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A bit more history

For a period after the Spanish American war in 1898 Cuba was a US territory; becoming independent in 1902. But US interests continued to meddle in Cuban affairs culminating in the US based mobs led by Meyer Lansky turning Cuba into a Caribbean Las Vegas in the 50’s further corrupting the already corrupt Batista government. 

Fidel Castro and the revolutionary hero Che Guevara, now seen everywhere in Cuba, together with a band of less well known supporters, invaded and with local support overthrew the regime.  But many upper class Cubans and regime supporters fled to Florida from whence they attempted a counter revolution with the not so secret support of the Kennedy Administration.  This culminated in an attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 that failed disastrously for Kennedy and the US. 

 

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The war memorial

 

Also in 1961 the US deployed Jupiter medium range nuclear ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey . The Russians responded by deploying similar missiles to Cuba. But Kennedy threatened nuclear war if they were not removed. Both sides then removed their missiles.

Documents now released also confirm that the CIA conspired with the Chicago Mafia to assassinate Castro on at least two occasions in the early 60’s. Kennedy’s own assassination has sometimes been linked to these events.

Since that time the US had maintained a trade and travel embargo against Cuba.  The marginal nature of the Florida electorate combined with strong local influence of the Cuban exiles makes this difficult to reverse, in spite of US efforts to normalise relations with other communist countries like Vietnam, China and even North Korea.

 

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After the Bay of Pigs - 'The Cuban Missile Crisis'

 

As a result in Cuba the US is still seen as the evil empire.  Unlike almost everywhere in the world American tourists are few and far between and most of those with North American accents are Canadians.  Canada has a relatively good relationship with Cuba. 

No doubt as time goes by there will be a thawing in this relationship. US dollars and tourists will flood in and this uniquely Cuban Cuba will be gone to be replaced by an extended Florida; hopefully without gambling or a successor to Meyer Lansky.

 

 

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