Historical roots of decolonization go back to early civilization. It was a major undertaking of a man in search for freedom, especially on a national scale. This is particularly exemplified by the events that occurred in late 19th century and 20th century. In this period, the British initiated colonization after which countries like France and Germany among others also joined colonizing countries around the world. Essentially, decolonization can be defined as the process owing to which colonized countries become independent from their colonizers. Politically, it highlights attainment of independence while culturally it shows an elimination of malicious colonial effects as illustrated by the Cold War. Decolonization has been achieved through native rebellions primarily energized by a rising spirit of nationalism, even though sometimes it was accomplished by diplomacy. This paper discusses the influence of decolonization and the Cold War towards globalization of South Africa and Cuba in terms of political, socio-cultural and economic aspects.
Globalization is the development and increasing integration as well as interaction of societies and economies around the world with major effects traversing social, economic, political and cultural life. Principally, globalization highlights a process characterized by increased interdependence, integration and interconnectedness of countries or people. It is mainly marked by interchange of products, finances, free trade, ideas and world views. Namely, it is fueled by advances in the infrastructure of telecommunication and transportation with effects on culture and environment, economic development and prosperity as well as political systems and human physical well-being in societies around the world. The tumultuous and volatile events involving decolonization and the Cold War in South Africa and Cuba respectively, and their influence towards independence and consequent globalization clearly underscore why I chose these two countries.
South Africa and Cuba: Decolonization and Globalization. Beginning after the Second World War, decolonization was accomplished for many countries except for South Africa, which makes it a special case for further consideration. In the South Africa, the apartheid regime emphasized racial superiority based on a clear distinction between the natives and the white people where any contact between them was condemned. Thus, there were many inequalities and injustices, which befell the locals. Economically, the natives faced a lot of challenges in the decolonization process as many resources where still indirectly controlled by the white people who were in power. Many South Africans were left without jobs and, therefore, had no incomes or economic prosperity. Consequently, this slowed economic growth in relation to the globalization process of South Africa. The country lacked a lot of resources, not only the demotivated human resource, but also finances and natural resources. However, South Africa has done its best to rise economically towards globalization due to already established international organizations, processes and practices. Therefore, decolonization process negatively affected South Africa’s ability to rise economically towards globalization even though it has managed to establish itself as an international business and cultural hub. This is illustrated by the numerous international organizations in South Africa such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) among others which have contributed greatly to the country’s economy.
Cuba really suffered under colonization with a previous gruesome history dating back to the 15th century where natives were subjected to massacres, European diseases, slavery, overwork and malnutrition as well as suicides committed by the Spanish..This colonization persisted in the 19th century where, like in South Africa, the colonization turned into authoritarian Spanish rule. It fueled an independence struggle and eventually led to the declaration of equality between whites and blacks, and the abolishment of slave trade. The decolonization process was quite difficult in the country which really struggled to rise economically towards the advantageous process of globalization. Eventually, in the early 20th century, the country gradually and steadily recovered its economic power from American and Spanish interests as it was halted and negatively affected by new regimes under Batista and Castro. This highlighted another forms of colonization where the country’s economic power deteriorated due to being used in power struggles between America and the Soviet Union in the Cold War period regarding missiles. Before the start of decolonization process, the country’s fight against this new form of colonization has persisted to the 21st century. Cuba struggled to gain economic power with its efforts towards globalization.
Throughout the colonization process, the South African natives adopted many cultural aspects of the white man, especially in terms of mannerisms among many others. Some people learnt English language as a way to understand and overcome the white man. From a socio-cultural view, the legacy of European dominance continued during decolonization as it was observed in the political infrastructure, the economy as well as the education system. Even though the decolonization process was full of promise and inspiration, it failed to positively change the country’s political and economic structures towards development and ultimate autonomy. However, steeped in hatred, the decolonization of South Africans saw an integration of various cultural aspects, especially language. This aspect was quite influential in the fight for independence as well as the subsequent reestablishment of the nation. As such, the current progress towards globalization achieved by South Africa can be inferred as being positively influenced and developed by the country’s colonization and decolonization processes. This reveals a positive effect of the decolonization process in South Africa, which enhanced the country’s chances of gaining independence. It was supposed to result in subsequent rebuilding of the country into an economic and political force in Africa. Therefore, in terms of socio-cultural effects and integration, South Africans were able to positively influence the decolonization process towards enhanced globalization of the country.
The decolonization of Cuba was accompanied by policy formulation involving promotion of social integration, gender equality, improved access to qualitative education, health care and poverty eradication, which were later confirmed by the Copenhagen Social Development Summit. This was inspired by the desire to restore the country’s prosperity and eliminate overall injustices and inequalities, especially concerning such groups of people as children, women and the rural population, which were disadvantaged during colonization. However, many negative situations and consequences were created by the Cold War. Many Cubans were divided in their support for the two superpowers, which eventually led to suspicions, detainment and chaos in the nation. This was further worsened by the crisis and economic reforms introduced in the 1990’s. These grim innovations greatly hurt the country’s economy and negatively affected many Cubans’ lives, which undid the social progress, achievements and advances. This culminated into a situation where illiteracy, malnutrition, insecurity, social exclusion and poor health were the norms of the day considering the scarce and diminished resources for the provision of basic social services. It shows the initial positive effects followed by negative consequences in the country’s socio-cultural development that characterized Cuba’s decolonization process, currently being changed for the better with effective policies and legislations towards globalization (Anonymous, 2011).
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Influence of the white people on South Africa resulted in the various established processes, organizations and practices including those involved in politics. Thus, the legal systems, which resembled European ideas, were adopted by the natives during the decolonization of the country. This provided a basis for neo-colonialism, defined as the country’s continued exploitation from within and without by European political intervention during the country’s post-independence years. The situation primarily benefitted those in power in a situation where the withdrawal of the whites necessitated maintenance of deferential although definite relations. It remained the former oppressor to guide the transition of power and control of the natives. Since decolonization of the country was spearheaded through politics, the political framework established by the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), in the decolonization process provided a firm foundation for the country’s eventual prosperity. South Africa encouraged the emergence of universal suffrage where chosen leaders worked hard to restore the country. Accordingly, its decolonization and eventual establishment of an effective political framework has enabled the country to prosper. Therefore, the political framework established in the decolonization process has enabled South Africa to provide deliverance for its people and at the same time maintain good relations with other states supporting globalization.
Spain’s withdrawal let Cuba gain its sovereignty after many revolutions. Thus, the political framework that remained enabled the country to gradually rise from decay to prosperity, which was negatively affected by subsequent power struggles between various leaders. This volatile political situation adversely affected many Cubans’ lives, especially during and after the Cold War. Cuba’s political framework could not make positive changes and solve the country’s dire problems by supporting the Soviet Union, which later collapsed. Even though the political framework advocated for positive changes, the implementation was difficult considering Castro’s authoritarian rule. It definitely stifled an environment that could encourage nation-wide development in all sectors. However, in recent times, the established political framework, integrated with some changes, enabled the country to attract partnerships with other countries such as Venezuela. It seems to be a positive effort towards globalization. Therefore, the decolonization process in Cuba has politically stifled development of the country, which is now implementing changes towards prosperity.
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As we have already discussed, the themes of decolonization and globalization explain how decolonization influenced and affected Cuba’s and South Africa’s efforts towards globalization. Evidently, decolonization in South Africa and Cuba has greatly influenced the countries’ abilities of their transition into globalization. On the one hand, decolonization created a good foundation for economic, political and socio-cultural development and integration, which allowed South Africa to take various positive steps towards globalization. On the other hand, Cuba’s decolonization process, which happened in the period of early 20th century, also made a good background for political, economic and socio-cultural development, but was disrupted by power-hungry leaders and the Cold War. This led the country towards a backward path in its development and eventual embrace of globalization. It is transparently illustrated by Cuba’s diminished relations and cooperation with other countries around the world. Essentially, the nature of the world after the Second World War in 1945 can be inferred as quite tumultuous. There were many countries seeking for self-preservation through alliances to a specific superpower between the United States and the Soviet Union. In this way, Cuba was adversely affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, we can observe the white’s insistence as they indefinitely remained in South Africa.