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Posted February 26, 2004 by publisher in Cuban History

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The U.S. joins Cuba’s with Spain after the U.S. battleship Maine is blown up in Havana harbor. Spain loses.

A U.S. military government controls Cuba.

Cuba adopts a constitution allowing the U.S. to intervene in Cuban affairs and prohibiting Cuba from entering treaties or financial relationships with other countries.

The U.S. receives a permanent lease on Guantanamo Bay and begins to build a large naval base there.

U.S. troops return to Cuba, and a government headed by an American rules Cuba until 1909.

Military strongman Fulgencio Batista leads a coup overthrowing the liberal government of Gerardo Machado. His dictatorship is backed by the U.S.


Fidel Castro leads a rebellion against Batista, fails, and is imprisoned.


Batista releases Castro from prison.


Castro, “Che” Guevara, and a band of revolutionaries leave Mexico for Cuba to launch guerrilla war against Batista.


The U.S. withdraws military aid to Batista.


Castro leads a guerrilla army into Havana, forcing Batista to flee.


Castro declares Cuba Communist. Cuban exiles backed by the CIA invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs but are defeated by Castro’s army.


U.S. begins a trade embargo. Cuban Missile Crisis begins when President Kennedy announces there are Soviet missiles in Cuba.


The embargo is tightened; most travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens is banned.


Terrorists attack a Cuban airliner renewing tensions between Cuba and the U.S. Former CIA employee Louis Posada Carriles is tried for the crime.


Mariel Boatlift begins a migration of more than 125,000 Cubans to the U.S.


The Soviet Union dissolves. Cuba loses its most important source of aid, and its economy suffers greatly. U.N. Commission on Human Rights finds no evidence of human rights abuses in Cuba.


Congress tightens U.S. embargo by prohibiting transactions between U.S. foreign subsidiaries and Cuba. United Nations condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba.


Cuban reforms allow some workers to start private businesses. Cuba holds first popular election since the revolution. Elections consist of one candidate per position with voters choosing to elect or reject the candidate.


Cuba and the U.S. reach an agreement. The U.S. will admit at least 20,000 Cuban immigrants annually. In return, Cuba pledges to do more to prevent illegal departures.


Cuba shoots down two Anti-Castro civilian aircraft. Congress passes the Helms-Burton Act, granting U.S. citizens the right to sue foreign investors profiting from expropriated U.S. assets.


Pope John Paul II visits Cuba, an historic event because Castro outlawed religious freedom in the 1960s. The pope attacks the U.S. embargo and calls on Castro to loosen political restrictions and embrace pluralism.


Elin Gonzlez , a 6-year-old illegal immigrant, is rescued off Florida, sparking controversy about how the U.S. should handle Cuban exiles; Elin is returned to his father in Cuba in 2000.

October 2000

U.S. House approves sale of food and medicines to Cuba.

November 2001

U.S. exports food to Cuba for the first time in more than 40 years after Cuba requests help in wake of Hurricane Michelle.

January 2002

Prisoners taken during U.S.-led action in Afghanistan are flown to Guantanamo for interrogation as al-Qaida suspects.

May 2002

State Department official John Bolton accuses Cuba of trying to develop biological weapons, adding the country to Washington’s list of “axis of evil” countries.

May 2002

Jimmy Carter makes goodwill visit that includes tour of scientific centers, in response to U.S. allegations about biological weapons. Carter is first former or serving U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1959.

October 2003

President George Bush announces fresh measures designed to hasten the end of communist rule in Cuba, including tightening a travel embargo, cracking down on illegal cash transfers, and a propaganda campaign aimed at Cuba.

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