revolution as well as role models for those receiving the awards.Awards recognize individuals for participating in the revolution against Batista, defending the new government against its enemies, promoting socialism, arresting and interrogating members of the Cuban opposition, achieving production goals, teaching literacy, promoting revolution in other Latin American nations, and defending socialist governments in Africa.