Cuba Brief History

By | November 6, 2021

When Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, Arawak (or Taino) Indians inhabited the island. Most died of diseases brought in by sailors and settlers. From 1511 the Spaniards founded settlements under Diego Velázquez. Havana’s port has become an important port of call for journeys to and from Spain.

In the early 1800s, according to A2zdirectory, Cuba boomed the sugar cane industry, and so did the number of black slaves. A latent independence movement turned into open war between 1867 and 1878. Slavery was abolished in 1886. From 1895, the poet José Marti led the renewed battle that eventually led to the Spanish rule in Cuba ended. Important for the victory was the USA in 1898, which intervened against Spain after the sinking of the battleship Maine in the port of Havana.

A treaty in 1899 made Cuba an independent republic under the protection of the United States. Yellow fever was fought under the US occupation and numerous US companies invested in Cuba. The 1901 Platt Amendment allowed the United States to intervene in Cuba’s domestic affairs. This happened four times from 1906 to 1920. Cuba ended this agreement in 1934. In

1933 a group of officers including Army Sergeant Fulgencio Batista overthrew President Gerardo Machado. Batista became president of a corrupt police state in 1940.

In 1956 Fidel Castro Ruz started a revolution. Among his most important fighters were Castro’s brother Raul and Ernesto (Che) Guevara, an Argentine doctor. Many landowners opposed to Batista supported the rebels. In 1958, US military aid to Cuba was ended, Batista fled into exile on New Year’s Day 1959 and Castro came to power.

The USA welcomed the change of power at the beginning, as they suspected that a democratic Cuba would develop. But within a few months, Castro established military tribunals for political opponents and had hundreds imprisoned. Castro also no longer recognized the military pact with the USA, confiscated US assets and founded farms based on the model of Soviet collective farms. The US broke off relations with Cuba on January 3, 1961, and Castro formalized his alliance with the Soviet Union. Thousands of Cubans fled the country.

Bay of Pigs

In 1961, a US-backed group of Cuban exiles attempted an invasion of Cuba. Planned by the Eisenhower administration, the invasion was given the go-ahead by President John Kennedy despite refusing to provide air support. The Bay of Pigs landing on April 17, 1961 was a fiasco. The invaders had no popular support and were easily repulsed by the Cuban military.

Missile crisis

A Soviet attempt to deploy medium-range missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba within range of important targets in the USA provoked a crisis in 1962. Kennedy accused the Soviets of “willful deception” and promised a US blockade of Cuba from the start of missile shipments. Six days later, the Soviet Prime Minister ordered Nikita Khrushchev that the rocket launch sites should be dismantled and received in return a US commitment not to attack Cuba.

The US began limited diplomatic relations with Cuba on September 1, 1977, this made it easier for Cuban Americans to visit the island. The contacts with the wealthier Cuban Americans created a wave of dissatisfaction in Cuba and produced an increase in Cuban asylum applications in the US. In response, Castro opened the port of Mariel to a “Liberty Fleet”from US boats and allowed 125,000 to escape to Miami. After the refugees arrived, it became clear that the refugees included large numbers of prisoners, the mentally handicapped, homosexuals and other people undesirable to the Cuban government.

Cuba supported communist revolutions around the world, especially in Angola, where thousands of Cuban fighters stayed until the 1980s.

The Soviet aid, supported the long Cuba’s ailing economy, was with the fall of communism ended in 1990 levels. Cuba’s foreign trade also fell into a severe crisis. In 1993, Castro allowed private companies on a limited basis, allowed Cubans to own foreign currency, and encouraged foreign investment in tourism. In March 1996, the US tightened its embargo with the Helms-Burton Act.

Christmas became an official holiday in 1997 before Pope Joahannes Paul II visited Cuba in 1998 in the hope of more religious freedom.

In June 2000, Castro gained tremendous popularity when the Clinton administration sent Elian Gonzalez, a young Cuban refugee found near Miami, back to Cuba. The US Cuban community had requested that the boy stay in Miami instead of being sent back to his father in Cuba. By placing ideology before family ties, the influential Cuban Americans lost much of the public’s sympathy.

In March and April 2003 almost 80 dissidents became dissidents sentenced to long prison terms, which the international community condemned as incompatible with human rights.

The Bush administration tightened the embargo further in June 2004, the Cuban Americans were then only able to visit the island once every three years (instead of every year as before). In addition, the amount of US money that Americans could spend per day in Cuba was limited to US $ 50. In response, Cuba banned the use of US dollars, the currency that had been virtually legal tender on the island for more than a decade.

In July 2006, Castro had an illness to the hospital. Power in Cuba was temporarily passed on to his brother Raúl. In October it became public that Castro has cancer and will not return to power. In poor health, Castro announced his resignation.
In the parliamentary elections in January 2008, both Fidel and Raúl Castro were re-elected to the National Assembly.

In February 2008, Fidel Castro resigned after 49 years in power. Raúl Castro succeeded his brother and became the 21st President of Cuba on February 24, 2008.

In February 2008, Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque signed the International Treaty on Civil and Political Rights and the International Treaty on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These treaties guarantee citizens political and civil liberty, and guarantee the right to work, fair wages, social security, education and a high level of physical and mental health. Roque also announced that in 2009 the United Nations Human Rights Council will be allowed to examine the Cuban human rights situation.

In March 2008, the Cuban government lifted the ban on the purchase of computers and other consumer electronics, as well as DVDs and microwaves.

In June 2008, the EU ended diplomatic sanctions against Cuba from 2003 when plans emerged that the country would move away from the principle of equal pay – a radical departure from Marxist principles in Cuba.

The government lifted land restrictions on private farmers in July 2008 in an effort to increase Cuban food production and reduce dependence on food imports.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban government passed a law increasing the retirement age by five years.

Cuba Brief History