It is now twenty years since the hated Cuban dictator Batista went into exile. As he did so the small army led by Fidel Castro finally took control of Havana, the capital city, after years of rural guerrilla warfare. This event, coupled with a series of economic and social reforms, is widely regarded as a revolution; it was no such thing. The new rulers nationalised much of the economy, set-up a one-party system, established diplomatic, economic and military ties with the Soviet bloc and to an increasing extent adapted their radical nationalism to a tropical version of Bolshevism. Not only was it described as a 'communist state' by the horrified defenders of United States' imperial interests, but also by young leftists elated by an initially unbureaucratic, indeed light-hearted and popular, new system that contrasted favourably with the familiar Soviet pattern. What really happened and why the misrepresentation?