"" Writer's Wanderings: A Little About Cuba

Monday, November 05, 2018

A Little About Cuba

Our 50th anniversary cruise will take us to Cuba. It was on the bucket list for a while and now is a reality. I thought I should get a little background before we go and I found a timeline that gave a little glimpse into Cuban history.

The timeline started with 1492 (I immediately remembered the rhyme) and Christopher Columbus laying claim to the island for Spain. Apparently that wasn't good enough because the next date is 1511 and says there was a Spanish conquest led by Diego de Velazquez.

The timeline continues on through the slave trade and then Havana being captured by the British in 1762 but returned to Spain the next year.

There were several wars of Independence but I was surprised to see that in 1898 when the US deefeated Spain the island was ceded to the United States.

The US stepped in to help with elections and several other political situations until 1924 when Gerardo Machado established a dictatorship.

Machado was overthrown by Batista in 1933. In the 40s, the US withdrew from its influence in Cuba, Batista retired for a time but then returned in 1952 to establish his regime.

In 1959 Fidel Castro led a guerrilla army of 9,000 into Havana and ousted Batista. With his brother Raul and Che Guevara they begin their leadership of the country.

A US supported invasion by Cuban exiles fails at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and Castro claims a communist state for Cuba. He begins to align the country with the USSR.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the very first major world events that I took real interest in as a young person. I was in awe of President Kennedy. The crisis occurred when Cuba, fearing a US invasion, allowed the USSR to deploy missiles to the island. The standoff was resolved with a compromise. No USSR missiles in Cuba for no US missiles in Turkey. I often wonder what my parents were feeling then. I was too young to understand all the consequences. They'd already seen a war.

With a new socialist constitution in place in 1976, Castro is elected president. Following that for several years, Cuba became involved in some political events in Africa, then over 100,000 Cubans fled to the US.

Soviet military advisers leave Cuba in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR. There follows embargoes and other actions between the US and Cuba with one being an agreement that I didn't remember.
The US agreed to allow 20,000 Cuban refugees into the country and in return Cuba would halt the exodus of refugees.

I do remember the fight over trying to keep young Elian Gonzalez from returning to Cuba after he had fled with his mother to the US. He eventually returned to his father in Cuba.

Of course the more recent history includes easing of travel restrictions to Cuba and the move to establish some diplomatic relations again. Fidel Castro stepped down when his health began to fail and his brother Raul became president. Fidel Castro died in November of 2016.

I'm sure that we will get a lot more interesting facts and history as we attend lectures during our cruise but this was a good refresher for me and I learned some things I didn't know. That's the neat thing about travel. You are always learning new things.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...