Fulgencio Batista was a Cuban army officer who had taken control of the island nation of Cuba.
During Batista regime sugar dominated Cuba’s economy. Tourism and gambling played a key factor too.
US investments in sugar mills.
Batista supported heavily by the upper class of Cuba
In 1959 he was overthrown in the Cuban revolution.
Son of successful Spanish immigrant.
Studied law in the US and in Cuba.
Graduated with a law degree in 1950
In 1952 Castro ran for the Cuban congress, but troops led by Batista stopped the election and Batista took control of the government.
Led an attack on a military barracks with his brother Raul.
Both were jailed 22 months before being exiled to Mexico.
While in Mexico Castro met a young Argentine doctor named Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Together the three of them trained a group of revolutionary rebels with plans of attacking Bastia’s government in Cuba.
Che, Raul, and Fidel
Fidel returned to Cuba with his rebels in 1956.
Castro was received in Cuba as a sign of change and hope and quickly built a guerilla army with the peasants of Cuba.
Through propaganda Castro was able to get the United States to cut off aid to Bastia and his government.
Bastia’s responded to the guerilla fighters with brutal and oppressive measures. This helps Castro gain more local support from the Sierra Maestra peasants.
In 1959 Bastia flees Cuba and Fidel Castro takes control of the government.
Life under Castro
Castro was favored by the lower and middle classes of Cuba because he promised many reforms.
Reforms: Education, agriculture, improve health care, restore civil liberties and hold open elections. Most importantly he wanted to free Cuba from American influence
At the end of 1959 Castro became a dictator. He made Marxist land reforms that redistributed income and property.
He took control of almost all US businesses on the island.
Castro and the Soviet Union became close allies because the similar styles of government.
Bay of Pigs
Castro seized US oil refineries after they refused to process fuel from the Soviets.
As a result the US refused to import sugar.
Fidel then seized more US property on the island.
January 1961 President Eisenhower broke off US diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The US CIA began to support and train Cuban exiles in Guatemala. These Cubans would return to the island to overthrow Castro and his regime.
The rebels landed in the Bay of Pigs, but lacked support from the US military and the anti-Castro uprising from the citizens of Cuba.
The invasion was put down by Castro’s forces and as a result Castro moved closer to the Soviets.
Bay of Pigs
Cuba and the Cold War
Fearing another attack from the US, Castro allowed the Soviets to build nuclear missile sites on the island.
The Cuban missile crisis followed.
Soviets agreed to remove missiles if US promises not to invade Cuba.
Guevara is appointed as director of the industrialization program of the National Agrarian Reform Institute, the agency that administers land reforms and the expropriation of American-owned businesses and agricultural estates. Che is then made president of the National Bank of Cuba.
1961 Che is appointed minister of industry in the Cuban Government.
Resigns from his positions because he becomes frustrated with the Soviets for not launching the missiles and for the Soviets supplying Cuba with old equipment.
Castro and Che agreed that Che would travel aboard to spread communist revolutions throughout the world.
Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Angola, Ethiopia, Congo and Bolivia.
Captured in Bolivia and executed on October 9, 1967.
United States would put a trade embargo on Cuba. This hurt the Cuban economy tremendously.
Cuba’s main crop sugar fell in price which made Cuba even more dependent on Soviet aid.
Castro allowed for 125,000 Cubans who disagreed with the government to leave the island. He also emptied jails and mental hospitals and loaded these people onto boats headed to the United States.
The Soviet Union began to reduce its aid to Cuba in the 1980s. The Cuban economy nearly collapsed and the country was put on a rationing program.
Castro has recently stepped down and his brother Raul has taken power.
There are talks between the US and Cuba to lift embargo.
US took control of the island following the Spanish-American war.
1917 Puerto Rico became a US territory and all Puerto Ricans were given US citizenship.
Luis Munoz Marin called for greater autonomy from the US. The US gave P.R. a degree of self-government and in 1947 Munoz Marin became the island’s governor.
1950 the US allowed for P.R. to write its own constitution and in 1952 P.R. was given commonwealth status.
Munoz Marin boosted the economy with Operation Bootstrap
Called for outside investment and industrialization.
There is still a debate today on whether Puerto Rico should gain statehood.
In 1924 a constitutional government had been set up.
1930 dictator Rafael Trujillo overthrew the government . Trujillo’s military dictatorship lasted 31 years until in 1961 he was assassinated.
Juan Bosch then became the president through democratic means.
A coup overthrew Bosch in 1963 and the DR was led by military leaders who formed a three member ruling junta.
Fearing a communist take over President Johnson sent thousands of marines to support the military government.
1966 a constitution was established and the economy was stable because of sugar exports and tourism.
1990s DR suffered an energy crisis. Business and industry were disrupted which resulted in unemployment and inflation.
Today the Dominican is an extremely poor country.
Haiti gained independence from France in 1804 through the only successful slave revolt in modern history.
1957-1971 President Francois Duvalier ruled with an iron hand. He was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier who declared himself “President for Life.” He was forced into exile in 1986 and the military took power.
Elections in 1987 were canceled because of violence between rival political groups.
1988 brought a civilian government council to power, but they were received with military coups and violence.
The military controlled the government until 1990 when Jean-Bertrand Aristide became the first democratically elected president.
1991 Aristide fled the country because rebel troops took over the government. Trade sanctions were imposed and the US helped return Aristide nearly four years later.
1995 Rene Preval was elected president and in 2000 Aristide was elected again.
February 2004 rebels stormed the capital and Aristide resigned.
The Caribbean islands were colonized by European powers in the 17 th and 18 th centuries.
Islands like Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Antigua, Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis all gained their independence from Britain.
1983 a coup overthrew the Marxist government of Grenada. President Reagan sent troops along with other Caribbean nations to restore order.