A New World

For The First Time In Almost 60 Years Cuba Does Not Have A Castro Leading It

By: Kylie Hapuarachchi

KH Issue #15 Politics

The Castro family has been ruling over Cuba for over 60 years. Credit: New York Times

After over 60 years of power the Castro family has stepped down from the Communist Party of Cuba. Raúl Castro retired as Cuba’s top leader earlier last week. He was the successor of his brother Fidel Castro who died November 25th 2016. 

The Castro family has reigned power for decades including one of the hardest times in history when the world was on the brink of a nuclear war. 

In 1959, Fidel overthrew the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. He then led Cuba until 2008 when his brother Raúl took over. 

During Castro’s regime there were improvements to everyday life. His leadership led to the success of Cuba.

The illiteracy rates decreased, the racism problem had been demolished and the health care system improved so that every citizen of Cuba had a fighting chance. 

Within what seems like an utopian society, there were many problems that they the public had to deal with. The people had very little economic and political freedoms.

Fidel’s reign also led to a very hostile relationship with the United States. This included the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

America had disapproved of the Cuban leader because they had felt the support from the pro-American leader Batista.

The U.S. feared the leadership of Fidel and with that there were multiple attempts to assassinate him by CIA operatives. 

In April of 1961, President John F. Kennedy had a secret CIA operation to overthrow the leader of Cuba, Fidel. This was a failed attempt which consisted of about 1,400 American trained Cubans who fled their homes when Fidel took over.

The attempt to get rid of Fidel failed miserably as Fidel’s troops outnumbered the 1,400 people. Within 24 hours the ones invading had surrendered to Fidel. 

During this time the Cold War had already been brewing. With Cuba supporting the Soviet Union there was an uneasiness that ran between the U.S. and Cuba. 

The Cuban Missile Crisis consisted of a 13 day standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Cuba had missiles on the shores which was 90 miles from the shores of Florida. 

This grew the instability between both countries as America grew worried of a potential nuclear war. 

The U.S. had been prepared to use all military force against Cuba if anything were to be started on their end. A war was averted when President Kennedy and Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove Cuba’s missiles if the U.S. promised to not invade Cuba. 

President Kennedy also agreed to the removal of all missiles in Turkey.

With the embargo placed on Cuba from the U.S., Cuba lost trillions of dollars. The hostility between the countries remained. The Castro’s and the U.S. continued their own personal “war”.

After almost 56 years, in June of 2015, President Barack Obama re-established a relationship between Cuba and the U.S. The Cuban embassy was opened in Washington and an U.S. embassy was placed in Havana. 

The U.S. trade embargo could not be lifted in 2015, due to the need for congressional approval. Soon after, commercial flights were flown to and from Cuba. 

With the presidency of Donald Trump the restrictions were put into place once again and now in 2021, the hostility with Cuba is somewhat still there. 

The nation created by the Castro family is once again redesignated as a state sponsor for terroism. 

The nation that the Castro family has created a tumultuous relationship with the U.S. and will continue to do so. After 60 years the country will finally have a new leader in power that is not a Castro. 

The question now is whether the next leader will try to create a stable relationship between the two nations or will they let the relationship burn as it once did before?

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