THIS WRITER DOES NOT ENDORSE OR PROMOTE THE CUBAN COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT SPONSORED ADS THAT ARE INSERTED AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE FROM TIME TO TIME
"TO GAZE IDLY AT A CRIME IS TO COMMIT IT."
"Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand."
Thank you José Martí, you were a visionary who saw what 'socialism' would bring to any nation that toyed with that evil idea. You knew that system well, and the ones that promoted it also. Hard to believe you knew its true nature well over 110 years ago. -
"My duties to Patria and to my own political convictions are above all human effort;
for these I shall reach the pedestal of freedom or I shall perish fighting for the redemption of that land. . ."
Antonio Maceo Grajales
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Before we proceed with this Chronology, I believe a bit of biographical background of one of the most influential figures in the war against Spanish oppression is in order.
Antonio de la Caridad Maceo is one of five children born to Marcos Maceo and Mariana Grajales. Marcos emigrated to Cuba from Venezuela. Mariana was a free African slave born in Santiago de Cuba, in the Oriente Province June 26 1808. Her common law union to Marcos was her second one. Mariana Grajales was widowed when she met Marcos Maceo and had four children from her previous spouse, bringing the total of Mariana's offspring to nine children.
Industrious Marcos had a small agricultural business. The business prospered economically and the family was able to purchase several farms in Santiago. Unlike the majority of Afro-Cubans, the Maceo family was part of the rural middle class of the Oriente province. Antonio was educated at home, by three teachers. Militarily trained by Máximo Gómez, Antonio's military strategy and prowess won him the nickname of "The Bronze Titán". General Antonio Maceo lived to see the end of slavery in Cuba in 1886, but unfortunately he did not live to see the end of Cuba's domination by Spain, which finally occurred in 1898, two years after his death. The priceless contribution of the Maceo family to the cause of Cuba's freedom is exemplary. Mariana Grajales contribution to Cuba's Freedom wasn't limited to send her sons to battle the Spanish oppressor, she also took to the hills herself when the need to do so arose.
At the age of 16, he began working, transporting and marketing fruits and tobacco by mule. When he was 19 years old, he became a member of the Masonic Lodge of Santiago and entered the inner revolutionary circle against Spain. At the age of 21, Antonio married María Magdalena Cabrales Fernández, with whom he had a daughter, María de la Caridad Maceo.
Mariana was a role model to the brave Cuban women who followed in her footsteps to the battlefield for the liberation of Cuba and the abolition of slavery.
Antonio de la Caridad Maceo is one of five children born to Marcos Maceo and Mariana Grajales. Marcos emigrated to Cuba from Venezuela. Mariana was a free African slave born in Santiago de Cuba, in the Oriente Province June 26 1808. Her common law union to Marcos was her second one. Mariana Grajales was widowed when she met Marcos Maceo and had four children from her previous spouse, bringing the total of Mariana's offspring to nine children.
Industrious Marcos had a small agricultural business. The business prospered economically and the family was able to purchase several farms in Santiago. Unlike the majority of Afro-Cubans, the Maceo family was part of the rural middle class of the Oriente province. Antonio was educated at home, by three teachers.
Militarily trained by Máximo Gómez, Antonio's military strategy and prowess won him the nickname of "The Bronze Titán". General Antonio Maceo lived to see the end of slavery in Cuba in 1886, but unfortunately he did not live to see the end of Cuba's domination by Spain, which finally occurred in 1898, two years after his death.
The priceless contribution of the Maceo family to the cause of Cuba's freedom is exemplary. Mariana Grajales contribution to Cuba's Freedom wasn't limited to send her sons to battle the Spanish oppressor, she also took to the hills herself when the need to do so arose.
By Jorge Benitez Sagol
Author of "DEAR UNCLE SAM"
The history of the Cuban people changed dramatically on Saturday, April 22, 2000. On that fateful day in Miami, the government of the United States of America, the wealthiest and most powerful country on Earth, accomplished what 41 years of Cuban dictatorship could not, it taught us, the Cuban American exile community, to stand up for ourselves. Whatever illusions we held about our relationship to this country were shattered in a few minutes; and at that moment, an entire generation, raised or even born in exile, realized the futility of assimilation and became fully Cuban, and Latin American. The kidnapping of Elián González by agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) goes beyond a simple and superficial act of collaboration between an unprincipled American president and a fascist regime. In fact, no conspiracy theory can explain the profound hatred which numerous American politicians, intellectuals and journalists have expressed toward Cuban Americans over the past weeks. It would require a book to fully analyze such anti-Cuban sentiments.-
October 27, 1492 - Christopher Columbus discovers Cuba and claims the island for Spain. Cuba is quickly colonized and the Cuban native population is decimated to almost the point of extinction. In the period that follows, the Spaniards turn to Western Africa in search of slaves to replace the dwindling native population. Most of the "imported" Western African human beings are descendents from the ancient Yoruba Empire, from the general area of what today is known as Nigeria, Benin (formerly known as Dahomey) and Togo. Close to 50% of them perish in the bowels of the slave trader ships while in transit to the island. The ones who survive the trip are "allowed" to keep their identities and religious practices for a brief period.
After being "Christianized" by their masters, their religious rites continue to be observed in secret. They cleverly use Catholic symbols and statues to represent their Deities. The Yoruban OCHUN was worshipped through Our Lady Of Charity, YEMAYA through Our Lady Of Regla, CHANGO through St. Barbara, OYA through St. Therese of Lissieux, BABALU AYE through St. Lazarus, OBBATALA through Our Lady Of Mercy and so on. Through this clever process Spaniards are fooled into believing their slaves had truly "converted" to Catholicism and were even permitted to use basic hand made african instruments to play their ritual music in honor of the Catholic "saints" they were "worshipping". These are the roots of what later on would become known as "Santeria" (the adoration and worship of saints is a good term to translate this Spanish word to English) in Cuba. Santeria is a religion that permeated all aspects of Cuban life and continues to do so to this day in the island as well as wherever you may find Cuban expatriates including well over two hundred thousand here in the USA alone. Even Castro is rumored to be a practitioner of Santeria.
Spaniards attracted by the mild Cuban climate and beautiful landscape were also moving to the Caribbean island in large amounts. Some of their offspring were considered a mixed race since the salve masters were using female African slaves to satisfy their sexual urges. Some of these are referred to as "mulatos or morenos", though they were still considered to be slaves.
By the way, mulato is the correct Cuban spelling for this word. Morenos are a bit lighter in complexion than mulatos. In some cases they have green or blue eyes, the hair texture is rather fine, their bodies well proportioned and their facial features very beautiful.
In time some of the Spanish white offspring born in Cuba began to resent the treatment of Cuba by Spain’s monarchy and a slow growing Anti-Spanish movement is born. This will be a period of extreme harsh treatment of the Cuban population at large by the brutal Spanish oppressors. The fact that most of these revolutionaries are direct descendents of the Spanish conquerors (both maternal as well as paternal) will not deter the monarchy in Spain from ruling the island and its population with an iron fist. The year 1868 marks the beginning of Cuba's struggle for freedom, a struggle that continues to this day.
October 10, 1868 - Cuba's First War of Independence, known as The Ten Year War, begins when plantation owner Carlos Manuel de Cespedes frees and arms his slaves and, accompanied by 37 other planters, proclaims the Independence of Cuba. Two days later the brothers Antonio and Jose Maceo join the group and some Dominican exiles including Maximo Gomez who helps train the insurgents.
April 10, 1869 - As the rebels continue their fight against Spain, they call a Constituent Assembly in Guaimaro where they prepare the first Constitution of the Republic of Cuba and elect Carlos Manuel de Cespedes as their first President.
September 26, 1872 - Colombian Foreign Minister Don Gil Columje proposes a plan to achieve Cuban Independence and the Abolition Of Slavery. The plan, which would be carried out under the leadership of the United States, calls for the reimbursement to Spain for the loss of its colony with money raised from the other Latin American Republics. The Latin American governments agree but U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant vehemently rejects the proposal as North American big business interests have other plans for Cuba. True freedom for the Cuban population is not part of their plans, though.
March 22, 1873 - Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, president of the Republic in rebellion against Spain, asks the United States to support Colombia's plan. The U.S. government withholds its support again. The U.S. government does not offer its cooperation when the plan is revitalized the following year.
November 1875 - As domestic pressure grows, U.S. Secretary of State Hamilton Fish proposes that the European countries pressure Spain to end the fighting in Cuba.
February 8, 1878 - A peace agreement is proposed by Spanish General Arsenio Martinez Campos and it is accepted by the majority of the House of Representatives, the official body of the Spanish ruled Republic of Cuba in Arms.
February 10, 1878 - The Zanjon Pact formalizes the agreement and is signed against the opposition of rebel leaders including General Antonio Maceo, because it neither provides Independence for Cuba nor abolishes slavery.
March 15, 1878 - General Maceo and General Martinez Campos meet at Mangos de Baragua where Maceo explains the rebel's opposition to the Treaty. This meeting becomes known as the Protest of Baragua.
March 23, 1878 - After an eight-day truce between General Maceo and General Martinez, the fight resumes.
May 1878 - The remaining rebel forces surrender marking the official end to The Ten Year War.
October 7, 1886 - Slavery is abolished in Cuba by Royal Decree because economic conditions make it more profitable to free the slaves and hire them to work by day, thus avoiding the expense of year round support.
1892 - José Martí, a Cuban writer in exile for his support of Cuban Independence, spends two years organizing Cubans both inside and outside the island to work for Cuba's Independence through his newly formed Cuban Revolutionary Party. This is the same Party that will be outlawed by Fidel Castro when he takes over the reins of Government in Cuba January 1st of 1959.
1895 - By the beginning of the year U.S. Investments in Cuba have mushroomed to well over $50 million USD. Take note of this fact as it alone will play a pivotal role in the decision making process in Washington for many decades to come.
February 24, 1895 - The Cuban Revolutionary Party declares the beginning of The Second War for Cuban Independence.
March 31, 1895 - Antonio and José Maceo land in eastern Cuba from Santo Domingo.
April 11, 1895 - José Martí and Maximo Gomez land in eastern Cuba from Costa Rica.
May 19, 1895 - José Martí is killed in battle at Dos Rios in eastern Cuba.
July 5, 1896 - José Maceo is killed at the battle of Loma del Gato.
December 7, 1896 - Antonio Maceo (The Bronze Titan) is killed at the battle of Punta Brava in Western Cuba (Havana Province).
November 1897 - Spain's Queen Regent offers autonomy to Cuba, but both the insurgents and the Cuban loyalists reject the offer. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt urges President William McKinley to intervene.
December 1897 - As the insurgents are close to achieving success, President McKinley still refuses to recognize Independence for Cuba and its people.
January 1898 - After several staged violent pro-Spanish demonstrations have occurred in Havana, the United States citing increased "danger" to U.S. citizens living in Cuba, sends the battleship Maine on a "friendly" visit to Cuba.
February 15, 1898 - The battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor under very mysterious circumstances, killing 260 officers and crew. The United States media led by "yellow journalist" William Randolph Hearst "blames" Spain and manufactures the cry "Remember the Maine."
April 10, 1898 - Spain, not wanting a conflict with the United States, orders a unilateral suspension of hostilities and sends a message to Washington stating that Cuba will be granted autonomy. The U.S. can indicate the terms of an armistice and the matter of the Maine will be submitted to arbitration. This message is ignored by the McKinley administration. As we shall see further down this Chronology, the reasons for Cuba's woes to this day rest at President William McKinley administration's doorstep.
April 11, 1898 - President McKinley sends a message to Congress asking for authority to intervene militarily in Cuba. The message states that, "The only hope of relief and repose from a condition that can no longer be endured is the enforced 'pacification' of Cuba." The term 'pacification' will be used by many subsequent US administrations when their desire to intervene in other nation's internal affairs needs justification.
April 20, 1898 - Congress passes the "Teller Amendment" affirming that the United States has no "intentions to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said Island except for the pacification thereof." Five days later the U.S. declares war on Spain and the Spanish American War begins.
August 12, 1898 - Spain and the United States sign an armistice agreement marking the end of the four-month war.
December 10, 1898 - The United States and Spain sign the "Treaty of Paris" ending Spain's four centuries of domination over Cuba. Although not a single representative from the Cuban Insurgent side is present at the treaty signing, the treaty officially grants Cuba its "independence" and declares the country to be a "free" and "independent" nation.
January 1, 1899 - The United States installs a military government in "free" Cuba under General John R. Brooke who becomes its first U.S. "military governor".
December 23, 1899 - General Leonard Wood, a seasoned veteran of the vile U.S. repressive campaigns against the Native American population, replaces General Brooke as "military governor".
November 1900 - A Cuban Constitutional Convention is called and a Constitution is drawn up modeled after the U.S. Constitution.
March 2, 1901 - The U.S. Congress passes the Platt Amendment limiting the rights of "free" Cuba to conduct its own foreign policy and granting the United States the right to intervene in Cuba for "the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberties." The Amendment also grants the United States the right to establish coaling and naval bases on Cuban territory which leads to a treaty signed on July 2, 1903 between the United States and Cuba permitting the establishment of a U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.
March 1901 - The Platt Amendment is presented to the delegates of Cuba's Constitutional Convention who are angered by the terms of the Amendment stating that Cuba's long sought Independence would be threatened by U.S. demands that would withhold Cuba's sovereignty. Unfortunately, the protests and objections ultimately succumbed to Cuba's desire to end the U.S. military presence on the island and the delegates "conceded" to include the Platt Amendment as an appendix to Cuba's 1901 Constitution.
1901 Elections - General Leonard Wood "oversees" the “democratic elections” for national offices in Cuba; however some classes of Cubans are excluded from voting. All black Cubans, mulatos, females and those having a net worth under $250 (USD) are prohibited from voting. Unless you are a white Cuban having $250 in U.S. currency to your name, you won't be able to vote. $250 USD in 1901 Cuba would be like asking every voter in the year 2000 to have ONE MILLION DOLLARS in assets before they are allowed to vote. As a direct consequence of this requirement the vast majority of white Cubans are excluded from this "election", not to mention all females, blacks, mulatos and the handful of Native Cubans still around. Only a handful of wealthy white Cubans vote Don Tomas Estrada Palma as Cuba's first "elected President". The bloody comedy of errors that will culminate with the Castro takeover of Cuba in 1959 now commences.
May 20, 1902 - President-elect Tomas Estrada Palma is sworn in as Cuba's first president and the three year U.S. military presence apparently "ends".
May 23, 1902 - The Platt Amendment is incorporated into the "Permanent Treaty" signed by the United States and Cuba. (The Platt Amendment will be abrogated in 1934 when Colonel Fulgencio Batista emerges as the strongman in control of Cuba's government)
From its earliest days of Independence, Cuba has been plagued with corrupt government leaders. Using the strength of military power and U.S. Special Interests backing, these men manipulate the political process to install themselves as presidents or to become the strongmen behind a president.
1906 to 1917 - Cuba elects three presidents, and during this same period on three separate occasions the United States, under the "provisions" of the Platt amendment, sends troops and ships to Cuba to "quell" internal uprisings led by groups attempting to overthrow the government accusing their leaders of corruption and ruthless practices against Cuban citizens.
1921 to 1932 - Cuba elects two new presidents. During these thirteen years insurrections continue. These are led by various Cuban groups opposed to the ongoing corrupted practices of government officials in close collaboration with the U.S. administrations and North American businesses with massive financial investments in Cuba.
August 12, 1933 - With the country on the verge of revolution, Cuban president Machado, facing the threat of a general strike and the defection of his military resigns from office. With the approval of the United States a new President, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, is "appointed" to that office.
September 4 & 5, 1933 - The "Sergeant's Revolt," led by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista Zaldivar overthrows the new Cuban president and a five man junta takes over power. The United States fearing the group has "communistic" ideas threatens military intervention and a new president is appointed on September 10. The U. S. does not officially recognize this new government either.
January 15, 1934 - Batista, now a colonel, overthrows the president and within three days systematically appoints and replaces three presidents with the last one receiving U.S. approval.
May 29, 1934 - With Colonel Batista firmly in charge of the government, Cuba and the United States sign the "Treaty on Relations", which abrogates the "Permanent Treaty" of 1903 and the Platt Amendment. The new treaty continues to permit the United States to lease the site of their Naval Base at Guantanamo.
In 1936 Colonel Batista becomes General Batista and continues to function as the strongman behind the appointment or "election" of the next three Cuban presidents.
In 1940 General Batista is "elected" as Cuba's fourteenth president.
In 1943 President Batista legalizes the communist party which was formed in Cuba in 1925.
In 1944 President Batista's choice for succeeding him, as president is defeated and Batista goes into self-imposed exile. During the next four years U.S. organized crime bosses gain a foothold in Cuba through gambling, drug trafficking and prostitution. These businesses will operate with impunity for over fifteen years until the Castro government confiscates all their properties in 1959.
In 1948 A new president is elected and Batista is elected to the Cuban Senate in a campaign that he runs from Florida.
March 1952 - Fidel Castro, a law school graduate in 1950, runs for Congress as a candidate of the Orthodox Party.
March 10, 1952 - Batista again runs for president however realizing that he will not win he stages a successful coup. Upon ascending to power the elections are cancelled, the Constitution suspended and Batista becomes Cuba's dictator. Within days the Truman Administration officially recognizes his government and begins sending military and economic aid. Batista rules Cuba using brute force to suppress his opposition and is repeatedly accused of torturing and killing suspected rebels and their sympathizers. As Batista increases the use of force to maintain order and control, organized insurrections become more frequent and revolutionary groups pop up all over the country. In response Batista initiates merciless bombing campaigns on suspected rebel strongholds indiscriminately killing men, women, and children.
July 26, 1953 - Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and a group of armed men attack the Moncada Army Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Seventy are killed and Fidel and Raul Castro are captured and imprisoned. The Catholic Church Hierarchy is advised of a plot by Batista’s government to poison Castro while he is in prison. Their powerful influence in Cuba’s politics intervenes thus thwarting the government plans to eliminate Castro.
October 16, 1953 - Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and the other survivors are brought to a secret trial where Castro states his defense as "History Will Absolve Me." During the trial he describes the type of society he would like to create, keep and capitalize. Known as the Moncada Program, achieving this model society becomes the basic program and goal of the July 26 Movement and the Cuban Revolution.
May 15, 1955 - As public sentiment builds for the revolutionary movement, General Batista releases Fidel Castro and his men who are exiled to Mexico where they begin to organize a return to Cuba to launch their revolution.
December 2, 1956 - Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and seventy-nine other men arrive in Oriente Province in eastern Cuba aboard the cabin cruiser Granma. All but twelve of the guerrillas are killed in early fighting. Castro and the survivors join with others fighting Batista and establish a base in the Sierra Maestra Mountains in the Oriente Province.
By now Castro has been influenced by Guevara’s marxist-lenininst beliefs and Castro knows the only way to absolute power in Cuba will be by insurrection and a communist dictatorship. These thoughts are to be a well kept secret between Guevara, Fidel and Raul Castro if they are to succeed in their quest for total domination of Cuba and its resources.
March 13, 1957 - Cuban students attack the Presidential Palace in an attempt to assassinate General Batista. The plot fails miserably and it provokes a blood bath of unparalleled proportions in Havana.
July 15, 1957 - Earl T. Smith arrives in Cuba as the new U.S. Ambassador.
July 30, 1957 - U.S. Ambassador Smith, who has been supportive of the Batista regime, now calls the violence excessive after he observes Batista's police beat up women at the funeral of slain suspected revolutionaries.
March 14, 1958 - General Batista continues his reign of torture and killing of suspected rebels and their sympathizers, and his bombing raids on villages in the Sierra Maestra mountains. The Eisenhower Administration under increasing pressure to withdraw their support from Batista, declares a Cuban arms embargo against the protest of Ambassador Smith.
November 1958 - In an effort to maintain government stability, Ambassador Smith suggests that a free election be held in Cuba in the hope that it would produce an alternative to both Castro and Batista. However Batista's candidate wins an election which Ambassador Smith "believes" to have been rigged.
December 9, 1958 - William D. Pawley, an emissary from the Eisenhower Administration, meets secretly with General Batista to try and persuade him to leave office and accept exile in Florida. The "emissary" proposes that the government be left in charge of a U.S.
"approved" junta. Batista refuses the offer.
Three weeks later he is forced to flee Cuba as the Eisenhower administration threatens to use the U.S. Marines to “pacify” Cuba once again. In the meantime, the forces led by Fidel Castro take over the government before the Eisenhower administration has a chance to send the Marines in.
January 1, 1959 - General Batista and some of his cohorts board a plane at 2:30 a.m. and flee to the Dominican Republic. Most of Batista's government upper echelon are left behind and are not aware the tyrant has fled the country until it is too late for them to leave Cuba. They all will be "tried" and summarily executed by Castro's forces once they reach Havana. While many of these men are guilty of unspeakable crimes against the Cuban people, some are not. These men will face Castro's merciless firing squads also.
January 2, 1959 - Castro installs Manuel Urrutia as President and Jose Miro Cardona as Prime Minister. The United States "recognizes" the new government, but soon begins planning its overthrow.
January 8, 1959 - Castro marches from the eastern provinces across Cuba into Havana and with this event begins the descent of Cuba and its people in to the darkest period of Cuban History. Please, take notice that it "took" Castro eight days to arrive in Havana. He was suspicious of the fact that Batista had "unexpectedly" left the country when his forces were nowhere near defeat. Castro was not aware the Eisenhower administration had been manipulating the situation behind the scenes all along.
February 7, 1959 - Castro’s government passes the new Fundamental Law of the Republic which modifies and reinstates the 1940 Constitution, suspended by General Batista after his coup in 1952.
February 13, 1959 - Prime Minister Miro Cardona "resigns" and Fidel Castro "assumes" that office opening the door for Castro’s complete takeover of Cuba.
March 3, 1959 - The “communization” of the island begins when the Cuban government “nationalizes” the Cuban Telephone Company, an affiliate of ITT. This is the first one of many more so called nationalizations to come. The die has been cast, Cuba will be ruled by a communist tyrant.
April 15, 1959 - Fidel Castro unofficially visits the United States and meets with Vice President Richard Nixon and U.N. officials. The meeting with Nixon does not go well and upon his return to Cuba he adopts the first Agrarian Reform Law, putting a limit on private land holdings with the Government expropriating the remainder. The government offers compensation to the former owners based on the property's current tax assessment rate, a rate that has not been adjusted in over 30 years!
July 16, 1959 - President Urrutia resigns and Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado becomes the country's 19th president since Cuba received its "Independence" in 1898.
January 1960 - Cuba expropriates 70,000 acres of property owned by U.S. sugar companies which includes 35,000 acres of pasture and forest land owned by United Fruit, (now United and Chiquita Brands). United Brands owns an additional 235,000 acres of land in Cuba and several hundred thousand acres in Guatemala. In 1954 when the government of Guatemala threatened to expropriate all of United Fruit's land holdings in that country, the United States orchestrated a successful effort to overthrow the Arbenz government thus preventing a communist regime from taking foothold in the American continent.
January 29, 1960 - President Eisenhower seeks congressional authority to cut off Cuba's sugar quota. This is the miscalculation Castro has been seeking all along in order to forge ahead with his dictatorial ideas.
June 6, 1960 - Castro requests that two U.S. oil refineries, Texaco and Esso, and one British refinery, Shell process a shipment of Russian crude oil. The companies refuse and on June 28 Castro orders the refineries nationalized.
July 5, 1960 - Castro orders the nationalization of all U.S. business and commercial properties in Cuba.
July 6, 1960 - President Eisenhower, with the authorization of Congress, cancels Cuba's sugar quota giving Castro the excuse he needed to fool the Cuban people into believing he had Cuba’s best interests at heart.
August 6, 1960 – As expected, Castro’s response to this act is to nationalize all U.S. owned industrial and agrarian enterprises.
September 17, 1960 - Castro nationalizes all U.S. banks including First National City Bank of New York, First National Bank of Boston, and Chase Manhattan Bank.
September 18, 1960 - Fidel Castro flies to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.
October 14, 1960 - Castro's "Urban Reform Law" goes into effect nationalizing all commercially owned real estate and ending landlord ownership of housing for profit. The Castro government becomes the de-facto Landlord of all of Cuba. Now tenants will be making payments to the government instead of the owners of the property where they reside.
October 19, 1960 - The Eisenhower Administration begins employing unilateral sanctions against Cuba by first imposing a partial embargo, which becomes a total embargo 16 months later under President John F. Kennedy.
October 24, 1960 - In response to the U.S. declaration on October 19 that it will impose an embargo, Castro announces that it will nationalize all remaining U.S. properties on the island.
January 20, 1961 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.
April 9, 1961 - A federal Grand Jury in Miami indicts Rolando Masferrer for an abortive invasion of Cuba on October 4, 1960. This alleged attack on Cuba is in violation of the Neutrality Act that forbids the launching of any military expedition from U.S. territory against any nation with which the United States is at peace. The Kennedy Administration is on record of opposing pro-Batista exiles like Masferrer while encouraging other anti-Castro groups. The New York Times reports that this indictment raises the serious question of whether the Neutrality Act may be selectively enforced.
April 16, 1961 - Prime Minister Castro, for the first time, defines the 1959 Cuban Revolution as socialist by saying, "...we have made a revolution, a socialist revolution, right here under the very nose of the United States."
April 17, 1961 - The CIA backed Bay of Pigs invasion commences with over 1200 Cuban exiles landing on the southwest shore of the island. After 72 hours of fighting the Cuban forces defeat the exiles, which had been promised by the Kennedy administration a supportive "massive" air campaign. The air campaign never materialized and the sheer numbers of Castro’s Army overwhelmed the invading contingent. This one-sided battle result in 80 exiles being killed and 1122 being captured. Several of the captured exiles are accused of crimes of brutality while working for the Batista government, and were soon executed. The remaining exiles are imprisoned until most are released in December 1962. According to Castro's propaganda machinery, many of the exiles engaged in the fighting had owned property in Cuba prior to the 1959 Revolution. Based on Castro's own press releases, their "holdings" included 914,859 acres of land, 9,666 houses, 70 factories, 5 mines, 2 banks, and 10 sugar mills. It is easy to realize the way Castro manipulated the truth in order to justify what was yet to come. If these "counterrevolutionaries" were as wealthy as Castro portrayed them to be, why didn't they "hire" an army of mercenaries to fight Castro instead of exposing themselves to this dangerous mission?
December 2, 1961 - Prime Minister Castro states that "I am a Marxist-Leninist and I shall be a Marxist-Leninist 'till the end of my life."
February 7, 1962 - President Kennedy expands the Cuban embargo to a total embargo except for the non-subsidized sale of food and medicines.
March 23, 1962 - The U.S. extends the trade embargo to include all imports of all goods made from Cuban materials or containing any Cuban materials, even if made in other countries.
October 22, 1962 - President Kennedy announces to the world that the Soviet Union has deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba. This incident brings the world to the brink of nuclear war. Five days later the Cuban Missile Crisis is resolved with the Soviet Union agreeing to remove it missiles from Cuba and the U.S. agreeing not to invade Cuba and to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. However the incident results in cementing the relationship between the Soviet Union and Cuba and lasts nearly 30 years injecting over $100 billion of Soviet aid and loans into Cuba.
December 24, 1962 - The U.S. exchanges $53 million of medicines and baby food for 1113 exiles captured in the "Bay of Pigs" invasion. Several exiles remain imprisoned in Cuba until the last prisoner is released in 1986.
November 17, 1963 - Five days before he is assassinated President Kennedy has a meeting with French journalist Jean Daniel, who he asks to tell Fidel Castro that he is now ready to negotiate normal relations between the two nations and drop the embargo. According to former Press Secretary Pierre Salinger in a press interview many years later he stated the following, "If Kennedy had lived I am confident that he would have negotiated that agreement and dropped the embargo because he was upset with the way the Soviet Union was playing a strong role in Cuba and Latin America. Cuba would be a different country now and Castro would not be in power any more."
November 22, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States.
September 28, 1965 - Castro announces that all Cubans who wish to leave the island for the United States can depart from the port of Camarioca. During the 8-year exodus over 200,000 Cubans come to the United States.
May 5, 1966 - The U.S. expands the embargo as Congress passes the Food For Peace Act which outlaws food shipments to any country that sells or ships strategic or non-strategic goods to Cuba except for certain circumstances in which the President may allow shipments of medical supplies and non-strategic goods.
November 2, 1966 - President Johnson signs into law the Cuban Adjustment Act, which exempts Cubans from general U.S. immigration laws. The Act permits any Cuban who has reached U.S. territory since January 1, 1959 to be eligible for permanent residency after residing in the United States for two years. This enables 123,000 Cubans to immediately apply for permanent resident status.
November 12, 1966 - President Johnson signs the Food For Peace Act but says that there are provisions in the Act that cause him concern especially the preclusion of food aid to countries that trade with Cuba and North Vietnam. He states that he opposes trade with either country but believes that the President should have the "flexibility to use food aid to further the full range of our important national objectives". In other words, starve the population in order to bring down both communist governments. Really smart strategy, isn't it?
From 1966 on the comedy has followed its insane course. Castro keeps executing Cuban citizens who do not agree with his views (sounds like Hitler's methods, doesn't it?), the embargo is still being enforced, though the U.S. is the only nation in the entire world not doing business with Cuba's government, yet the Cuban population, those not in high places in government (national as well as local level) continues to starve to death. The embargo is been used by Castro as a tool to fool the Cuban people into believing their problems are caused by said embargo while he is amassing a vast amount of wealth at their expense.
February 2000 - Castro has stashed away in excess of $14.6 billion USD in a Swiss Bank account while the country's infrastructure continues to crumble. He tells the Cuban population the U.S.A. is to blame for all the country’s woes and most of them believe him since they have no way of knowing they are been lied to. When will all this end? Not as long as big business interests are conducting business with him as usual.
The Cuban people have always come out of these "negotiations" holding the short end of the stick. It has made absolutely no difference in the past whether the U.S. Government has been in the hands of the Democrats or the Republicans, we have always been treated like "second class citizens" in our own Country by our corrupt "leaders", the U.S. Corporations that have supported and dealt with them while at the same time "profiting" from their mutual "cooperation" at our expense. U.S. government actions past and present have taught us a very bitter lesson.
I am neither a leftist bleeding heart liberal nor a rabid, reactionary right wing republican; both parties are corrupted to their core and beyond any hope for redemption. Both North American political parties influence have had nefarious and detrimental effects on Cuba and its noble people over the past 130 plus years. I am and have always been an independent thinker and as such I vote accordingly. I've been able to see fault where there was fault in the past, I can see fault in the present and I hope I will still be able to do so in the future. The politicians dirty actions always manage to shine through the thickest of fogs the spinmasters may try to use to confuse our minds.
Big Business Interests in the island have exploited us and helped Cuba's rulers oppress its citizens in the past, all with the help of Uncle Sam's "foreign policy" toward the island nation. Once again they are up to their same old tricks. Once again, Cuban History is repeating itself. North American Big Business is now "brown nosing" Castro and his thugs, as they stand to reap the benefits of slave labor in Cuba; exactly the same thing they have been doing to Chinese citizens since Nixon's visit to that slave nation. It's about time someone stood up and told the truth. The American citizenry needs to be made aware of the shenanigans being perpetrated abroad by North American Big Businesses with the blessing of U.S. Governments. Big Business and its "policies" overseas are hurting more than benefiting the noble North American citizenry. It is causing the exploited and oppressed people of the world to erroneously despise & hate Americans and everything that North America stands for.
We Cubans are being portrayed as "criminals" by both Castro & the "yellow" U.S. press. We should not be surprised by this fact since both Castro and Big Business stand to profit from the endless suffering of the Cuban people.
As long as Big Business is making money abroad they will stop at nothing, even if it means helping dictators stay in power while the American "press" will report what is told to broadcast and or print. They never had nor will they ever care about the suffering their greed is causing our people. The only thing they are concerned with is the almighty dollar, period.
All that we Cubans, as well as the rest of Latin Americans and Haitians desire is to be treated with decency, dignity and honesty, nothing more. Is this too much to ask of the U.S. Government? I would think not.
In closing I must clear the air about a fallacy some in North America believe to be a true fact. Many of you have asked why is it that we Cubans "fly" Castro's Flag since we hate him and his regime so much. In answer to that I emphatically state that first and foremost this is the Flag of Cuba, it was created back in 1849 long before Castro's parents were born. It is not Castro's Flag, never was and will never be "his" Flag. We fly it with immense pride to honor the brave Cuban patriots who fought against the Spaniards, those brave men who have been ignored for so long. It was the Mambi Fighter, who by a war of attrition were on the brink of forcing the Spaniards to leave Cuba; the Maine "shenanigan" was an excuse the U.S. used to snatch Cuba from our hands just as we were ready to free ourselves. They took Cuba as a prized possession to exploit its natural resources as well as its people as if it was a cotton plantation. We Fly the Cuban Flag to honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for the Freedom of Cuba. Castro and his thugs have never had any respect for the Cuban Flag, what it means to the noble Cuban people or what it stands for, Castro and his thugs hate Cuba, its Flag and its people.
It is interesting to note how some other people in positions of knowledge perceive the reasons for Cuba's plight. The paragraphs below contain a few of these views.
Jorge Dominguez offers an insight into the possible causes of Castro's behavior in the early period in U.S.-Cuban relations. When the revolution triumphed, Castro found power dispersed in Cuba and politics pluralistic. This political condition offered many opportunities for both the United States and established Cuban interests to impede his revolution. Dominguez believes that Castro concluded "it was impossible to conduct a revolution in Cuba without a major confrontation with the United States." Soviet influence offered to reinforce Castro's preference for centralized power, whereas the U.S. system encouraged pluralism-that is, divided power-at home and abroad. Therefore, according to this thesis, Castro deliberately took steps that had the predicted effect of provoking the United States and justifying his rapprochement with the -Soviet Union."
An alternative interpretation is offered by former U.S. -Ambassador to Cuba Phillip Bonsal who concludes his analysis of the cause and the consequence of the confrontation as follows: "We did not force Castro into the arms of the Communists, but we were, in my judgment, unwisely cooperative in removing the obstacles to his chosen path." With a similar reluctance to apportion blame and an interest in understanding the process of interaction, Cole Blasier notes that "almost from the beginning, Castro and the United States expected the worst from each other, and neither was disappointed."
Had the U.S. sought to understand the social revolution occurring in Cuba, to sympathize with the aspirations of the Cuban people which Fidel Castro articulated so fiercely-with their demands for economic, political, and social changes, changes that challenged our long dominance in Cuban affairs-we might have succeeded in cementing cordial relations with the new Cuban government. By offering Castro the excuse he needed to move into the Soviet block's arms, the Eisenhower administration miscalculated grossly what consequences their actions would have in the future of Cuba and its people. The Kennedy administration added to the mess by miscalculating once again when it refused to provide the promised air cover to the invading force at Bay of Pigs.
Here we are 45 years later (2004) and a dozen U.S. miscalculations later, Castro is still in power, Cuba's infrastructre is almost non existent and most of the people are starving to death. Outside Havana's proper and tourist resorts Cubans are surviving with minimal medical assistance and foods stuffs. Houses and all sort of buildings are crumbling because of the Castro's tyranny reluctance to spend money assisting the population to survive under minimal acceptable conditions. They would rather spend that money in overseas propaganda campaigns and or fattening their Swiss bank accounts.
Castro still dines on Lobster Thermidor washed down with fine French wine in a formal dinning room. The table is dressed with fine lace tablecloths, genuine 'silverware' and tended to by servants. So much for the leader of the proletariat's life style in Cuba. While Cubans starve to death he dines like royalty, sleeps on comfy beds and his every whim is swiftly satisfied.
In the end Castro and his regime will pass and Cuba will ultimately achieve the dreams of José Martí, Antonio Maceo, Calixto Garcia, Máximo Gómez, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and countless others who followed in their footsteps to Martyrdom: "A Free Cuba for the Cubans". FREE from "foreign" interventionists whose only interests are to exploit Cuba's citizens and its resources.
We will have a Cuba for the Cubans, not the repressive tyrants that will betray their fellow Cubans in order to further their perverse goals and that of their native as well as foreign accomplices. I do thank you for your time. -
* Click here to link to a page with some of Jose Marti Thoughts on various subjects and an essay about Castro - US relations
* Click here to read an article regarding Elian Gonzalez by Jorge Benitez Sagol (author of the best seller "Dear Uncle Sam")