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Posted May 16, 2003 by publisher in US Embargo

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HAVANA—Washington’s expulsion of 14 Cuban diplomats announced Tuesday was the latest flash point in a long stormy relationship between two Cold War foes that began with Fidel Castro’s 1959 Cuban Revolution.

The two neighbors have bickered and feuded for four decades across the Florida Straits. The following is a summary of key events in Cuba-U.S. relations since 1959:

Jan. 1, 1959 - Castro and his rebel army take power after U.S.-backed right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista flees island.
Jan. 3, 1961 - Washington breaks diplomatic ties with Cuba.

April 16, 1961 - Castro declares Cuba a socialist workers state as his troops fight off a CIA-backed Cuban exile invasion force at the Bay of Pigs.

Jan., 1962 - At U.S. prompting, the Organization of American States suspends communist Cuba from the hemispheric body.

Feb. 7, 1962 - Full U.S. trade embargo imposed on Cuba.

October 1962 - Soviet missiles in Cuba provoke standoff between Moscow and Washington, taking world to brink of nuclear war. Russia withdraws missiles after U.S. naval quarantine.

Sept. 1, 1977 - Low-level diplomatic missions, or Interests’ Sections, established in Havana and Washington.

April-September 1980 - Cuba allows mass exodus of 125,000 people to Florida, mostly via Mariel port west of Havana.

Oct. 23, 1992 - President George Bush signs Torricelli law to tighten embargo on Cuba, which faces a severe economic crisis since collapse of the Soviet bloc.

August, Sept. 1994 - More than 35,000 flee Cuba on flimsy boats. Washington and Havana sign migration accord to stem exodus and agree minimum of 20,000 U.S. visas per year for Cubans.

Feb. 24, 1996 - Cuban fighters shoot down two small U.S. planes in the Florida Straits belonging to Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue. Four crew members killed.

March 12, 1996 - President Clinton signs Helms-Burton law allowing United States to penalize foreign companies investing in Cuban property seized after the revolution.

June 28, 2000 - After bitter seven-month custody dispute, which prompted furious campaigns by Havana and Miami exiles, motherless Cuban shipwreck survivor 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez flies home to live with his father.

Oct. 28, 2000 - Clinton signs law to allow food and agricultural sales to Cuba for first time in four decades.

May 20, 2002 - President George W. Bush, backed by Castro’s exiled opponents in Florida, vows to veto any further easing of sanctions and to step up support for political change in Cuba.

March 6, 2003 - Castro threatens to shut down U.S. Interests Section in Havana, calling it a breeding ground for dissidents.

March 18, 2003 - Castro launches biggest political crackdown in decades, jailing 75 dissidents for terms of up to 28 years for collaborating with Washington to undermine his one-party state.

April 11, 2003 - Cuba executes three men who hijacked a commuter ferry in a failed bid to reach the Florida keys.

April 25, 2003 - Castro defends executions and accuses the Bush administration of encouraging hijackings and a mass exodus to justify a U.S. military intervention after the Iraq war.

May 13, 2003 - U.S. expels 14 Cuban diplomats.

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