Castro Rise The Power Essay

This essay has a total of 1673 words and 8 pages.

Castro Rise The Power

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.
Sure enough, the government kept its promise and Fidel Castro and his
followers were sentenced to three years of imprisonment. Batista, in order
to gain some popular support, released them after a few months.

Castro's rebellion failed, it sparked hopes of revolution everywhere in
Cuba. After a few years of exile in Mexico, Castro and a small band of about
eighty-five men returned to Cuba in December of 1956. Many of the men
perished during the initial landing, but a small group including Fidel
Castro and an Argentinian Marxist Ernesto "Che" Guevara, survived and went
into the mountains. During the next two years, Castro and Guevara fought the
Batista army continuously in small guerrilla wars. They called themselves
the Twenty-sixth of July Movement, after the earlier unsuccessful raid on
the Moncada barracks. Their group gained in numbers and popularity among
Cubans as the desire for political change in Cuba increased. Castro promised
sweeping changes including free elections, non-corrupt government, land,
improved educational systems, jobs and health care for all. Castro became
sort of like a Robin Hood for Cuba and many flocked to his banner. The final
blow to the Batista regime came when the United States withdrew its support
as Batista was falling from power. 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
ransom them.

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 retaliation from the United States. Two
days later, on October 26, Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR stepped
back and accepted the demands, effectively bring the world back from the
brink of nuclear destruction.

The hostility between the two counties continuous today. U.S. citizens are
not permitted to travel to Cuba. The unilateral trade embargo of Cuba is
still effective. While the rest of the world has moved on to a policy of
engagement with Cuba, the United States is still stuck in the Cold War mode
trying to isolate the island nation. The most recent legislation against
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