1/2018, US President Trump signed an Executive Order
providing for the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay.
25/11/2016, Fidel Castro,
former leader of Cuba from 1959, died aged 90. He had been succeeded by his
14/12/2011, The 2012
US National Defence Bill was not vetoed by President Obama, which meant that Guantanamo Bay
would remain open as a detention facility.
7/1/2011, US President
Barack Obama signed the 2011 Defence Authorisation Bill, which
provided for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
22/1/2009, US President
Barack Obama attempted to close down Guantanamo Bay. US Congress blocked
14/1/2009, The US
admitted torturimg Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed al Qahtani, under the
18/2/2008, Fidel Castro,
aged 81, announced he was resigning as President of Cuba after 49 years in
post. His brother Raul Castro was selected to succeed him.
2/2006, The United Nations called for the closure
US classified Guantanamo Bay inmates as ‘enemy combatants’, to
circumvent a court ruling that they could challenge their detention on the US
5/2003, The prison population of Guantanamo Bay reached a peak of
680. In October 2003 the Red Cross became coincerned at the ‘pyschological
detereration’ of a large number oif the inmates.
1/2002, The first suspects from Afghanistan were brought to Guantanamo Bay.
15/6/1993, The last Russian
troops left Cuba.
1982, The US tightened sanctions on Cubam, banning flights and
tourism to there.
1972, Cuba joined COMECON, the Communist economic bloc.
7/1/1964, In a
drive to improve trade links with Europe, Cuba ordered 400 British buses.
1963, The 1,000 acre maximum private landholding in Cuba (see 5/1959) was reduced to 160
acres. This increased State landholdings from 40% to 60% of Cuba’s land.
28/4/1963, Cuban President Fidel
Castro visited the USSR.
Missile Crisis 1962-63
19/2/1963. The USSR
agreed to withdraw troops from Cuba.
Kennedy lifted the blockade
of Cuba, having verified that Soviet nuclear
missiles had been removed.
Kennedy told a press conference that
Nikita Khrushchev had told him all Soviet jet bombers would be withdrawn from
Cuba within ten days.
13/11/1962. Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, warned the US reconnaissance
planes would be shot down if they continued to fly over Cuba.
28/10/1962. Khrushchev began to dismantle Soviet missile bases in Cuba,
so ending the Cuba Missile Crisis. Crisis; the Soviet Union simply ignored its
earlier demand regarding Turkey. President Kennedy was
leader of the USA at the time; on Saturday 27/10/1962 he was just about to
order US air strikes on the missile bases, when on Sunday the news came that
the USSR had agreed to withdraw the missiles. The USSR attempted to leverage
the removal of NATO missiles from Turkey but did not achieve this. The USA had
to achieve this result, for political, not military, reasons, or else how could
USA support be relied upon further from home. In fact the danger from the Cuban
missiles was not much greater than if the same intercontinental ballistic
missiles had been launched from 5,000 miles away in the USSR. Actually the 40
or so missiles on Cuba would have reached the USA before any USSR-launched
missiles, so acting as an early warning for the USA to launch its 1,685
missiles against the USSR. The USA did not know, however, that only a fraction
of the USSR-based missiles were operational, so the 40 Cuban missiles did
amount to a substantial increase in Soviet firepower against the USA.
Anderson became the only combatant fatality of the Cuban Missile
Crisis when his U-2 airplane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while he
was flying over Cuba
26/10/1962, The USSR
offered to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba if NATO missiles were removed from
Turkey; the US rejected this idea. In fact the
US had been planning to remove these missiles anyway, seeing them as obsolete;
however a removal now might be seen as a victory for the Soviet Union.
24/10/1962. The USA began to blockade Cuba over the
Cuban Missile Crisis. At 10.15am, 500
miles from the Cuban coastline, two Soviet merchant vessels, the Gargarin
and the Komiles, encountered American warships. The Essex had
orders to sink the accompanying Soviet submarines should they refuse to surface
Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba
after Soviet missile sites were found there.
16/10/1962, President Kennedy saw aerial
photos of Cuba which appeared to show nuclear-armed missiles being installed in
2/9/1962. The USSR agreed to supply weapons to
Cuba. This started the Cuban Missile Crisis.
29/8/1962. American spy planes took pictures of Soviet
technicians constructing missile launch pads in Cuba.
8/4/1962. In Cuba,
over 1,000 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail. See
9/1/1962, A Cuban-Soviet trade treaty was signed.
17/4/1961. 1,300 Anti-Castro
Cuban exiles, led by Jose Cardona, attempted
to invade Cuba from the Bay of Pigs. However on 18 and 19/4/1961 the exiles
were pinned down on the beach by Castro’s troops. The USA under President Kennedy backed down
following Khrushchev’s declaration
that the USSR would defend Cuba
against the USA and the 1,200 survivors were left to their fate. They surrendered to Cuban authorities on
3/1/1961. The US severed all
diplomatic relations with Cuba.
19/10/1960. The USA
imposed an embargo on shipments to Cuba, banning all exports to Cuba except food and medicine. Cuba had
been buying arms from the USSR, and when the USA imposed economic sanctions by
refusing to buy Cuban sugar, Castro nationalised USA businesses. Cuba also
attempted to 'export Revolution', to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and
Nicaragua. However many young US
citizens supported Castro.
Fidel Castro leftist reforms 1959-60
nationalised all US-owned property in
Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
threatened to seize US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic
21/2/1960. Castro nationalised all private businesses in Cuba.
US-Cuba relationship broke up, but the US retained Guantanamo Bay.
nationalised USA sugar mils in its territory.
passed the Agrarian Reform Law,
limiting private landholdings to a maximum of 1,000 acres. Some 40% of Cuba’s land now came into State
ownership. Some of this land was redistributed to landless peasants but most
stayed under the care of the Instituto
Nacional de Reforma Agraria (INRA). See 1963. Before this reform, nine
large foreign-owned sugar companies owned some 2,500,000 acres between them.,
with the Cuban Atlantic Company alone possessing 660,000 acres. US interests
controlled, by the late 1940s, 40% of Cuban sugar production and 90% of Cuban
mining. With sugar exports the main source of revenue for Cuba, the US
effectively controlled the island’s economy by raising or lowering sugar
imports to the US from Cuba. Following this expropriation of land, the US
struck Cuba from its sugar quota import list in 1960.
Fidel Castro gains power 1953-59
16/2/1959. Fidel Castro
became Prime Minister of Cuba after
overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. At age 32, he was the
youngest ever leader of Cuba. See 1/1/1959.
8/1/1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana in triumph.
1/1/1959. The Right-wing President Fulgencio
Batista of Cuba was
overthrown and fled to the Dominican Republic. Fidel Castro, aged 32, proclaimed a new Government. See 16/2/1959. Castro
executed his opponents and legalised the Communist Party.
17/9/1958, Fidel Castro began an offensive against the Batista regime in Cuba.
5/4/1958. Castro began
'total war' against the Cuban dictator, Batista.
3/4/1958, Castro’s revolutionary
army begins its attacks on Havana.
2/4/1958. The USA embargoed arms shipments
Batista suspended the Cuban Constitution.
Castro, along with Cuban navy Officers, tried to seize a naval base
at Cienfuegos. Forces loyal to President Batista of Cuba
defeated the attempt, and the rebel leaders were executed.
28/5/1957, Fidel Castro’s
forces attacked the Cuban garrison at Uvero.
2/12/1956, Fidel Castro
clandestinely returned to eastern Cuba, from Mexico, landing in the yacht Gramma. He then waged an 18-month guerrilla campaign
against the Batista
government. See 8/1/1959. See 8/1/1959. The invasion initially
suffered major setbacks, with the Gramma
first delayed by storms then grounding on a mudbank where government aircraft
could easily spot it. The entire invasion force of 82 men were flushed out of
cane fields by government soldiers, and only 12 managed to escape to the Sierra Maestra. Here, however, Castro
had friends from his childhood as a
sugar farmer’s son. With the increasing support of local peasants, and by
clever use of the terrain, Castro’s supporters eventually won.
26/7/1953, Fidel Castro
led an assault on the Moncada Barracks; this failed, but set him up as revolutionary
leader in Cuba. Castro served two years in
prison before release under a general amnesty in 1955. He went into exile in Mexico where he
prepared a campaign against Batista.
coup in Cuba. President
Socarra was overthrown and replaced by General Zaldivar (Fulgencio
Batista y Zaldívar), who had previously been ruler of Cuba, 1933-40.
a series of killings due to labour strife, the Cuban Interior Ministry banned
all political meetings that might provoke disorder.
Youth organization was founded in Cuba.
10/10/1944, Ramon Grau
took office as President of Cuba.
12/8/1933, In Cuba
the army, led by Fulgencio Batista, and backed by the US, overthrew President
revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro was born near Biran, the son of a
1925, The dictatorship of President
Gerardo Machado began; lasting until 1933.
31/5/1912. US marines
landed in Cuba to quell a slave revolt.
23/2/1903, The US
signed a deal with Cuba to lease 45 square miles of land at Guantanamo Bay
for 2,000 gold coins (about US$ 4,000) a year. Fidel Castro later refused to
accept this money.
1902, Tomas Estrada Palma became President of Cuba,
12/6/1901, A new
Constitution for Cuba was drawn up, giving the US extensive rights that made
the island virtually a US protectorate.
20/5/1901, End of US military
rule in Cuba. However the US was granted intervention rights and the right to use
certain bases, including Guantanamo Bay.
became a republic.
People's Party was founded in Cuba.
5/11/1900, The Cuban
Constitutional Convention began to sit, until 21/2/1901.
6/4/1900, The city
of Havana, Cuba, banned the playing of African drums, a prohibition that
remained in effect until 1940, when conga drums again became part of Cuban
1899, The USA occupied Cuba, installing an interim military
10/6/1898, Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, was first used as a camp by US troops during the Spanish-American War (see USA).
1898, The USA declared war on Spain, in support of the Cuban
rebels. The US had significant financial interests in Cuba.
1895, Jose Marti landed on Cuba with a small band of
rebels to start a war of independence. However Marti was killed on the first
day of fighting and thousands of Cubans subsequently died in Spanish
1868, A major rebellion against Spanish rule began, initiating a
10-year civil war.
declared independence from Spain.
British captured Havana, Cuba, from the Spanish. HGowever it was returned to
Spain under the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Slave
labour and proximity to US markets ensured the prosperity of the wealthy elite
in Cuba, whilst a strong Spanish garrison detereed any moves towards
1515, Havana was founded by the Spanish.
1509, The Spanish began the conquest
and colonisation of Cuba.
28/10/1492. Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba,
believing it to be Japan.
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