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United States





 United States


Since the end of the Spanish Empire Cuba was a semi-colony of the United States. The revolution of 1959 which brought to power a nationalist and communist government has been opposed by the United States. The first noticeable action was the attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 when a US-supplied force attempted to overthrow the Castro government. Cuban forces completely defeated this attempt. Most of the activity has taken the form of covert activities by anti-communist guerrillas trained by the United States CIA and other agencies.

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is the best known occasion when a nuclear war might have occurred between the United States and the Soviet Union. Following the Bay of Pigs the Cuban government requested the aid of the Soviet Union to prevent further invasions. The Soviet leader Khrushchov had his own reasons for aiding Cuba. He sent short range nuclear missiles to Cuba which threatened many sites in the United States. His motives were partly to counter the similar range missiles that had been installed in Turkey, threatening sites in the Soviet Union.

For several days most people feared there was a chance of a "nuclear exchange" which would have included the United States, the Soviet Union and the allies in western and eastern Europe. The casus belli might have been the Soviet ships approaching Cuba carrying missiles to install there. President Kennedy declared a embargo on shipping and threatened to enforce it with the US navy. He threatened to board by force the Soviet missile ships. While they slowed their approach negotiations took place. Khrushchov agreed to withdraw the missiles and in exchange the US agreed to withdraw the missiles in Turkey. The US agreed not to invade Cuba again.

Possibly this agreement, though it avoided a catastrophic war, led to the ousting of Khrushchov and the assassination of Kennedy by opponents of negotiations. Khrushchov was replaced by Brezhnev who resisted further negotiations.

The Cuban economy is under severe pressure after losing the aid of the Soviet Union. The US government probably hopes it will collapse without further effort other than the continuing economic blockade. However, aid from Venezuela has made this unlikely, with Cuba providing doctors in return for oil. This conflict is one of the last remaining confrontations of the former Cold War (the other is Korea).

Perhaps now that Fidel Castro has retired, being replaced by his brother Raoul Castro, and with a less hardline government in the United States, (Barack Obama) this conflict may be finally resolved with an ending of the trade embargo.

So far, in July 2010, no real change has occurred.

Interesting Reading
Here is an imaginative novel about what might have happened if the Cuban Missile Crisis had sparked off a nuclear war between the USA and the Soviet Union (slightly unrealistic as Europe was not attacked).
Brendan Dubois - Resurrection Day

Last revised 31/07/10


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