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Social Studies 6 March 2011

Mr. Posey, Ms. Traylor

Unit 5 Notes
The Cuban Revolution
At one point in time, Americans bought large amounts of sugar from Cuba and owned quite a bit of land
in Cuba. In the 1950’s, Fulgencio Batista was the dictator of Cuba. During this time, people in Cuba were very
poor, they had no education, and they had little health care. This caused most Cubans to be extremely unhappy
with Batista. In 1959, Fidel Castro led a group of rebels that defeated Batista. Fidel Castro became the new
dictator of Cuba.
Castro said that all land in Cuba that was owned by Americans now belonged to the government. All
farms, factories, and businesses that belonged to Cubans now belonged to the government also. He divided the
land and businesses equally among the citizens, making Cuba a communist country. Castro made sure the
schools and hospitals improved. Every citizen in Cuba was guaranteed a job, but they did not get paid very
much. Most Cubans continued to be very poor. People who protested against the government were locked in
prison or killed. Cuban newspapers, radio, and television were shut down. All churches were closed.
The United States did not like many of Castro’s changes. They placed an embargo on all Cuban goods.
They stopped buying sugar from Cuba, which hurt Cuba’s economy. Cuba became friends with the Soviet
Union. The Soviet Union bought sugar from Cuba. The Soviet Union also gave weapons to Cuba and trained
the country’s soldiers. In 1962, Cuba gave the Soviet Union permission to place nuclear bombs in their country.
These missiles were close enough to reach the United States. President John F. Kennedy, Jr. threatened to attack
Cuba if they did not remove the bombs. The Soviet Union removed the weapons. This was called the Cuban
Missile Crisis.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, many unhappy Cubans tried to escape to the United States. Cuba started letting many
of its citizens escape to the U.S. In 1994, the United States agreed to accept only 20,000 people per year from

1. Who took over as dictator of Cuba in 1959?

A. Fulgencio Batista
B. John F. Kennedy
C. Raul Castro
D. Fidel Castro

2. What type of government did Castro create in Cuba?

A. communist
B. confederacy
C. democratic
D. oligarchy

3. What was one reaction the United States had to Cuba taking over property owned by Americans?
A. The United States threatened a nuclear attack.
B. The United States placed an embargo on Cuban goods.
C. The United States wanted Cuba to trade with other countries.
D. An agreement was reached to limit the number of Cubans entering the United States.

4. Which country helped Castro build Cuba into a communist country?

A. Mexico
B. Soviet Union
C. United States
D. Venezuela

5. What almost caused a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union?
A. Kennedy did not like the leader of the Soviet Union.
B. The Soviet Union wanted to show the Cubans that they were strong friends.
C. Castro allowed the Soviet Union to build a nuclear missile launch complex in Cuba.
D. The United States wanted the sugar cane crop that the Soviet Union was buying from Cuba.
Social Studies 6 March 2011
Mr. Posey, Ms. Traylor

Unit 5 Notes

The North American Free Trade Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement between Canada, the
United States, and Mexico. This agreement was written in 1994. NAFTA’s purpose is to take away
tariffs on items that are traded between these three countries. Leaders in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
believed this would increase trade between the countries and boost their economies. This agreement
created the world’s largest free-trade zone.
However, many people disagreed with NAFTA. Many people in the United States believed
that companies would move to Mexico because of cheaper prices. If companies did this, American
workers would lose their jobs. People in Mexico and Canada also disliked the agreement. They
thought the agreement would encourage people to buy goods from other countries for cheaper prices,
which would hurt local businesses. The effects on the environment were another concern. Some
people believed the increased trading between Mexico and the U.S. would cause an increase in air and
water pollution.

1. A main purpose of NAFTA was to

A. increase trade by creating a large free-trade zone.
B. create tariffs between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
C. decrease the standard of living for some people.
D. keep people in one country from buying goods from the other two countries.

2. Which issue did some people think would be a problem related to NAFTA?
A. increases in immigrants from Mexico to the United States
B. increases in pollution in Mexico and the United States
C. decreases in income to governments because of lower tariffs
D. decreases in the standard of living for the people of the three countries

3. Which problems did many Americans believe would result from NAFTA?
A. American factory workers would lose jobs.
B. The countries would not have a strong central government.
C. More immigrants would come to the United States from Mexico.
D. Rules about trading fairly between different countries would be removed.
Social Studies 6 March 2011
Mr. Posey, Ms. Traylor

Unit 5 Notes

The Zapatista Guerrilla Movement

The Zapatistas are a guerrilla group who try to improve the lives of Mexico’s indigenous
people. In the 1980’s and 90’s, the Zapatistas were known for revolting against Mexico’s government.
In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect. This was an
agreement to allow free trade between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Some people in Mexico
did not like this agreement. They believed this would allow cheaper goods to come into Mexico from
the United States. The farmers in Mexico would not be able to compete with the cheaper food.
On the day NAFTA took effect, the Zapatistas took over small towns in southern Mexico. The
Mexican army was sent to remove the Zapatistas. Fighting between the two groups lasted a few
months. The Zapatistas agreed to stop fighting, but they did not leave the towns.
Agreements between the Zapatistas and the government have not solved the problems the
people have with the government. The Zapatistas have control of some small parts of southern
Mexico. The Zapatistas argue that the indigenous people of Mexico need more help to improve health
care, housing, education, and jobs. The Zapatistas have formed friendships with groups in other
countries that have similar goals.

Important Vocabulary
 indigenous people – the first people known to live in an area
 guerrilla – a soldier who does not fight with the army; Guerrillas usually fight against the
 Zapatistas – a guerrilla group who fought for the rights of Mexico’s indigenous people

Review Questions
1. The Zapatistas did not like NAFTA because they believed it would
A. mean U.S. factories would move to Mexico.
B. force Mexicans to move to the United States.
C. hurt businesses in Canada and the United States.
D. cause poor Mexican farmers to go out of business.
2. Which group do the Zapatistas support?
A. Canadian farmers
B. U.S. factory workers
C. indigenous people of Mexico
D. poor farmers in North America

3. Which is an area of concern for the Zapatistas?

A. acid rain
B. deforestation
C. housing
D. religion
4. What did the Zapatistas do to show they were against NAFTA?
A. attacked government troops in Mexico City
B. took over several small towns in southern Mexico
C. formed friendships with groups in other countries with similar goals
D. worked with the government on agreements to improve the rights of poor Mexicans