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US-Cuba Strife: 7 Key Moments in Troubled Relationship

By    |   Monday, 07 Dec 2015 06:08 PM

The Cold War gripped the world when Fidel Castro led his revolutionaries to power in Cuba in 1959. Although the U.S. initially recognized Castro’s government, his rapidly growing ties with the Soviet Union, the nationalization of U.S.-owned properties, and a tax hike on U.S. imports created a lasting rift between the U.S. and Cuba.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations and instituted an embargo against Cuba, which his successor, John F. Kennedy eventually made permanent.

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The years since the revolution have created a troubled, yet complex, relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. Here are seven key moments:

1. Fidel Castro leads revolutionary forces to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Castro seizes power.

2. All U.S. businesses in Cuba are nationalized leading to Eisenhower’s decision to break off diplomatic relations with Havana and impose a trade embargo in 1960.

3. Kennedy sends CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles to Cuba in order to overthrow Fidel Castro in the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Cuban armed forces defeat the exiles within three days. Between 1961 and 1963, at least five plans were drawn up to kill Castro.

4. Kennedy imposes a complete economic embargo, restricting travel and trade, in February of 1962.

5. In October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis plunged the world to the brink of nuclear war. A U.S. spy place discovered Soviet missiles in Cuba, leading to a 13-day showdown that included a U.S. Naval blockade of Cuba to block further arms shipments.

Kennedy rejected the option to attack Cuba and the option to let the missiles stand. Instead, he told Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that the U.S. would not attack Cuba if the missiles were removed, while privately telling him that Cuba would be attacked within 24 hours if the offer was rejected. Kennedy also secretly said he would remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. Khrushchev accepted the deal at the last minute.

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6. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the Cuban Adjustment Act in 1966, which allows anyone who flees Cuba for the U.S. to pursue citizenship a year later.

7. For five months in 1980, because of intense economic pressure from a spike in oil prices, the Mariel Boat Lift results in mass emigration of about 125,000 people from Cuba to the U.S. President Jimmy Carter dubs the vessels used in the massive exodus “the Freedom Flotilla.”

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The years since the Cuban revolution have created a troubled, yet complex, relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. Here are seven key moments.
us, cuba, moments, troubled, relationship
Monday, 07 Dec 2015 06:08 PM
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