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The Revolutionary Years

Fidel Castro quickly purged political opponents from the administration at january 1st, 1959. Loyalty to Castro became the primary criteria for all appointments. Groups such as labour unions were made illegal.

Quickly, an agrarian reformation was thrown on May 17 of 1959, confiscating lands to the North Americans; the refineries of sugar and of petroleum were nationalized. The politics of big works started had for effect to solve the unemployment and soon they should give its fruits programs dedicated to improve the education and the public health. It sought to limit the size of land holdings, and to distribute that land to small farmers in "Vital Minimum" tracts.

By the end of 1960, all opposition newspaper had been closed down and all radio and television stations were in state control. Teachers and professors were purged. The Communist Party strengthened its one-party rule, with Castro as the supreme leader. Moderates were arrested. Fidel's brother Raul Castro became the army chief. In September 1960, the neighborhood watch systems known as committees for the defense of the revolution (CDR) were created.

In July 1961, two years after the 1959 Revolution, the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (IRO) was formed by the merger of Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement, the Popular Socialist Party led by Blas Roca and the Revolutionary Directory March 13th led by Faure Chomón. On March 26, 1962 the IRO became the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution (PURSC) which, in turn, became the Communist Party of Cuba on October 3, 1965 with Castro as First Secretary. The Communist party remains the only recognized political party in Cuba. Other parties, though not illegal, are unable to campaign or conduct any activities on the island that could be deemed counter-revolutionary.

The US broke diplomatic relations on 3 January 1961 and imposed the US embargo against Cuba on 3 February 1962.

The Organization of American States, under pressure from the United States, suspended Cuba's membership in the body on 22 January 1962, and the US Government banned all US-Cuban trade a couple of weeks later on 7 February. The Kennedy administration extended this on 8 February 1963 making travel, financial and commercial transactions by US citizens to Cuba illegal.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion (known as La Batalla de Girón in Cuba), was an unsuccessful attempt by a U.S.-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba with support from U.S. government armed forces to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro.

The plan was launched in April 19, 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile combatants in three days. Bad Cuban-American relations were exacerbated the following year by the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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