Chronography of Cuba

Page last modified 30/9/2022

 

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25/11/2016, Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba from 1959, died aged 90. He had been succeeded by his brother Raul in 2008.

20/3/2016, US President Barack Obama became the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928, arriving for a 3-day visit.

18/2/2008, Fidel Castro, aged 81, announced he was resigning as President of Cuba after 49 years in post. His brother Raul Castro was selected to succeed him.

 

Guantanamo Bay, 2002-18

1/2018, US President Trump signed an Executive Order providing for the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay.

14/12/2011, The 2012 US National Defence Bill was not vetoed by President Obama, which meant that Guantanamo Bay would remain open as a detention facility.

7/1/2011, US President Barack Obama signed the 2011 Defence Authorisation Bill, which provided for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

22/1/2009, US President Barack Obama attempted to close down Guantanamo Bay. US Congress blocked the move.

14/1/2009, The US admitted torturimg Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed al Qahtani, under the Bush administration.

2/2006, The United Nations called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

7/2004, The US classified Guantanamo Bay inmates as �enemy combatants�, to circumvent a court ruling that they could challenge their detention on the US mainland.

5/2003, The prison population of Guantanamo Bay reached a peak of 680. In October 2003 the Red Cross became coincerned at the �pyschological detereration� of a large number oif the inmates.

1/2002, The first suspects from Afghanistan were brought to Guantanamo Bay.

 

25/10/2004, Cuban President Fidel Castro banned the iuse of US Dollars as currency, with effect from 8/11/2004.

9/9/1994, US President Clinton, faced with an influx of 20,000 Cubans, renegotiated with Fidel Castro the return of travel restrictions on Cubans wishing to emigrate to the USA (see 11/8/1992).

11/8/1994, Fidel Castro of Cuba lifted restrictions on emigration, prompting a surge of 20,000 Cubans leaving for the USA. However see 9/9/1994.

15/6/1993, The last Russian troops left Cuba.

2/4/1989, Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Cuba, to meet Fidel Castro and try to halt the deterioration in relations between the two countries.

19/4/1982, The USA banned its citizens from tourist trips to Cuba.

1972, Cuba joined COMECON, the Communist economic bloc.

7/1/1964, In a drive to improve trade links with Europe, Cuba ordered 400 British buses.

1963, The 1,000 acre maximum private landholding in Cuba (see 5/1959) was reduced to 160 acres. This increased State landholdings from 40% to 60% of Cuba�s land.

28/4/1963, Cuban President Fidel Castro visited the USSR.

 

Cuban Missile Crisis 1962-63

19/2/1963. The USSR agreed to withdraw troops from Cuba.

24/12/1962, Cuba released the Bay of Pigs prisoners for a US$ 50 million ransom.

20/11/1962, President Kennedy lifted the blockade of Cuba, having verified that Soviet nuclear missiles had been removed.

18/11/1962. President Kennedy told a press conference that Nikita Khrushchev had told him all Soviet jet bombers would be withdrawn from Cuba within ten days.

13/11/1962. Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, warned the US reconnaissance planes would be shot down if they continued to fly over Cuba.

28/10/1962. Khrushchev began to dismantle Soviet missile bases in Cuba, so ending the Cuba Missile Crisis. Crisis; the Soviet Union simply ignored its earlier demand regarding Turkey. President Kennedy was leader of the USA at the time; on Saturday 27/10/1962 he was just about to order US air strikes on the missile bases, when on Sunday the news came that the USSR had agreed to withdraw the missiles. The USSR attempted to leverage the removal of NATO missiles from Turkey but did not achieve this. The USA had to achieve this result, for political, not military, reasons, or else how could USA support be relied upon further from home. In fact the danger from the Cuban missiles was not much greater than if the same intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from 5,000 miles away in the USSR. Actually the 40 or so missiles on Cuba would have reached the USA before any USSR-launched missiles, so acting as an early warning for the USA to launch its 1,685 missiles against the USSR. The USA did not know, however, that only a fraction of the USSR-based missiles were operational, so the 40 Cuban missiles did amount to a substantial increase in Soviet firepower against the USA.

27/10/1962, USAF Major Rudolf Anderson became the only combatant fatality of the Cuban Missile Crisis when his U-2 airplane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while he was flying over Cuba

26/10/1962, The USSR offered to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba if NATO missiles were removed from Turkey; the US rejected this idea. In fact the US had been planning to remove these missiles anyway, seeing them as obsolete; however a removal now might be seen as a victory for the Soviet Union.

24/10/1962. The USA began to blockade Cuba over the Cuban Missile Crisis. At 10.15am, 500 miles from the Cuban coastline, two Soviet merchant vessels, the Gargarin and the Komiles, encountered American warships. The Essex had orders to sink the accompanying Soviet submarines should they refuse to surface when challenged.

22/10/1962 President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba after Soviet missile sites were found there.

16/10/1962, President Kennedy saw aerial photos of Cuba which appeared to show nuclear-armed missiles being installed in Cuba.

2/9/1962. The USSR agreed to supply weapons to Cuba. This started the Cuban Missile Crisis.

29/8/1962. American spy planes took pictures of Soviet technicians constructing missile launch pads in Cuba.

29/5/1962, Nikita Kruschev of the USSR made a proposal to Fidel Castro of Cuba to station Soviet nuclear missiles there. This would, from the USSR�s stance, solve two problems; the vulnerability of Cuba to the USA, and the Soviet missile gap with America. Castro accepted, and by August 1962 the missiles began arriving. By October 1962 Cuba was hosting 162 nuclear missiles, each one 70x more powerful than the Hiroshima Bomb.

 

Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961-62

8/4/1962. In Cuba, over 1,000 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail.

17/5/1961, Fidel Castro offered to exchange prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs venture for 500 bulldozers.

17/4/1961. 1,300 Anti-Castro Cuban exiles, led by Jose Cardona, attempted to invade Cuba from the Bay of Pigs. However on 18 and 19/4/1961 the exiles were pinned down on the beach by Castro�s troops. The USA under President Kennedy backed down following Khrushchev�s declaration that the USSR would defend Cuba against the USA and the 1,200 survivors were left to their fate. They surrendered to Cuban authorities on 20/4/1961.

 

Cuban-Soviet ties reinforced; US diplomatic and trade sanctions, 1960-62

3/2/1962, President Kennedy of the USA banned all trade with Cuba. Cigar smokers were badly hit.

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3/1/1961. The US severed all diplomatic relations with Cuba.

19/10/1960. The USA imposed an embargo on shipments to Cuba, banning all exports to Cuba except food and medicine. Cuba had been buying arms from the USSR, and when the USA imposed economic sanctions by refusing to buy Cuban sugar, Castro nationalised USA businesses. Cuba also attempted to 'export Revolution', to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Nicaragua. However many young US citizens supported Castro.

 

Fidel Castro leftist reforms 1959-60

14/10/1960, Cuba nationalised all banks and major commercial enterprises.

6/8/1960. Castro nationalised all US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.

23/6/1960, Castro threatened to seize US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.

21/2/1960. Castro nationalised all private businesses in Cuba.

13/2/1960, Cuban leader Fidel Castrosigned an agreement woith the USSR. The Soviet Union would provide US$ 100 million worth of crdit to Cuba., and buy 5 million tons of Cuban sugar.

4/1/1960, The US-Cuba relationship broke up, but the US retained Guantanamo Bay.

4/6/1959. Cuba nationalised USA sugar mils in its territory.

5/1959, Cuba passed the Agrarian Reform Law, limiting private landholdings to a maximum of 1,000 acres. Some 40% of Cuba�s land now came into State ownership. Some of this land was redistributed to landless peasants but most stayed under the care of the Instituto Nacional de Reforma Agraria (INRA). See 1963. Before this reform, nine large foreign-owned sugar companies owned some 2,500,000 acres between them., with the Cuban Atlantic Company alone possessing 660,000 acres. US interests controlled, by the late 1940s, 40% of Cuban sugar production and 90% of Cuban mining. With sugar exports the main source of revenue for Cuba, the US effectively controlled the island�s economy by raising or lowering sugar imports to the US from Cuba. Following this expropriation of land, the US struck Cuba from its sugar quota import list in 1960.

15/4/1959, Castro made a State visit to the USA.

 

Fidel Castro gains power 1953-59

16/2/1959. Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. At age 32, he was the youngest ever leader of Cuba. See 1/1/1959.

8/1/1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana in triumph.

1/1/1959. The Right-wing President Fulgencio Batista of Cuba was overthrown and fled to the Dominican Republic. Fidel Castro, aged 32, proclaimed a new Government. See 16/2/1959. Castro executed his opponents and legalised the Communist Party.

17/9/1958, Fidel Castro began an offensive against the Batista regime in Cuba.

5/4/1958. Castro began 'total war' against the Cuban dictator, Batista.

3/4/1958, Castro�s revolutionary army begins its attacks on Havana.

2/4/1958. The USA embargoed arms shipments to Cuba.

27/3/1958, The Havana Hilton Hotel opened. Costing US$ 21 million, it was renamed the Havana Libre in 1959.

29/10/1957, Fulgencio Batista suspended the Cuban Constitution.

5/9/1957, Rebels under Fidel Castro, along with Cuban navy Officers, tried to seize a naval base at Cienfuegos.Forces loyal to President Batista of Cuba defeated the attempt, and the rebel leaders were executed.

28/5/1957, Fidel Castro�s forces attacked the Cuban garrison at Uvero.

13/3/1957, A student-led �Revolutionary Directorate� made an unsuccessful attempt to depose Cuban President Fulgencio Batista.The movement was violently suppressed.

2/12/1956, Fidel Castro clandestinely returned to eastern Cuba, from Mexico, landing in the yacht Gramma.He then waged an 18-month guerrilla campaign against the Batista government.See 8/1/1959. See 8/1/1959. The invasion initially suffered major setbacks, with the Gramma first delayed by storms then grounding on a mudbank where government aircraft could easily spot it. The entire invasion force of 82 men were flushed out of cane fields by government soldiers, and only 12 managed to escape to the Sierra Maestra. Here, however, Castro had friends from his childhood asa sugar farmer�s son. With the increasing support of local peasants, and by clever use of the terrain, Castro�s supporters eventually won.

1/11/1954, General Fulgencio Batista was elected President of Cuba.

26/7/1953, Fidel Castro led an assault on the Moncada Barracks; this failed, but set him up as revolutionary leader in Cuba.Castro served two years in prison before release under a general amnesty in 1955.He went into exile in Mexico where he prepared a campaign against Batista.

5/1955, General amnesty for political prisoners in Cuba. Fidel Castro was freed and left for Mexico, wherehe began plotting to overthrow Batista.

 

10/3/1952,Military coup in Cuba. President Socarra was overthrown and replaced by General Zaldivar (Fulgencio Batista y Zald�var), who had previously been ruler of Cuba, 1933-40.

8/4/1947, Following a series of killings due to labour strife, the Cuban Interior Ministry banned all political meetings that might provoke disorder.

18/11/1944, The Popular Socialist Youth organization was founded in Cuba.

10/10/1944, Ramon Grau took office as President of Cuba.

5/9/1933, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes yQuesada (1871-1939) was ousted in an army coup staged by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar (1901-73) and replaced by Professor Ramon Grau San Martin (1887-1969).

12/8/1933, In Cuba the army, led by Fulgencio Batista, and backed by the US, overthrew President Machado y Morales. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes yQuesada was installed as President, but ousted in September.

6/1933, A mediation initiative between the revoliutionary groups and the Cuban Govermnent was attempted by the Us Ambassador to Cuba, Sumner Wells (1892-1961), but a General Srtike and police brutality put an end to these negotiations.

1932, Various revolutionary groups now existed in Cuba, with some 30 to 40 thousand members in toital, most notably the ABC. Their terrorism and sabotage provoked severe reprisals from the Cuban Government.

8/1931, Anti-Morales rebels landed at the Cuban port of Gibara, seized the police station and Town Hall, distributed guns to the local population, and moved inland towards Holguin, only to be soon defeated by the Cuban Army.

1930, Student protests at the University of Havana due to Machado y Morales dictatorial policies; the university was closed.

1928, Gerardo Morales was re-elected Cuban President.

13/8/1926. Cuban revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro was born near Biran, the son of a sugar planter.

1924, Liberal candidate Gerardo Machado y Morales (1871-1939) was elected Cuban President.

20/5/1917, Menocal was inaugurated as Cuban President.

7/4/1917, Cuba declared war on Germany.

3/1917, US marines landed in the Liberal-supporting area of Santiago, Oriente Province, to crush the Liberal uprising. The US believed Menocal was more likely than Zayas to support the US war effort in Europe.

1916, In Cuban Presidential elections, the incumbent Conservative candidate, Mario Garcia Menocal (1866-1941), claimed victory over the Liberal challenger,Alfredo Zayas (1861-1934). However the election was flawed, with more votes cast than there were voters, and results lost or altered, The Cuban Supreme Court upheled a legal challenge and new elections were scheduled for 2/1917, but before they were held, Liberals started an insurrection. Jose Miguel Gomez led Liberal forces from Santa Clara towards Havana, but Menocal, with US support and arms, blocked their path.

1915, Americans owned 40% of Cuban sugar production; other foreigners owned another 20%.

31/5/1912. US marines landed in Cuba to quell a slave revolt.

 

US occupation of Cuba, 1901-06

29/9/1906, Following the resignation of President Palma of Cuba, the USA declared a provisional Government toi restore order.

5/2/1904, The US ended its occupation of Cuba.

23/2/1903, The US signed a deal with Cuba to lease 45 square miles of land at Guantanamo Bay for 2,000 gold coins (about US$ 4,000) a year. Fidel Castro later refused to accept this money.

31/12/1901, In Presidential elections in Cuba, Tomas Estrada Palma was elected.

12/6/1901, A new Constitution for Cuba was drawn up, giving the US extensive rights that made the island virtually a US protectorate.

20/5/1901, End of US military rule in Cuba. However the US was granted intervention rights and the right to use certain bases, including Guantanamo Bay.

 

16/1/1901, Fulgencio Batista, Cuban leader 1952-53, was born.

21/2/1901, Cuba became a republic.

7/11/1900, The People's Party was founded in Cuba.

5/11/1900, The Cuban Constitutional Convention began to sit, until 21/2/1901.

6/4/1900, The city of Havana, Cuba, banned the playing of African drums, a prohibition that remained in effect until 1940, when conga drums again became part of Cuban music.

1899, The USA occupied Cuba, installing an interim military government.

10/6/1898, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was first used as a camp by US troops during the Spanish-American War (see USA).

1898, The USA declared war on Spain, in support of the Cuban rebels. The US had significant financial interests in Cuba.

24/2/1895, A Cuban revolt against Spanish colonial rule began. Jose Marti landed on Cuba with a small band of rebels to start a war of independence. However Marti was killed on the first day of fighting and thousands of Cubans subsequently died in Spanish concentration camps.

10/2/1878, After some years of pro-independency insurgency in Cuba, the Spanish General Arsenio Martinez de Campos (1831-1900) concluded the Treaty of Zanjon this day with the rebels. However Spain reneged on many of the reforms promised in this Treaty, although they did abolish slavery in 1886.

31/10/1873, The Spanish in Cuba seized the steamer Virginius, a rebel-owned ship carrying arms but disguised under a false US flag.

10/10/1868, A major rebellion against Spanish rule began, initiating a 10-year civil war. Cuban patriots proclaimed a revolution at Yara, issued the Grito de Yara, demanding independence from Spain.

18/9/1810, Cuba declared independence from Spain.

Cuban independence movement begins

 

13/8/1762, The British captured Havana, Cuba, from the Spanish. HGowever it was returned to Spain under the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Slave labour and proximity to US markets ensured the prosperity of the wealthy elite in Cuba, whilst a strong Spanish garrison detereed any moves towards independence.

1515, Havana was founded by the Spanish.

1509, The Spanish began the conquest and colonisation of Cuba.

28/10/1492. Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba, believing it to be Japan.

 

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