Term Paper: United States and Fidel Castro

Pages: 8 (2464 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Anti-communism had become quite a crucial factor in the success of every administration during the Cold War. J.F. Kennedy was no different in his patriotic hatred for the communist threat. It was at this point, 1961, that Cuba became a major player in the Cold War. Castro derived much of his power from his image as a revolutionary. Kennedy opted to perceive him as a low-bound communist lackey.

To abide the anti-communist sentiment, and to compensate for his personal apprehension over an incursion of socialism in his hemisphere, Kennedy determined himself for an attack meant to topple Castro. After a long period of planning and denying, the Kennedy administration scrapped almost a year of strategizing in favor of a makeshift nighttime landing in Bay of Pigs, where the intervening American troops could land, capture the territory and insert a puppet interim government, undermining and ultimately destroying the Castro regime. The invasion become an issue of great debate in Washington, in theory not unlike the current international debate over the rightness of an invasion in Iraq. Essentially, the U.S. was determining to take pre-emptive military action in the interests of establishing a more amenable government without any genuine provocation. This became a source of much consternation for a number of Senators engaged in the debate over the properness of such an action. And as it developed into the overnight invasion of Bay of Pigs, Kennedy staffers and military strategists began to object as well, insisting that Castro's forces were being grossly underestimated.

This instinct turned out to be an accurate one as the invasion, thwarted by ready and determined Cuban fighters, became a most notorious American military failure. Over one thousand Americans were captured and the U.S. was forced to bargain for them by granting Cuba some of the financial and resource assistance that it had sought to deny them in the first place. Bay of Pigs would go down as the most glaring black eye on the face of the Kennedy administration.

It would also set the stage for the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Here, Castro would fully realize his purpose as a key firebrand in the flammable rift between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R.

At this point in history, the U.S. was well ahead of its competitor in the arms race. U.S. warheads were capable of striking any location on the globe and, most particularly, any Soviet target desired. Soviet missiles did not have said long-range capacity. Though they had long imperiled western allies in Europe and Asia, Russia could not have struck the U.S. directly. Cuba's disenfranchisement with America determined the logical conclusion of an alliance with Russia that came to the fore when American intelligence photographs began to reveal Nikita Kruschev's missiles on the Cuban mainland. This began one of the most tense two-week stretches in American history and Kruschev and Kennedy played games of brinksmanship, each pushing to make the other blink, operating on a risk nowhere short of total-annihilation. Cuba's communist leanings helped Russia to introduce a fear heretofore unbeknownst to Americans and it established a very crucial standard in the conditions between the two nations. Eventually, Kruschev and Kennedy came to terms and the missiles were dismantled. But relations between Cuba and the U.S., while varying from one decade to next in intensity, have never recovered.

Incidences such as the 1996 dispute over Elian Gonzalez and the more recent Cuban irritation over American use of Guantanamo Bay as prison facilities for War on Terror POWs indicate that the inflammation of tensions is always possible. And this danger is naturally much greater by virtue of the anti-American resentment that echoes throughout the neighboring island nation.

Given America's insistent intervention, it's difficult to give Castro's effectiveness a fair evaluation. He has represented all the aspirations that Cuba once had, and may have again, to be a haven for socialist ideas. A successful execution has been most elusive though. Castro has been guilty of a number of human rights violations that would seem to violate the principle of humanity underlying his revolutionary ethos. But the failure of Cuba to succeed as he and his followers once hoped to do has not been for Castro's lack of effort, sincerity or capability. Castro happens to be the rare exception. He is a leader opposed by the United States that has been in power for over forty years. Those are few and far in between, and are usually in constant jeopardy. He, thus, stands alone and unwanted. He has persisted, though often in a visibly disillusioned state, to lead a country in spite of the sanctions it has been saddled with. The United States has made every effort to restrict Cuba's growth and development and have accomplished much of that. So while Castro is a theoretically positive entity for Cuba, and idealistic and talented politician with the cunning and ideology to capitalize on revolution, in practice he draws so much disdain from the United States as to make him a liability to the Cuban people. Castro is much aged now, as is the conflict between the two nations. It has even gained a bit of steam as the current administration seeks to inflame all nations outside of the global economy. Cuba still rests on the periphery. And the standing relationship between Cuba and America is focused on the optimistic though somewhat hazy premise that Fidel Castro can't live forever.

Bibliographies and Sources can be found and printed at the following sites:

Source 1. http://www.state.gov/www/regions/wha/cuba/policy.html

Source 2. http://travel.state.gov/cuba.html

Source 3. http://qbanrum.tripod.com/cuba-1.html

Source 4. http://isla.igc.org/Features/Cuba/cuba2.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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