From the time, Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba tensions ran high between the Cuban government and the United States government. Relations between Cuba and the United States grew during Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Not as much during the Eisenhower administration as the Kennedy administration did tensions between between the two countries intensify. Kennedy faced many a different situations as President. He faced such situations like the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Tensions have mounted high for a long time between Cuba and the United States.
Towards the end of President Eisenhower’s second term he ran into the increasingly strident attacks from the radical Fidel Castro. Eisenhower outwardly ignored the comments made by Castro. Many criticized Eisenhower for provoking and tolerating the comments. Even though he chose to ignore the comments made by the radical Castro he was well aware of the situations that came before him about the happenings of Cuba. The CIA came to him on a few occasions with plans for overthrowing Castro’s regime. The CIA came up with the idea of spraying a chemical into the broadcasting room. The plan was thrown out because of its unreliability (M&P 383). They also came up with the idea of poisoning a box of Castro’s favorite cigars, enlisting members of an underground criminal syndicate to assassinate Castro, and putting a poisoned pill in Castro’s drink (M&P 384). In March of 1960 President Eisenhower asked the CIA to form a facility for the training of the Cuban exiles. The training was to take place in Guatemala in case a future date should come when they wanted to return to their homeland. Eisenhower made it clear that the involvement of the United States in this mission should be kept secret. If it was to become know that the United States was involved in the training of the exiles they might have faced retaliation from the Soviet Union.The training of the exiles took place towards the end of Eisenhower’s term as President of the United States. He took very few steps in the direction of having the exiles return to Cuba to overthrow Castro.
The training took place when President Eisenhower was leaving office and President-elect Kennedy was coming into office. Upon coming into office, President Kennedy was told of the training of Cuban exiles in Guatemala by CIA director Allen Dulles. Kennedy gave his approval for the training of the exiles to continue. He later went to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to evaluate the situation. They came to the conclusion that even though the CIA was training the exiles they wouldn’t have a very good chance of succeeding in overthrowing the dictator of Cuba. They felt that even to have a chance of success they would need the people still living in Cuba, who were unhappy with the government, to rebel at the same time they were to come ashore (Think Quest). After Kennedy had a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff the President Guatemala ordered the CIA and the Cuban exiles out of his country. Kennedy was forced to make a quick decision. The president was then informed that the Cubans were receiving a shipment of fighter crafts from the Soviets. After this President Kennedy got this news he gave the green light for the mission, but had the right to cancel the mission with 24 hours notice (think quest). A few days before the actual invasion took place there was a series of bombings took place on strategic military bases in Cuba.The bombing was rather unsuccessful. They were supposed to take out the Cuban fighter planes, but only took out a few planes. To conceal the identity of the B-26 bombers the United States were using to drop the bombs the planes were painted to resemble planes in the Cuban air force (bay of Pigs Invasion).The idea was for the planes to look like defective Cuban pilots that turned against their government. When the planes left they flew in the direction of Miami. The invasion took place on April 17th. Being well aware of the invasion Castro had his troops waiting for the exiles to come ashore. The exiles were quickly met with resistance. Castro’s Army quickly rounded up the exiles that were trying to invade.Cuban aircraft were also successful in destroying a ship carrying ammunitions for the exiles.
After the Cuban army squashed the exile uprising, it was impossible for the United States to keep its involvement in the coup a secret any longer. The United States was met with international opposition after this incident. Also the United States broke its relations with Russia and Cuba. Many feel that Kennedy is to blame for the broken relations and encouraged Khrushchev to place missiles in Cuba.
There were two reasons to why the Soviets deployed nuclear missiles to Cuba. The first was Soviet insecurities and the other was the fear of losing Cuba in an invasion by the United States. The reason for the Soviet insecurities was because the United States had a lot of missiles in Turkey pointed towards Russia. What Khrushchev was really worried about was the possibility that the U.S. would strike first. The second reason really resolves around the Fidel Castro and Cuba. He was well aware of the fact that the United States has wanted him out of power ever since he came to power. He knew this because there was several times the U.S. tried to get rid Castro. The Bay of Pigs was one and Operation Mongoose was another. With the knowledge of all these events Khrushchev came up with a plan that could counter the United States presence in Turkey.This is what led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
When the presence of the Soviet Union was detected great concern for the safety of the citizens of the United States arose. Since Cuba is only ninety miles from the shores of the United States there was cause for even more concern then usual. According to Khrushchev’s memoirs, Russia placed it nuclear capable missiles on Cuban soil to counter the moves of the United States developing and deploying missiles (Cuban Missile Crisis). The Russians moved fast trying to get their missiles into Cuba so that the United States didn’t notice. Kennedy later received reconnaissance photos of Soviet nuclear bases in Cuba. Now knowing that Russia was placing nuclear missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy and his advisers went into an intense meeting for seven days to try and determine what they should do about this situation. During this meeting Russia denied the allegations that they were putting missiles in Cuba. Kennedy acted accordingly to the situation. He went on national television and told the nation about the situation that has arisen. He stated that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be considered a blatant attack against the United States by the Russians (Cuban Missile Crisis). To avoid the continuation of Russian munitions into Cuba the U.S. Navy sent a fleet of ships to Cuba to form a blockade. During the time of the crisis, the President and the Premier of Russia were sending each other letters and other forms of communication. Khrushchev sent in his letters the reasons why there were so many Russian nuclear weapons in Cuba. Khrushchev sent a few more letters in which he stated that the launch sites would be dismantled if the United States gave its word that it would not invade Cuba. Another letter stated that they would dismantle launch sites if the United States moved their nuclear capable missile out of Turkey. Kennedy decided to go along with the first stipulation and ignore the second. There were more negations held after the letters stopped. They were held to reaffirm the agreements held between Russia and the United States (Cuban Missile Crisis). During this meeting the United States added the condition that the Russians were to remove their bombers from Cuba also. For several days the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Precautions were taken with every thing that involved the U.S. foreign relations. President didn’t want to make any sudden moves that would force the Russians to launch their nuclear missiles at the United States.With the issues at hand resolved for the mean time Kennedy could try and work on repairing relations with Cuba and Russia.
For the most part, the Cold War destroyed relations between Cuba and the United States. Even today the United States has foreign relation problems with Cuba. On any given day in the news you can see the case where a small boy is caught in the middle of an international debate. Perhaps if relations between Cuba and the United States were better this young boy could be with his father already. This is showing us that there are still gaps that need to be bridged between the United States and Cuba.