CubaCuban Missile Crisis




Thousands of minuscule ripples protrude from the vast Atlantic Ocean. The sun, old in its day and weary of shining down upon the blue green sea begins to set. Almost as if to save the best for last, a brilliant mirage of orange and red color is cast upon the busy waves. Nowhere on this planet is this image captured so brilliantly as in the Caribbean, and nowhere on the earth is such a surreal scene captured daily. This heaven on Earth is a painter・s paradise, a travel agent・s dream, and a honeymooner utopia. For as far back as man can remember, numerous competitive countries have sought after this Shangri-La. Whether for their views, climate, people, or numerous crops, the scattered islands that inhabit the Caribbean area have been widely contested for centuries. Perhaps the one individual country with the most relevant recent history in relation to the United States occupying this region is Cuba. Since Cuba・s revolution in the early 1900・s the United States has economically controlled the country with our capitalistic ideals. From 1900 to 1955, the United States utilized Cuban imports to fuel our consumer society. The island・s economy became so tightly intertwined with America・s that we would stop at nothing to disallow new leadership from coming in, and ruining our capitalist network of profiteers from owning exports of copper, silver, and sugar. In and around 1956, Fidel Castro led a revolutionary uprising against a corrupt government in place directly under American rule. When America placed a severe embargo on Cuba, and its new leadership, Castro had no choice but to call upon the USSR for financial and military aid. In September 1960, United States・ Eisenhower approved a plan for exiled Cuban, anti V communist revolutionaries, funded by the US to attack Cuba, and hopefully ignite a revolt that would eventually overthrow Castro. The infamous Bay of Pigs incident left thousands of soldiers captured, and the United States government extremely embarrassed. It was just before this time that the United States sent nuclear missiles to Turkey, just over the USSR・s horizon. Russia responded to these and other actions by placing missiles in Cuba, 90 miles away from America・s southern tip, spawning the Cuban missile crisis. It was in fact the United States government・s hostility towards Communist Cuba that led up to the Cuban missile crisis.
Presently, Cuba・s economy is a centrally planned state-owned economy in which the state organizes, directs, and controls the economic life of the nation. Foreign trade, according to the constitution is :the exclusive function of the state;. (Article 18) The ministry of foreign trade was created in 1961 to be the only state agency authorized to conduct foreign trade. All trade is conducted through the ministry which controls 40 foreign trade enterprises, each responsible for a different product.
It was not always this way in Cuba however. Cubans endured numerous revolutions to convert their economic system from mercantilism, to capitalism, and eventually to communism. Cubans, however refer them as different stages of one single revolution. Unique social aspects that needed changing marked each stage of the Cuban revolution. Cuba・s landowning aristocracy (Ranchers, coffee and sugar planters) initiated the wars of independence (from Spain) in 1868 and 1895. They opposed Spain・s political control and mercantilist economic policies. Although Jos Marti addressed questions internal to Cuba, such as racism and the need for a new national cultural culture and identity, the first and second wars of independence were primarily aimed at freeing Cuba from the grip of Spanish colonization. (Brenner 327)
Cuba won its long and bloody war against Spain, but lost its struggle for nationhood when the United States transformed the island from a Spanish colony to a U.S. protectorate. After occupying the island from 1898 to 1901, the U.S. intervened (1906-9,1912,1917) to protect economic interests and restore :political stability; by ensuring :American friendly; rulers led Cuba. When Cuba・s political elite shifted loyalties from Madrid to Washington, the island・s landed aristocracy became tightly integrated into the U.S. economy. Between 1909 and 1929, US capital investments in Cuba increased 700 percent. The sugar slump after World War I saw the island・s monoculture economy virtually taken over by foreign V based companies, a process that drove small and independent farmers into sugar cultivation, marking the