Friday, February 17, 2012

Remembering the day that Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba

Time flies and we recall another day in Cuban history:

"On February 16, 1959, Fidel Castro is sworn in as prime minister of Cuba after leading a guerrilla campaign that forced right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista into exile. Castro, who became commander in chief of Cuba's armed forces after Batista was ousted on January 1, replaced the more moderate Miro Cardona as head of the country's new provisional government." (History)

Castro followed this move with a trip to the US.  He met with VP Nixon, was a guest on "Meet the Press" and spoke before The National Press Club.

He got favorable press.  I think that most media in the US was caught up in the "revolutionary story", or the charming bearded man who would turn into some kind of Cuban George Washington.

Back in Cuba, Castro still enjoyed vast support.  However, it started to erode in 1960 when radical steps were implemented.  Castro went after the private schools, the newspapers and the media.  Finally, Cuba became a huge issue in the 1960 election and then Senator JFK beat up VP Nixon because the Eisenhower administration had been too easy on Cuba.

On January '61, or two years after Castro became prime minister, the US broke diplomatic relations and that was followed by The Bay of Pigs and The Missile Crisis.

Wonder how many people would have believed that 53 years ago today when Castro became PM Castro?  I don't think that most Cubans would have foreseen back then what the 1960's would bring to the island.  My parents certainly did not!

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