Castro Rise The Power
Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz became involved with political protests as a young
student. After Batista’s coup in 1952, he went to court and tried to have
the Batista dictatorship declared illegal. However, his attempt to
peacefully bring down the Batista government did not work, and so in 1953,
Castro turned toward violent means. On July 26, 1953, Castro led a group of
men to attack the Moncada military fortress. However, his little rebellion
was immediately crushed by the Batista army. In fact, the Roman Catholic
archbishop of Santiago had to make the government promise that the rebels
would live, if they would stop fighting and come down from the mountains.
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Seeing that a full scale war against him
was inevitable, Batista fled the country with his family and close friends
to the Dominican Republic. On January 8, 1959, the revolutionary forces
marched into Havana unopposed.
Tension between Cuba and the United States
Tension between Cuba and the United States increased dramatically after the
Castro takeover. The main reason was that Castro and Guevara were leading
Cuba toward communism. As a part of the sweeping reforms that Castro had
promise, he took all estates larger than one thousand acres and nationalized
it, meaning that it was made the property of the government. Most of the
seized land, including over 2 1/4 million acres owned by U.S. investors,
were made into large state-owned farms. The lost of sugar mills, banks,
hotels, utility companies, etc. totaled about $2 billion. By then, it became
clear that Castro was leading Cuba toward communism instead of his promise
toward democracy. This conclusion was further bolstered when the USSR signed
their first trade agreement with Cuba in February of 1960. Finally, in
January of 1961, only two years after the fall of Batista, the United States
severed diplomatic relations with Cuba and imposed an unilateral trade
embargo against the island country.
Even before the United States broke relations with Cuba, there had already
been plans made against the Castro regime. The U.S. supported Operation
Pluto, the secret name of an invasion on Cuba, in hopes of overthrowing
Fidel Castro. The Bay of Pigs Incident, as it was later known as, began on
April 15, 1961 with air raids on Cuba. Two days later, 1,500 U.S. trained
Cuban exiles landed on Cuba with weapons supplied by the United States. At
the time, the U.S. government was convinced that the Cuban people would join
the invading forces once they land and that the Castro army would disband.
However, this assumption was fatally wrong. The landing party were defeated
with forty-eight hours. About 120 people died and more than 1,200 captured.
The U.S. government had to pay $50 million in food and medical supplies to
The tension between Cuba and the U.S. grew to a climax during the Cuban
Missile Crisis of 1962. After the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Castro openly
admitted that he was committed to communism. "I am a Marxist-Leninist and
will be a Marxist-Leninist until the day I die," he declared. In the summer
of 1962, U.S. spy planes saw that Cuba was receiving large amounts of
military equilpment from the Soviet Union. Photographs revealed that the
Soviets were building missile installations within Cuba. The U.S. felt
threatened because the missiles had a range of 1,000 miles and they were
capable of carrying nuclear warheads. With a nuclear threat only 90 miles
off the coast of Florida, President John F. Kennedy warned Americans of the
danger of a nuclear war. He further demanded that the Soviet Union dismantle
the missile installations or risk...