A Caribbean island only about 90 miles south of the southern tip of Florida, Cuba (officially the República de Cuba) made a lot of Americans nervous (and still does) by being a Communist power so close to us. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion are examples of that nervousness.

A minor Roman deity that assisted the Roman child in its transition from a cradle to a bed. They usually had a minor deity for just about anything, somewhat like Christian saints, I would say...

Cuba is quite possibly the best developing nation in the world in which to live, having extensive public medical and education facilities. Sure it does have some problems with civil liberties, but then again no one has ever been arrested for driving while black in Cuba.

It is currently under the relatively benign leadership of Fidel Castro. When you compare the regimes of Castro to the American supported Batista, you find that Castro is a puppy dog compared to Batista's rabid wolf.

This is on a personal note. It is my belief that were it not for the American trade embargo on Cuba, the Cuban economy would be healthy, and there would be no Cuban refugees. (Can someone explain why the US won't even talk to Fidel, yet was willing to sell arms, including phosphorus rockets, to the Government of Honduras during the 1980s. A time when the Honduran military slaughtered thousands of men, women, and children.)

Cuba, one of Spain’s earliest and one of its last possessions in the New World, continued to be an object of American desire. In the early 1850s a crisis arose over expeditions launched against Cuba from American soil. Spanish authorities retaliated against those provocations by harassing American ships. In 1854 the Cuban crisis expired in one final outburst of braggadocio, the Ostend Manifesto. That year the Pierce administration instructed Pierre Soulé, the American minister in Madrid, to offer $130 million for Cuba, which Spain peremptorily spurned. Soulé then joined the American ministers to France and Britain in drafting the Ostend Manifesto. It declared that if Spain, “actuated by stubborn pride and a false sense of honor refused to sell,” then the United States must ask itself, “does Cuba, in the possession of Spain, seriously endanger our internal peace and existence of our cherished Union?” If so, “then, by every law, human, and divine, we shall be justified in wresting it from Spain…” Publication of the supposedly confidential dispatch left the administration no choice but to disavow what northern opinion widely regarded as a “slaveholder’ plot”.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959: summary of preceding events.

In 1952, the Cuban government was to hold elections, but instead was swept over by a military coup which placed Fulgencio Batista in dictatorial power.

Fidel Castro was a young lawyer at the time, running for Congress and a likely winner in his district of Havana. He objected to the coup and publicly denounced it. He then organised a group of approximately 160 rebels and on July 26, 1953, led an attack of the Moncada military barracks of Santiago de Cuba (which is located on the southern coast in Orient province). The attack failed and approxiamtely half the rebels were caught and executed without trial, by the government. Castro and approximately 30 others were imprisoned and the motivation for the July 26 Movement was thus born.

Less than two years later, due in part to public pressure and to a feeling of political stability by Batista, the prisoners were released on a general amnesty. Castro again publicly denounced the dictatorship, and then left the country for Mexico. There he obtained weapons and began training a group of rebel supporters. On December 2, 1956, 82 rebels, including Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Castro, set sail for Cuba in a 50 ft passenger yacht, across the Gulf of Mexico. The journey took them 7 days, and due to weather conditions, they arrived slightly off course. Before landing, they were spotted by fighter planes and a naval ship, and reinforcements were sent in to strafe the rebels. And so, the first day back on Cuban soil, was for the rebels, a desperate struggle to reach shore and take cover in the trees. This they did.

For two years the Sierra rebels, as they came to be known due to their location in the Sierra Maestra, fought along with urban factions of their July 26 Movement, and eventually overthrew the Batista dictatorship. Castro was instated as Prime Minister. Within a few months, most wealthy Cubans, especially those with American investment interests, had fled the country. Castro's government began to alter the Cuban landscape in economic, education, health, and agrarian reforms.

Forty-three years later, Castro and an altered form of his revolutionary government, is still in power.

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