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Michael: The soldiers are paid to fight, the rebels aren't.

Hyman: What does that tell you?

Michael: They can win.

In the past I interpreted this as Michael saying the rebels could win because they had a cause they believed in, whereas Batista's soldiers were just mercenaries doing a job — is that anything close to what the filmmakers intended?

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In the past I interpreted this as Michael saying the rebels could win because they had a cause they believed in, where Batista's soldiers were just mercenaries doing a job- is that anything close to what the filmmakers intended?

Exactly

This is precisely the point Michael is making.

People willing to die for a cause (especially freedom as they saw it) are significantly more dangerous than people just getting paid.

Of course, events would unfold that the rebels would get less freedom than they thought under Castro but that does not make them any less committed.

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    Agree and upvote the answer, but the statement that people fighting for a cause are significantly more dangerous than professional soldiers is far from universally true. Training and equipment can be a bigger factor than motivation. And the motivation and courage of paid soldiers may be higher than you think. History is full of examples of committed ideologues getting crushed by professional armies. Cases like Cuba are more of an anomaly. – ruffdove Jan 22 at 1:34
  • Venezuela for one..... – MissouriSpartan Jan 22 at 3:33

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