U.S. Relations with Cuba

The nature of political conflicts in Cuba that resulted in an overthrow of the government of Batista in 1959, as well as series of threats of revolutions in Latin America spearheaded by the then leader, Fidel Castro, lead to a decision by the United to negate trade links with the Cuban government. Such decisions have existed over many decades with different U.S presidents enforcing the policy. The policies made it difficult for Cuban sugar exports to find their way into the U.S. markets. Such cold war strategies aimed at restoring lost economic and political understanding between the countries did not become successful and as a result, the U.S. government later initiated an embargo on Cuba, a decision many economists and political commentators describe as an unfortunate cold war relic. They believe that the embargo was a needless cold war relic given the circumstances. Ideally, the U.S. relations with Batista’s regime backfired after the Communist Revolution led by Fidel Castro, which resulted in America’s global enemy, the Soviet Union, becoming an ally of a nation 90 miles from the United States (Allison 11). Accordingly, this paper outlines different issues that characterize U.S. relations with Cuba leading to the Bay of Pigs " Cuban missile crisis,

The relations between the U.S. and Cuba leading to the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis

            The ties between the United States and Cuba go beyond the era of Castro leadership. In 1898, the end of Spanish-American war showed Spain sign its rights of Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba to the United States (Green par. 14). The events led to the independence of Cuba with condition that the United States would intervene in the affairs of the country if necessary. Another condition was that the U.S. be granted a perpetual lease on the country’s naval base at Guantánamo Bay.

              For half a century from 1898, the relationship between the United States and Cuba characterized a certain level of cooperation. The U.S. helped Cuba squash rebellions as well as making heavy investments in its economy. Havana became a conference center for U.S. and Cuban corporate stakeholders in 1946.

            The United States marinated a closer relationship and supervision of the activities of Cuba and by 1909, Jose Miguel Gomez was elected president following an election that was supervised by the U.S. Such supervision was evident of exercising control over the Island. At some point in 1912, the U.S. forces went to Cuba to help the country put down black protests that were aimed at showing dissatisfaction over the country’s discriminative policies. In 1933, Fulgencio Batista overthrows Gerardo Machado and becomes the Cuban president. Fidel Castro leads a revolt against the regime of the Batista in 1953 which becomes unsuccessful and he later succeeds in yet another revolution in 1959 (Green par. 33).

            The decision of the United States to withdraw its military aid to Batista was an evidence of a relationship that started deteriorating between the two countries. When Castro meets Vice President Richard Nixon in an official visit to the U.S., the V.P argued that the government was trying to "orient" the Cuban leader in the direction needed.

             In July 1960, the government of Cuba led by its leader Fidel Castro nationalized all the businesses that belonged to and were operated by the U.S. without compensation (Suddath par. 4). Following such actions, the U.S States imposed a partial trade embargo of the country in October 1960 leading to the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis (Suddath par. 4).

The Events at the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis and the U.S. relations with Cuba

             1959 showed Fidel Castro coming to power in an armed revolt that aided in the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, the then Cuban dictator. Through the distrust of the U.S. government, John F. Kennedy was by the CIA on a plan to train Cuban exile for an invasion of their country with an ultimate goal of the overthrow of the Fidel Castro and as a result, establish a non-communist government.

             In 1960, President Eisenhowe approved the plan and a training camp was set by the CIA in Guatemala. The U.S. fronted José Miró Cardona, the Cuban Revolutionary Council as the leader of the invasion and he poised to become the provisional President after a successful invasion. While Castro became aware of the planned invasion and the training, he became inaugurated and in February 1961, President Kennedy authorized the invasion. He disguised the support of the U.S in the attack and used the landing point which was at the Bay of Pigs as part of the deception.

            The invasion plan entailed two air strikes against air bases of Cuba followed by a smaller force landing on the east coast of Cuba. The invasion was later characterized by a series of mishap and confusions leading to the failure of the U.S troops on their mission.  In exchange for the brigade prisoners taken captives by the Cuban government, the United States gave $53 million worth of medicine and baby food as demanded by Castro (Green par. 55). The disaster that took place at the Bay of Pigs characterized a lasting impact on the administration of President Kennedy. Since then, there has always been a plan to sabotage as well as destabilize the Cuban government and its economy.

             The partial trade embargo imposed by the U.S. on Cuba as outlined above was later followed by an extended embargo to all Cuban trade. As a result, Fidel Castro allows the Soviet Union to a position as well as deploy nuclear missiles on the country/island. The greatest deterrent to the relationship that existed between the United States and Cuba came on October 15, 1962, when the U.S spy planes discovered evidence of missile bases under construction by the Soviet Union in Cuba (Allison 11). President Kennedy learning about the missile, Russia, and the U.S. were locked in nuclear face-off daubed the “the Cuban Missile Crisis” (Allison 11). The crisis ended when the Soviet Union agreed to remove its missiles in exchange of the United States also withdrawing its nuclear missiles from Turkey. The agreement made it possible for the Soviet missiles to be removed within six months. Nevertheless, such decisions by the Cuban government made it difficult for the U.S to renew its relationship with the Island due to its irresponsible behaviors that placed missile basses too close to the American mainland (Suddath par. 6). Such deteriorating relationships between the countries led to many Cuban fleeing their home country to Miami.

Cuban and the Soviet Union and Change of Strategy

            Over the years, Cuba has been among the many countries around the world with a paradigmatic case of a monoculture export economy, depending on only one major export commodity– sugar – for sale (Leogrande and Julie 325). The Cuban problem was that it mostly sold their primary commodity to one principal trade partner which was the United States (Leogrande and Julie 325). Nevertheless, the desire to overcome such dependency was the major priority for Fidel Castro during 1959s. Given different interests of the U.S. and other regions like the Soviet Union, Castro’s efforts proved eventually unsuccessful. Following such bitter relations between Cuba and the U.S., the foreign policy between them was an establishment that ended all contact with Cuba. The United States stopped any trade or travel with Cuba leading to an end of its relations with the Island country. Several laws and policies were enforced to that effect. Besides, the fall of communism in Europe made Cuba free for the dependent trade relations it had with the Soviet Union (Leogrande and Julie 325). The relationship between Cuba and the Soviet Union characterized a series of collaborations which were later affected by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The fall of the Soviet Union led to the failure of three political pillars that provided support to the Cuban political regime (Brenner 203).

            The Cuban legacies on past international behavior shaped its response to the Pax Americana that is, the unchallenged primacy of U.S. in political power, military force, dynamism in world economic reach and missionary zeal when dealing with ideological creed and terrorism (Brenner 2013). Consequently, Cuban government developed four strategies that would him it cope with the U.S. Such strategies included re-designing its foreign policy with prospects that other foreign governments would balance the power of the United States as regards to Cuba, diversifying its political risk, seeking instances of cooperation with the U.S. and exercising soft power to make the country attractive (Brenner 203).


            Many governments around the world consider trade sanctions as basic ways of coming to terms when individual states or countries that violate political, social and economic agreements as well as international standards. As outlined, the nature of political conflicts in Cuba resulted in an overthrow of the government of Batista in 1959 as well as series of threats of revolutions in Latin America instigated by the then leader, Fidel Castro. The events followed by the U.S failed invasion of the country which in turn resulted in the problems at the Bay of Pigs and Cuban missile crisis. Such events made Cuba an America’s global enemy and affected the economic and political relations between the two countries.

Works Cited

Allison, Graham. "The Cuban missile crisis at 50: lessons for US foreign policy today." Foreign Aff. 91 (2012): 11.

Brenner, Philip. A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008. Internet resource.

Green, Steven J. Chronology of U.S.-Cuba Relations. 2018. Retrieved from https://cri.fiu.edu/us-cuba/chronology-of-us-cuba-relations/

Leogrande, William M., and Julie M. Thomas. "Cuba's quest for economic independence." Journal of Latin American Studies 34.2 (2002): 325-363.

Suddath, Claire. U.S.-Cuba Relations. 2009. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1891359,00.html

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