Cuba

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Overview
<div>No country in Latin America has had as long and contentious a relationship with the United States as Cuba. Because of its close proximity to the US (90 miles from Florida), Cuba has had the US looking over its shoulder for more than a century. Beginning with the Spanish-American War in 1898, the US became closely involved in Cuban affairs after it pushed Spain off the island nation and turned it into an American protectorate. Those who ruled Cuba during the first half of the 20th Century, especially Fulgencio Batista, did so ruthlessly, gaining the scorn of the Cuban people and the indifference of American officials who only cared about securing US business interests. When Batista was overthrown by Fidel Castro in 1959 and a Communist system of government put into place, American officials were alarmed, if not outraged. Thinking it could derail Castro&rsquo;s socialist revolution, the US trained Cuban exiles to carry out an ill-fated coup attempt in April 1961 that only strengthened Castro&rsquo;s power and left officials in Washington, DC, humiliated.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Unable to remove Castro from power, the US government set out to isolate Cuba internationally, which actually pushed Cuba closer to the Soviet Union and led to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the most serious case of nuclear brinkmanship between the two superpowers. Shortly after that, the US imposed a trade embargo against Cuba that has lasted to this day. Many Cubans who have fled the country have settled in Florida and become a vocal and important political bloc in US politics. US politicians who dare take anything less than a hard-line attitude towards the Cuban government run the risk of alienating the Cuban-American community and their important swing vote in presidential elections. With the resignation of Fidel Castro from Cuba&rsquo;s top post in 2008 due to health reasons, some observers have wondered if the day will soon come for more normalized relations between the US and Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Basic Information
<p><b>Lay of the Land</b>: Cuba is a long, slender, crescent-shaped island on the north edge of the Caribbean, 90 miles south of Key West, Florida, and about 100 miles east of Mexico's Yucat&aacute;n Peninsula.&nbsp;It is the most westerly of the West Indies and by far the largest.&nbsp;In general, the terrain is gently rolling, but there are mountainous areas, notably the Sierra Maestra in what was formerly Oriente Province in the southeast, Castro's base of operations during the revolution.&nbsp;Cuba has more than 2,000 miles of coastline, with many bays, inlets, and good natural harbors.&nbsp;Cuba's climate tends to the tropical, but the fact that it is an island moderates the temperature significantly.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 11.4 million</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Catholic 45.0%, Protestant (predominately Baptist, Pentecostal) 12.8%, Spiritist (Santeria) 17.2%, Chinese Universalist 0.2%, Hindu 0.2%, Buddhist 0.1%, Muslim 0.1%, non religious 24.5%.&nbsp;Some sources indicate that as much as 70% of the population practices Santeria in addition to or independently of other beliefs.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Spanish (official) 88.5%, Lucumi.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History
<div>When Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba on October 27, 1492, the island was inhabited by approximately 200,000 indigenous people. In 1511, Diego Vel&aacute;zquez de Cu&eacute;llar led the Spanish invasion of the island and became the first Spanish governor. Before long, the vast majority of the native people had been killed or enslaved.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Exports of sugar, coffee and tobacco to Europe and North America began soon after. By the 1820s, much of Spain&rsquo;s Latin American empire was rebelling against Spanish rule. Cuba, however, remained loyal to Spain, due in part to Cuba&rsquo;s dependence on export trade to Europe. But loyalty to Spain was also influenced by Cuban anxiety of the United States&rsquo; burgeoning power, which was feared more than Spanish rule was disliked. This fear was not unfounded. Throughout the 19th century, Southern politicians had their sights set on Cuba. Their goal was to strengthen pro-slavery forces in the US through the appropriation of Cuba. These efforts failed, as did those of US President James K. Polk when, in the summer of 1848, he offered to buy Cuba from Spain for $100 million.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>After several failed attempts by Cuba to rebel against Spain and reclaim independence, the Independence War began in 1895. The war would lead to Cuban independence, but would also cost hundreds of thousands of lives and ultimately involve the US. Between 1895 and 1898, Spain&rsquo;s brutally repressive tactics involved corralling the rural population into <i>reconcentrados</i>, or camps, that often compared to 20th Century concentration camps. More than 300,000 Cuban civilians died as a result of conditions at the <i>reconcentrados</i>.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>European and American sentiment was stirred by the situation in Cuba, but no assistance was offered to Cuba short of diplomatic pressure placed on Spain. However, on January 25, 1898, the US battleship <i>Maine</i> pulled into Havana in order to protect the 8,000 American residents on the island. The Spanish and their Cuban supporters regarded the <i>Maine<b>&rsquo;s</b></i> presence as intimidation. When the <i>Maine</i> mysteriously blew up on February 15, 1898, Some factions in the US blamed Spain and urged intervention in Cuba. Although there was no evidence that pointed to Spanish involvement, US fervor for war escalated, resulting in the Spanish-American War in June 1898.&nbsp;Shortly after US troops landed in Cuba, they overtook the exhausted Spanish military and by August, a peace treaty was signed and Spain agreed to withdraw.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The 1930s marked a turning point in Cuba&rsquo;s history. In 1933, Cuban students and intellectuals successfully revolted against the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado y Morales, forcing him to flee the country on August 12.&nbsp;Backed by the US, Carlos Manuel de C&eacute;spedes claimed power, but was overthrown on September 4 by military sergeant Fulgencio Batista. Through this victory, Batista incorporated the military into the government, instituting de facto military rule of Cuba from 1933-1940. Batista officially ruled Cuba as president from 1940-1944 and allied Cuba with the US during WWII.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cuba was ruled by two democratically elected presidents from 1944 until 1952. With the election cycle of 1952, Batista made another grab at the presidency.&nbsp;When it became clear that he did not have the votes, Batista staged a coup and installed himself in power. Batista ruled under a brutal right-wing dictatorship that polarized the Cuban population and resulted in the destruction of the military and most other Cuban institutions. The US, however, backed Batista&rsquo;s regime.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro led a failed attack to topple the government in which more than 100 died. After defending himself in a trial open to national and international media, he was convicted and jailed. He was subsequently freed in an act of clemency and went &nbsp;into exile in Mexico. There he organized the &ldquo;26th of July Movement&rdquo; with the goal of overthrowing Batista, and the group returned to Cuba in 1956.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By 1959, American companies controlled 80-100% of utilities, mines, ranches and oil refineries, 40% of the sugar industry and 50% of public railways. In this climate, Fidel Castro successfully revolted against the US-backed Batista government and installed himself as prime minister in 1959.&nbsp;The Castro regime soon began to nationalize property, expropriating businesses and investments owned by both Cubans and the US. This convinced much of Cuba&rsquo;s middle and upper classes to leave the country. Between 1959 and 1999, more than one million Cubans fled to various countries around the world. Many of these Cubans traveled the 90 miles from Cuba to Florida and settled in Miami. Relations between the US and Cuba rapidly deteriorated and on October 19, 1960, the US imposed an embargo on Cuba. The embargo forced Cuba to seek out other trading partners, primarily the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>After seizing control, Castro was determined to protect his rule from all external and internal threats. With Castro&rsquo;s blessing, interior minister Ramiro Vald&eacute;s created a new secret police organization, the G-2, which was supported by the creation of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs), whose task it was to track down suspected saboteurs and traitors. Like Batista before him, Castro soon began to silence critical media, shutting down newspapers, radio stations and television stations.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>One of Castro&rsquo;s closest allies was Che Guevara, an Argentinean who had come to Cuba to help Castro overthrow the Bautista regime. It wasn&rsquo;t long, though, after Castro rose to power that the two men began to have a falling out. Disagreements over Cuban agriculture led to Guevara being sent abroad to help support Marxist revolutionary movements in Africa. Guevara&rsquo;s critical remarks about the Soviet Union&rsquo;s agricultural policies created an even wider rift between him and Castro, and by 1965, the two men were no longer friends. Guevara returned to South America, where he was hunted down and killed by Bolivian soldiers (trained by the US Army and CIA) in 1966.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Meanwhile, back in Cuba, Castro had announced sweeping changes to the agrarian system, embarking on what would be a series of agricultural fiascos. The Cuban trade deficit with the USSR had mushroomed to $4 billion, so Castro tried to increase agricultural production.&nbsp;His first plan revolved around the sugar harvest, and he announced a target of 5.5 million tons for 1965, increasing to 7 million tons and eventually reaching 10 million tons by 1970.&nbsp;Castro called 1970 &ldquo;the year of the ten million tons,&rdquo; but from the beginning, more realistic observers doubted whether the target could be achieved. Castro poured all of Cuba&rsquo;s energy into the sugar cane harvest, leaving almost all other economic activity at a standstill. Virtually the entire Cuban population, including mothers and their children, pensioners, white collar workers, and the military, was put to work cutting cane. Even visiting foreign dignitaries were asked to cut cane, and Castro himself cut for four hours almost every day.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Christmas was abolished for 1969, and growing cycles were changed to allow for more production. With so much effort going into cutting cane, the rest of the Cuban economy fell between 20-40%. Worse yet, it soon became clear that the target was indeed impossible to achieve. In July 1970, Fidel was forced to announce that the ten million tons had been a failure.&nbsp;In his usual style, he made an impassioned plea to the people and announced his resignation.&nbsp;The Cuban population responded with their support and he quickly returned to power.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the 1970s, Castro emerged on the world stage as a spokesman for Third World anti-imperialist governments. Cuba&rsquo;s isolation also receded as Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries began to renew relations. But during the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba remained dependant on Soviet Union funding, and this economic tension, coupled with political tensions, fueled waves of emigration out of Cuba. Many of these immigrants attempted and succeeded in making the 90-mile journey to Florida, creating the large Cuban-American community in the US today. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Cuba plummeted into economic crisis.&nbsp;But by the late 1990s, Cuba had restored economic relations with most Latin American countries, China, and the European Union. Although the US continues to enforce an embargo against Cuba, recent oil discoveries have prompted some members of the US Congress to call for the embargo to be lifted.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Following intestinal surgery from an undisclosed digestive illness, Castro transferred his responsibilities to his younger brother, Ra&uacute;l Castro, on July 31, 2006. On February 19, 2008, five days before his mandate was to expire, Fidel announced he would neither seek nor accept a new term as either president or commander-in-chief. On February 24, 2008, the National Assembly elected Ra&uacute;l Castro to succeed him as the president of Cuba. Fidel remains First Secretary of the Communist Party.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.ditext.com/zinn/zinn16.html">A People&rsquo;s War</a> (by Howard Zinn)</div> <div><a href="http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:Ia8fpyUu0zQJ:edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FE479+us+companies+ownership+of+cuban+business+1959&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;cd=8&amp;gl=us">Cuban Agriculture Before 1959: The Political and Economic Situations</a> by Jos&eacute; Alvarez, University of Florida)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/volume_vi/exchanges.html">Correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/bayofpigs/">National Security Archives Conference on the Bay of Pigs</a></div> <div><a href="http://search.archives.gov/query.html?qt=bay+of+pigs&amp;col=1arch&amp;rq=0&amp;qs=&amp;qc=1arch&amp;qc=2pres&amp;pw=100%25&amp;ws=0&amp;la=&amp;qm=0&amp;st=1&amp;nh=10&amp;lk=1&amp;rf=0&amp;oq=&amp;rq=0&amp;qp=">National Archives - Bay of Pigs</a></div> <div><a href="http://search.archives.gov/query.html?qt=cuban+missile+crisis&amp;col=1arch&amp;rq=0&amp;qs=&amp;qc=1arch&amp;qc=2pres&amp;pw=100%25&amp;ws=0&amp;la=&amp;qm=0&amp;st=1&amp;nh=10&amp;lk=1&amp;rf=0&amp;oq=&amp;rq=0&amp;qp=">National Archives - Cuban Missile Crisis</a></div> <div><span style="font-size: small">&nbsp;</span></div> <p><span style="font-size: small">&nbsp;</span></p>
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Cuba's Newspapers
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Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} </style> <![endif]--></meta> </meta> </meta> </meta> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/cuba.htm">Cuba's Newspapers</a></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Cuba
<p>Following the Spanish-American War, the US was split over its decision of what to do with Cuba. Some favored independence while others wanted blatant annexation. In a compromise, President William McKinley put Cuba under a 20-year US treaty, much to the chagrin of the Cuban independence movement. The treaty was negated a few years later when Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency after McKinley. Roosevelt had fought in the Spanish-American War and was sympathetic to Cuba&rsquo;s move towards independence. He abandoned the treaty and Cuba attained formal independence on May 20, 1902. However, under the new constitution, the US retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and oversee its finances and foreign relations. <a href="http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1901platt.html">The Platt Amendment</a> leased Guant&aacute;namo Bay to the US. <span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US soon exercised its right to intervene when veterans from the Independence War with Spain engaged in armed revolt following disputed elections in 1906. The US stepped in and put Governor Charles Edward Magoon in charge of Cuba. Magoon retained this post until 1908, when Cuban elections were again held and Jos&eacute; Miguel G&oacute;mez assumed the presidency.&nbsp;</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>In April 1959, less than four months after taking control of Cuba, Castro made his first visit as head of state to the United States. He was welcomed with open arms, both by the American public and the Cuban exile population, and more than 30,000 people came to see his opening speech in Central Park. The US government, on the other hand, played it cooler. President Dwight Eisenhower went on a golfing vacation, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to meet with Castro. In fact, the CIA was already making plans for Castro&rsquo;s removal, and the US government applied pressure to block the international sale of arms to Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By January 1961, the US broke all diplomatic relations with Cuba. Dating back to March 1960, President Eisenhower had authorized a plan created by the CIA to mobilize Cuban exiles for a revolt against Fidel Castro. The CIA then began to recruit and train revolutionary forces comprised mainly of Cuban exiles in the Sierra Madre on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.&nbsp;The original plan called for a preliminary air strike carried out by the US government to target the Cuban air force and airfields. The exile forces were then to land on the island of Trinidad, which would provide safe haven for a retreat if it became necessary. However, by the time the operation was supposed to begin, President John F. Kennedy was in office and had decided that the invasion shouldn&rsquo;t be overtly connected to the US. So the air strikes were called off and the landing point was moved to the Bay of Pigs (Playa G&iacute;ron).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On April 16, 1961, the day before Kennedy gave the green light for the invasion, Castro officially began to convert Cuba into a one-party communist system, and weeks later, Castro declared Cuba a socialist republic.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On April 17, the US government sent 1,511 Cuban exiles to the Bay of Pigs, where they intended to carry out their attack. The exiles had no air support and no political support among the local population. By this time, Castro had heard of the invasion and arrested any possible allies of the exile forces. The exiles were instead met by Castro&rsquo;s military, who were manning tanks from the USSR. In spite of this, Kennedy decided against supporting the exiles with marine or air power, in order to avoid overt American intervention.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Bay of Pigs concluded with 104 of the Cuban exiles dead and all others arrested. In December 1962, 1,113 of the prisoners were returned to the US in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine. All of the funds were raised by private donation.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>US pressure on Latin America to isolate Cuba strengthened Havana&rsquo;s pre-existing ties with the Soviet Union. The USSR felt threatened by the nuclear missiles the US had placed in Turkey and the Middle East, and Castro agreed to let the USSR reciprocate by placing nuclear missiles in Cuba.&nbsp;This decision resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis (known in Cuba as the October Crisis and in Russia as the Caribbean Crisis), wherein the US debated whether to bomb Cuba in response to the Soviet nukes and Castro was prepared to bomb the US. History has shown that the standoff left the US minutes away from destruction by nuclear warhead, and Cuba minutes away from total annihilation by the same means. On October 28, 1962, after two weeks of confrontation, President Kennedy struck a deal with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev whereby both sides agreed to remove their respective nuclear weapons from Cuba and Turkey. Kennedy also agreed not to invade Cuba, and this acquiescence resulted in a tentative restoration of relations between the US and Cuba.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Relations deteriorated again in 1963 when Castro moved Cuba towards a complete Communist system modeled after the Soviet Union. At this time, the US imposed a complete diplomatic and commercial embargo on Cuba. Although US manipulation was sufficiently strong in Latin America at this time to convince most countries to model the US embargo, the governments of these countries did not necessarily share the United States&rsquo; fear of Cuba. Officials in Washington, DC, despised Castro so much that several secret attempts were made to assassinate him.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Marita Lorenz, Fidel Castro&rsquo;s former translator and lover, was recruited by the CIA in a plot to kill Castro using a pill made from shellfish toxin. At the last moment, however, she could not bring herself to go through with the plan, and instead flushed the pill down the toilet.&nbsp;Two years later, a barman by the name of Santos de la Caridad was hired to slip a botulism pill into Castro&rsquo;s milkshake during his weekly visit to the bar.&nbsp;The plan was foiled when the pills stuck to the inside of the freezer and shattered as they were being removed. Other CIA assassination ideas included a plan to give Castro a box of poisoned cigars, another to coat the inside of his diving suit with tuberculosis bacteria and a third involving a rifle disguised as a television camera. The CIA even devised a plan to slip Castro a substance that would make his beard fall out, thus humiliating him and causing him to lose the respect of the Cuban people.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Although the US eventually gave up trying to kill Castro, relations between Washington and Havana did not improve in the succeeding decades. In the 1970s, during the Nixon administration, the United States and Cuba began to explore normalizing relations, but the talks were suspended in 1975 when Cuba launched a large-scale intervention in Angola.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In the 1980s immigration became a heated problem for US-Cuban relations. In 1980 the Cuban government allowed 125,000 Cubans to depart for the United States from the port of Mariel, an incident known as the &ldquo;Mariel boatlift.&rdquo; A number of criminals and mentally ill persons were involuntarily included. Quiet efforts to explore the prospects for improving relations were initiated in 1981-1982 under the Reagan administration, but the talks went nowhere.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The 1990s witnessed another migration crisis that set back US-Cuban relations. When demonstrations fueled by food shortages and prolonged unannounced blackouts erupted in Havana in August 1994, the Cuban Government responded by allowing some 30,000 Cubans to set sail for the United States, many in unsafe boats and rafts, which resulted in a number of deaths at sea. In September 1994 and May 1995 the two countries signed accords with the goal of cooperating to ensure safe, legal and orderly migration.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On February 24, 1996, the Cuban military shot down two US registered civil aircraft in international airspace, killing three American citizens and one US resident. In response to the attack, Congress and President Clinton passed the <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c104:H.R.927.ENR:">Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act</a>, also known as the Libertad Act. The legislation, among other provisions, codified the US trade embargo into law and imposed additional sanctions on the Cuban regime.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2000, yet another immigration fight broke out between the US and Cuban governments, this time over a six-year-old boy named Eli&aacute;n Gonz&aacute;lez. Having arrived in Florida in an inner tube, after his mother and other &eacute;migr&eacute;s died trying to reach the American shore, Gonz&aacute;lez was taken in by relatives in Miami, who argued the boy was better off staying with them in the US. Eli&aacute;n&rsquo;s father disagreed and the Cuban government insisted on the boy&rsquo;s return. After many months of political bickering, the Clinton administration agreed to send Gonz&aacute;lez back to Cuba, much to the consternation of the Cuban-American community in Florida.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/17/world/main4185799.shtml">Elian Gonzalez Joins The Communist Party</a> (CBS News)</div> <div><a href="http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Caribbean/USEconomicSanctions_Cuba.html">U.S. Economic sanctions against Cuba: objectives of an imperialist policy</a> (by Salim Lamrani, Third World Traveler)</div> <div><a href="http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/funfacts/guantan.htm">Notes on Guant&aacute;namo Bay</a> (by J.A. Sierra, History of Cuba.com)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Cuba
<p>&nbsp;</p> <div><b>Noted Cuban-Americans</b></div> <div><b>Athletes</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Canseco"><b>Jos&eacute; Canseco</b></a><b>-</b> MLB outfielder and author of the tell-all book <i>Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits &amp; How Baseball Got Big,</i> notable for his discussion of his steroid use and personal life.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Palmeiro"><b>Rafael Palmeiro</b></a>- MLB first baseman, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ranks tenth in homerun history with 569 home runs, and is only the fourth player in history to join both the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/500_home_run_club">500 home run club</a> and the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3000_hit_club">3000 hit club</a>.</div> <div><b>Orlando &ldquo;El Duque&rdquo; Hernandez</b>- MLB pitcher best known for starting for the New York Yankees and leading them to three consecutive World Series titles from 1998 through 2000.</div> <div><b>Tony Perez</b>- Seven-time All Star MLB player, was also voted MVP of the All-Star game in 1967 and has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.</div> <div><b>Minnie Mi&ntilde;oso</b>- MLB star player, one of two players to play in five decades, from 1949-1980. He was one of the first prominent players in the MLB of African descent and has been honored with numerous awards over the course of his career, include being selected 7 times as an All-Star player.</div> <div><b>Tony Oliva</b>- MLB 8-time All Star player who had a 15 year career playing for the Minnesota Twins from 1962-1976.</div> <div><b>Pablo Morales</b>- Olympic swimmer, won the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly in a 1992 comeback after failing to quality for the 1988 Olympics.</div> <div><b>Jennifer Rodriguez</b>- Olympic speed skater, won two bronze models in the 2002 Salt Lake City winter games.</div> <div><b>Luis Tiant</b>- MLB pitcher active from 1964-1982, known for his unique pitching style and impressive shut-out records.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Business</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Alarcon"><b>Raul Alarcon</b></a>- President and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEO">CEO</a> of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Broadcasting_System">Spanish Broadcasting System</a>, one of the largest broadcasting companies in the United States.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Figueredo"><b>Jorge Figueredo</b></a>- Senior Vice President of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dow_Jones">Dow Jones</a>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_C._Goizueta"><b>Robert C. Goizueta</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEO">CEO</a> of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coca-Cola_Company">the Coca-Cola Company</a> from 1980-1997</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Quesada"><b>Joe Quesada</b></a>- Prominent cartoon artist and Editor-in-chief of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Comics">Marvel Comics</a>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Reyes"><b>George Reyes</b></a>- Former <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Financial_Officer">Chief Financial Officer</a> of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google">Google</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Education</b></div> <div><b>Dr. </b><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_J._Borjas"><b>George J. Borjas</b></a>- Prominent economist at Harvard University, known for his work on immigration economics.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Entertainment</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desi_Arnaz"><b>Desi Arnaz</b></a>- Actor and musician, most famous for his work the classic 50s TV show &ldquo;I Love Lucy&rdquo; with his wife Lucille Ball.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosario_Dawson"><b>Rosario Dawson</b></a>- Part-Cuban actress who has appeared in hit movies such as <i>Rent</i> and <i>Sin City</i>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_Diaz"><b>Cameron Diaz</b></a>- Half-Cuban on her father&rsquo;s side, Diaz is one of Hollywood&rsquo;s most popular and highest paid actresses. Known for her roles in blockbusters such as the Charlie&rsquo;s Angels movies and comedies such as <i>There&rsquo;s Something About Mary</i> and the Shrek movies.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Garcia"><b>Andy Garcia</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award">Academy Award</a>-nominated actor, has appeared in the Godfather series and the &ldquo;Ocean&rsquo;s&rdquo; series with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Mendes"><b>Eva Mendes</b></a>- Actress, known for supporting roles in movies such as <i>Hitch</i>, <i>Once Upon a Time in Mexico</i>, and <i>Training Day</i>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Milian"><b>Christina Milian</b></a>- Singer, songwriter and actress, has acted in a number of romantic comedies including <i>Love Don&rsquo;t Cost a Thing</i> and has written multiple number-one singles.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_Ruehl"><b>Mercedes Ruehl</b></a>- Actress, famous for her Tony-award winning work in theater and her Academy-award winning role in <i>The Fisher King</i>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Fashion</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narciso_Rodriguez"><b>Narciso Rodriguez</b></a>- Prominent fashion designer who has created dresses for the late Caroline Bessette Kennedy and most recently Michelle Obama.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Music</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celia_Cruz"><b>Celia Cruz</b></a>- Late <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning singer known as the &ldquo;Queen of Salsa&rdquo; with 23 gold albums during her more than 50 year career.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Estefan"><b>Emilio Estefan</b></a>- Former member of the Miami Sound Machine and five-time <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning producer.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Estefan"><b>Gloria Estefan</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards">Academy Award</a>-nominated singer, also a former member of the Miami Sound Machine.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Secada"><b>Jon Secada</b></a>- Two-time <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning singer and songwriter, known for his collaborations with Gloria and Emilio Estefan.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Writers</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_de_Acosta"><b>Mercedes de Acosta</b></a>- Poet and playwright active in the 1920s and 1930s, known equally for her writing as well as her scandalous private life that included lesbian affairs with numerous Hollywood actresses.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynaldo_Arenas"><b>Reynaldo Arenas</b></a>- Poet, novelist and playwright, best known for his acclaimed autobiography <i>Before Night Falls,</i> which was adapted into a movie.</div> <div><b>Nilo Cruz</b>- Playwright and first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play <i>Anna in the Tropics.</i></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Hijuelos"><b>Oscar Hijuelos</b></a>- Novelist and first Hispanic to win the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulitzer_Prize">Pulitzer Prize</a> for Fiction for his book <i>The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love</i>, which was also adapted into a movie and Broadway musical.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Journalists</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Diaz-Balart"><b>Jose Diaz-Balart</b></a>- Emmy Award-winning news anchor for Telemundo.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soledad_O%27Brien"><b>Soledad O'Brien</b></a>- Half-Cuban Emmy Award-winning CNN news anchor, spearheaded her network&rsquo;s Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Rodriguez"><b>Maggie Rodriguez</b></a>- Co-anchor of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CBS">CBS</a>'s &ldquo;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Early_Show">The Early Show</a>.&rdquo;</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Sanchez"><b>Rick Sanchez</b></a>- Emmy Award-winning <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN">CNN</a> anchor and contributor for CNN Espa&ntilde;ol.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Politics, Judiciary, Military</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Marion_Hern%C3%A1ndez"><b>Joseph Marion Hern&aacute;ndez</b></a>- First Hispanic elected to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress">United States Congress</a> in 1822.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Diaz-Balart"><b>Lincoln Diaz-Balart</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)">Republican</a> member of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>, representing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida%27s_21st_congressional_district">Florida's 21st district</a> that includes part of Northern Miami.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Diaz-Balart"><b>Mario Diaz-Balart</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)">Republican</a> member of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>, representing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida%27s_25th_congressional_district">Florida's 25th district</a> that includes part of Western Miami. Is a particularly active member of the Cuban-American lobby.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileana_Ros-Lehtinen"><b>Ileana Ros-Lehtinen</b></a>- First Cuban-American woman elected to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>. Republican, represents <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida%27s_18th_congressional_district">Florida's 18th district</a> which includes parts of south Miami and the Florida Keys. Along with the Diaz-Balart family, is one of the prominent members of the Cuban-American lobby.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albio_Sires"><b>Albio Sires</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(United_States)">Democratic</a> member of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>, representing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey%27s_13th_congressional_district">New Jersey's 13th district</a>. Was also the first Hispanic to serve as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_New_Jersey">Acting Governor of New Jersey</a> when former Govs. Jim McGreevey and former Gov. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Codey">Richard Codey</a> left their positions.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Martinez"><b>Mel Martinez</b></a>- Junior Republican Senator from Florida and former Chairman of the Republican National Committee from November 2006 to October 2007.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Menendez"><b>Bob Menendez</b></a>- Democratic New Jersey senior Senator and former Representative of the state&rsquo;s 12th district.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_G._Cantero,_III"><b>Raoul G. Cantero, III</b></a>- former justice on the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Supreme_Court">Florida Supreme Court</a> and first Hispanic to be appointed to this position. Is also the grandson of the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Rodriguez"><b>Felix Rodriguez</b></a>- Former <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA">CIA</a> officer who was involved in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion">Bay of Pigs Invasion</a>, and led the capture, interrogation, and subsequent assassination of Ernesto &ldquo;Che&rdquo; Guevara in Bolivia in 1967. It has also been revealed that Rodriguez was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s presidency,</div> <p>After almost 50 years of hostilities, the United States and Cuba continue to have limited relations. There is a US mission in Havana, but it has minimal communication with the Cuban government. Since 1961, the official US policy towards Cuba has consisted of economic embargo and diplomatic isolation. The Bush administration has strongly enforced the embargo and strengthened travel restrictions. Americans with immediate family may visit once every three years for a maximum of two weeks, while the total amount of family remittances an authorized traveler may carry to Cuba is $300, reduced from $3,000 in 2004.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>All US travel to Cuba must be licensed by the Department of Treasury&rsquo;s Office of Foreign Asset Control and must fall into one of 10 categories. All exports to Cuba must also be licensed by the Commerce Department&rsquo;s Bureau of Industry and Security.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But Congress has softened administration policy in some areas. Lawmakers amended the trade embargo in 2000 to allow agricultural exports from the United States to Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Many foreign policy experts say the possibility of normalized relations between the two adversaries remains remote. Wayne Smith, director of the Cuba program at the <a href="http://www.ciponline.org/">Center for International Policy</a>, told the Council on Foreign Relations that Cuba has the &ldquo;same effect on US administrations that the full moon has on a werewolf.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Fidel&rsquo;s resignation in February 2008 may create an opening for a change in US-Cuba relations. But it may also require a change in the White House before anything really changes. <a name="5"></a>The three main issues standing in the way of better relations are human rights violations in Cuba; Guant&aacute;namo Bay, over which Cuban officials have grown increasingly critical; and the Cuban exile community, which is rabidly anti-Castro and wields considerable political power in Florida politics.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Although the Bush administration&rsquo;s tightened travel restrictions upset many Cuban-Americans, hard-line Cuban exiles still lobby for regime change. Several Cuban-Americans sit on the US-based <a href="http://www.cafc.gov/">Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba</a> (CAFC), <a name="7"></a>which was established by President Bush in 2003 to &ldquo;help hasten and ease Cuba&rsquo;s democratic transition.&rdquo; The commission is now headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to census data, 1,241,685 Cubans live in the US. The majority, over 60%, live in Florida, in and around Miami. There are also large communities in New York, New Jersey and California. In 2006, 36,808 Americans visited Cuba. The number of visitors has been declining rapidly since 2003 when 84,529 Americans visited Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2006, 20,266 Cubans visited the US. The number of visitors has fluctuated between a low of 18,543 (2003) and a high of 26,880 (2002) in recent years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba.htm">United States-Cuban Relations</a> (Latin American Studies.org)</div> <div><a href="http://www.cfr.org/publication/11113/uscuba_relations.html">US-Cuba Relations </a>(by Stephanie Hanson, Council on Foreign Relations)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p>Since Congress relaxed the US embargo to allow food exports to Cuba, American trade has gradually increased in this sector. In 2006, US companies exported roughly $336 million worth of food and agricultural products to Cuba, according to the US International Trade Commission. In 2001 that figure was virtually zero. In 2007 the largest export was corn ($109 million), followed by meat and poultry ($84.8 million) and wheat ($70.1 million).</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas have all brokered agricultural deals with Cuba. Several initiatives are pending in Congress that would ease restrictions on Cuban payments for US agricultural exports.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>US imports, on the other hand, are virtually non-existent, totaling only $262,000 in 2007. Most of that was artwork, antiques and other collectibles ($202,000).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>When Castro&rsquo;s revolution took hold of Cuba in 1959, many US companies lost valuable property and assets. As many as 6,000 companies have claims against the Cuban government valued at $20 billion. One such company is OfficeMax, even though the office supply chain was never in business in Cuba. But over the years it came to own another US company, Boise Cascade, which had a stake in Cuba&rsquo;s national electric company.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Other claimants include Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Exxon Mobil, Chiquita Brands and Starwood Hotels.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cuba received $10.9 million in US aid in 2006, all of which was dedicated to Governing Justly and Democratically. The largest programs to receive funding were Civic Participation ($3.9 million), Media Freedom and Freedom of Information ($3.5 million) and Human Rights ($2.1 million).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In accordance with the suggestions of the <a href="http://www.cafc.gov/">Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba</a> (CAFC), the 2008 budget will increase aid to Cuba to $45.7 million. The largest recipient programs will be Civic Participation ($18 million), Media Freedom and Freedom of Information ($13.7 million) and Human Rights ($5 million). The budget growth is the result of a two-year, $80 million plan suggested by CAFC to empower civic organizations at a time when the regime undergoes a transitional phase.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/stakes-08.htm">Corporate stakes in Cuba</a> (by Telis Demos, CNN)</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/farm-sales-07.htm">U.S. farm sales to Cuba most since 2000</a> (by Wilfredo Cancio Isla, Nuevo Herald)</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c2390.html">Imports from Cuba</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c2390.html">Exports to Cuba</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations (pages 673-674)</a> (PDF)</div> <div><a href="http://www.usitc.gov/publications/pub3932.pdf">US Agricultural Sales to Cuba </a>(US International Trade Commission) (PDF)</div> <div><a href="http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33819.pdf">Cuba: Issues before the 110th Congress </a>(by Mark P. Sullivan, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Controversies
<p><b>Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;Moderate&rdquo; Position Alienates Cuban-American Conservatives</b></p> <div>During the 2008 campaign for president, Barack Obama has taken a &ldquo;moderate approach&rdquo; toward Cuba that has threatened his popularity among Cuban-Americans in Florida. While some experts admit that the US economic embargo has become a &ldquo;a paper lion ripped with flaws,&rdquo; the belief still exists in key parts of Miami that any politician seeking Florida&rsquo;s electoral votes should not deviate from the time-tested script: &ldquo;Castro bad. Embargo good.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>All major presidential candidates since 1992 have advocated continuing sanctions against Cuba.</div> <div>Obama said he would look at easing the embargo if Cuba showed signs of democracy, and he also expressed a willingness to meet with President Ra&uacute;l Castro.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cuban-Americans represent a critical swing vote, amounting to 7% of the state&rsquo;s total. They helped deliver the 2000 election to George W. Bush by voting for him 4-to-1 over Al Gore.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the Bob Dole-Bill Clinton race in 1996, exit polls showed that only 46% of Florida&rsquo;s Hispanics voted for Dole, compared with the traditional 5- or 6-to-1 advantage enjoyed by Republican candidates. The beneficiary was Clinton, whose Cuban-American support spiked from 22% in &lsquo;92 to 42% in &lsquo;96. Clinton supported the Helms-Burton bill, which called for tightening the embargo against Cuba.</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/obama-risks.htm">Obama risks losing Florida over Cuba stance</a> (by George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Cuba Demands Guantanamo Bay Back</b></div> <div>In February 2008, the Cuban government repeated its demand that the US return Guant&aacute;namo Bay to the island nation. Havana officials also denounced the United States&rsquo; use of the base as a &ldquo;war on terror&rdquo; prison, where the American military has held hundreds of terrorism suspects since 2001. Cuba&rsquo;s Foreign Minister, Felipe P&eacute;rez Roque, claimed that suspects held in the US naval base in the southeastern tip of Cuba have been subjected to torture and face unfair legal treatment. &ldquo;We demand again the closure of the indecent Guant&aacute;namo prison, the return of the territory illegally occupied to our fatherland,&rdquo; P&eacute;rez Roque said. The United States, which has occupied Guant&aacute;namo for more than 100 years, signed in 1934 a lease agreement with the Cuban government that could not be altered without agreement by both countries. Since 1960, the Cuban government has refused to accept the annual lease payment of $5,000 from the United States.</div> <div><a href="http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23211613-663,00.html">Cuba demands US gives back Guantanamo Bay</a> (Agence France-Presse)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Custody Battle Mirrors Elian Gonz&aacute;lez Controversy</b></div> <div>A five-year-old girl living in Coral Gables was at the center of an international custody dispute between the United States and Cuba in 2007 over who would raise her: her father, Rafael Izquierdo, a Cuban pig farmer, or a a wealthy Cuban-American couple, former baseball agent Joe Cubas and his wife Maria.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The girl was taken from her mother by the Florida Department of Children &amp; Families (DCF) after she attempted suicide in December 2005. DCF also took custody of the girl&rsquo;s older, preteen brother. The children, who have different fathers living in Cuba, came to the United States legally in 2005. The boy&rsquo;s father agreed to surrender his parental rights, sources said, but the girl&rsquo;s father pressed to gain custody. His lawyer was Ira Kurzban, a prominent immigration attorney who has represented the Cuban government in the past.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There are similarities and differences between this case and that of Eli&aacute;n Gonz&aacute;lez, whose custody dispute in 2000 made international headlines and sparked raw emotions in South Florida, where communities were torn by heated arguments over where he belonged. The main similarity: The new dispute involved a young child in Miami with a father in Cuba seeking custody, a case that once again had political and emotional repercussions in South Florida and Havana. In fact, Florida&rsquo;s Republican governor, Jeb Bush, and his successor, Charlie Crist, kept close tabs on the case while the Florida Department of Children &amp; Families spent more than $250,000 in support of the Cubases and against Izquierdo.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The differences: Eli&aacute;n fled Cuba on a boat and was rescued at sea after his mother drowned. The mother of the girl in this case, who succeeded in bringing her child to the United States, is alive but was ruled unfit to care for her children. And there are no Miami relatives caring for the girl, as there were in Eli&aacute;n's case.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Florida state attorneys brought the case to trial and, in September 2006, Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen ruled in favor of Izquierdo. The state appealed, but in November 2007, the state of Florida dropped its appeal when Izquierdo agreed to remain with his daughter in the United States and to allow the Cubases to have visitation rights for three years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://glennsacks.com/blog/index.php?tag=rafael-izquierdo">Embattled Cuban Father Wins Sole Custody in &ldquo;Elian Gonzalez II Case</a> (by Glenn Sacks)</div> <div><a href="http://www.sptimes.com/2007/11/29/State/Cuban_father_gets_cus.shtml">Cuban father gets custody in settlement</a> (Associated Press)</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/rafael-izquierdo.htm">Rafael Izquierdo, the birth father, fights to gain custody</a> (by Tere Figueras Negrete, Miami Herald)</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/custody-fight.htm">U.S.-Cuba custody fight brews over girl</a> (by Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>US Diplomat Has Falling Out with Cuban Government</b></div> <div>In 2005, Michael Parmly took over as the top US official in Havana, replacing James Cason, who had earned a reputation in his three years in Cuba as an aggressive critic of the Fidel Castro government. Parmly at first took a different style, and even Castro initially noted the difference between him and Cason, describing Parmly&rsquo;s correspondence as &ldquo;respectful.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But as time passed, Parmly appeared to wear out his welcome. In 2006, the electricity went off at the mission for several days in what US officials called part of a deliberate Cuban harassment campaign that included poisoning a US diplomat&rsquo;s pet and shutting off water to the mission. Parmly said the harassment &ldquo;makes Ceausescu&rsquo;s Romania look like real amateurs,&rdquo; referring to the notorious dictator of Romania during the Cold War. (Parmly previously served in Romania and speaks Romanian.) Castro later called Parmly a &ldquo;little gangster,&rdquo; and another Cuban official him &ldquo;an imperial sergeant.&rdquo; In May 2008, the Cuban government claimed that they had videotaped Parmly handed over cash to dissident Martha Beatriz Roque.</div> <div><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/24/cuba.usa">Cuban sting shows US diplomat handing over cash to dissidents</a> (by Rory Carroll, The Guardian)</div> <div><a href="http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/jonathan-farrar-to-replace-michael-parmly-as-ambassador-to-cuba/">Jonathan Farrar to replace Michael Parmly as &ldquo;ambassador&rdquo; to Cuba</a> (by Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Human Rights
<p>The US State Department characterizes Cuba as being a &ldquo;totalitarian state&rdquo; with elections that have been &ldquo;neither free nor fair.&rdquo; The government exercises control through the Communist Party (CP) and its affiliated mass organizations, the bureaucracy, and the state security apparatus. The Ministry of the Interior exercises control over police, the internal security forces, and the prison system.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the State Department, &ldquo;The government continued to deny its citizens their basic human rights and committed numerous, serious abuses. The government denied citizens the right to change their government. There were at least 240 political prisoners and detainees held at year&rsquo;s end. As many as 5,000 citizens served sentences for &lsquo;dangerousness,&rsquo; with no more specific criminal behavior charged.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Also, the following human rights problems were reported: &ldquo;unlawful killings; killings, beatings, and abuse of detainees and prisoners, including human rights activists, carried out with impunity; harsh and life‑threatening prison conditions, including denial of medical care; harassment, beatings, and threats against political opponents by government‑recruited mobs, police, and state security officials; arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights advocates and members of independent professional organizations; denial of fair trial, and interference with privacy, including pervasive monitoring of private communications.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were also severe limitations on freedom of speech and press; denial of peaceful assembly and association; restrictions on freedom of movement, including selective denial of exit permits to citizens and the forcible removal of persons from Havana to their home towns; and refusal to recognize domestic human rights groups or permit them to function legally. Domestic violence, underage prostitution, sex tourism, discrimination against persons of African descent, and severe restrictions on worker rights, including the right to form independent unions, were also problems.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>State Department officials claim that &ldquo;although physical torture was rare, authorities beat, harassed, and made death threats against dissidents, both inside and outside of prison. Many were interrogated and pressured to sign incriminating statements or to collaborate with authorities. Some detainees and prisoners endured physical abuse, sometimes by other inmates with the acquiescence of guards, or long periods in isolation or punishment cells. Political prisoners and detainees who refused to wear the prison uniform or take part in &lsquo;reeducation&rsquo; activities were targeted for mistreatment.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;Prison conditions continued to be harsh and life threatening. Conditions at approximately 200 detention facilities and jails were even worse, with cells that were routinely vermin infested and lacked water, sanitation facilities, adequate ventilation, and lighting.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) stated that the government held at least 240 political prisoners and detainees. The convictions were for such offenses as disrespect of the head of state, disrespect and scorn of patriotic symbols, public disorder, and attempting to leave the country illegally. Other inmates had been convicted of disseminating enemy propaganda, illicit association, clandestine printing, or the broad charge of rebellion, which sometimes has been brought against advocates of peaceful democratic change.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mistreatment of political prisoners and detainees was widespread. Beatings were not uncommon, and many political inmates were denied privileges given to ordinary prisoners, such as access to an exercise yard or sunshine. The government continued to deny human rights organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross access to political prisoners and detainees. Authorities denied visits to families of political prisoners and detainees. Prisoners in punishment cells had no access to lawyers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press as long as such activities &ldquo;conform to the aims of socialist society,&rdquo; a clause which has been used to bar free speech. Citizens who spoke with independent journalists risked government retaliation, and the government considered print and electronic media to be state property.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to Human Rights Watch, &ldquo;Cuba&rsquo;s abusive legal and institutional mechanisms continue to deprive Cubans of their basic rights,&rdquo; even after the resignation of Fidel Castro as head of the government. &ldquo;Even if Castro no longer calls the shots, the repressive machinery he constructed over almost half a century remains fully intact,&rdquo; said Jos&eacute; Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. &ldquo;Until that changes, it&rsquo;s unlikely there will be any real progress on human rights in Cuba.&rdquo; <br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100635.htm">U.S. State Department</a></div> <div><a href="http://hrw.org/doc/?t=americas&amp;c=cuba">Human Rights Watch</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/americas/caribbean/cuba">Amnesty International</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p>Herbert Goldsmith Squiers <br /> Appointment: May 20, 1902 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1902 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 2, 1905</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Edwin V. Morgan <br /> Appointment: Nov 29, 1905 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1906 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 5, 1910</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>John B. Jackson <br /> Appointment: Dec 21, 1909 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 22, 1910 <br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 27, 1911</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Arthur M. Beaupre <br /> Appointment: Aug 12, 1911 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 18, 1911 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 28, 1913</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William E. Gonzales <br /> Appointment: Jun 21, 1913 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 9, 1913 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 18, 1919</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Boaz W. Long <br /> Appointment: Jun 30, 1919 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: [Jan 8, 1920] <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 17, 1921 <br /> Note: Formally received on Jan 8, 1920.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Enoch H. Crowder <br /> Appointment: Feb 10, 1923 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 5, 1923 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, May 28, 1927</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Noble Brandon Judah <br /> Appointment: Nov 22, 1927 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 17, 1927. <br /> Termination of Mission: Dec 23, 1927 Left post, Jun 1, 1929</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Harry F. Guggenheim <br /> Appointment: Oct 10, 1929 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 21, 1929 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 2, 1933</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Sumner Welles <br /> Appointment: Apr 24, 1933 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 11, 1933 <br /> Termination of Mission: Normal relations were interrupted on Sep 5, 1933; the new government of Cuba was still unrecognized by the United States when Welles left post on Dec 13, 1933.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Jefferson Caffery <br /> Appointment: Feb 23, 1934 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Feb 28, 1934 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 9, 1937</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>J. Butler Wright <br /> Appointment: Jul 13, 1937 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 23, 1937 <br /> Termination of Mission: Died at post, Dec 4, 1939</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>George S. Messersmith <br /> Appointment: Jan 12, 1940 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 8, 1940 <br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 8, 1942</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Spruille Braden <br /> Appointment: Dec 20, 1941 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 19, 1942 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 27, 1945</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>R. Henry Norweb <br /> Appointment: May 21, 1945 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1945 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, May 22, 1948</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert Butler <br /> Appointment: May 22, 1948 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 8, 1948 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 10, 1951</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Willard L. Beaulac <br /> Appointment: Jun 20, 1951 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 20, 1951 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 9, 1953</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Arthur Gardner <br /> Appointment: May 28, 1953 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Oct 16, 1953 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 16, 1957</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Earl E. T. Smith <br /> Appointment: Jun 3, 1957 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 23, 1957 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 19, 1959</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Philip W. Bonsal <br /> Appointment: Feb 16, 1959 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1959 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 28, 1960</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Note:</b> Daniel M. Braddock was serving as Charg&eacute; d'Affaires ad interim when the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in Jan 1961. A U.S. Interests Section was established in the Swiss Embassy on Sep 1, 1977.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Principal Officers since 1977: Lyle F. Lane (Sep 1977&ndash;Jul 1979), Wayne S. Smith (Jul 1979&ndash;Aug 1982), John A. Ferch (Aug 1982&ndash;Jul 1985), Curtis W. Kamman (Aug 1985&ndash;Sep 1987), John J. Taylor (Sep 1987&ndash;Sep 1990), Alan H. Flanigan (Sep 1990&ndash;Jul 1993), Joseph G. Sullivan (Jul 1993&ndash;Sep 1996), Michael G. Kozak (Sep 1996&ndash;Sep 1999), Vicki Huddleston (Sep 1999&ndash;Jun 2002), James C. Casson (Sep 2002&ndash;Sep 2005), Michael Parmly (Sep 2005&ndash;2008).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10462.htm">Former U.S. Ambassadors to Cuba</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Cuba's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Bolaños, Jorge

Jorge Bolaños Suarez has served as head of the Cuban Interest Section in the United States since November 2007. Born in Las Tunas, Bolaños studied political sciences and international law at the University of Havana and did postgraduate work in foreign relations at the University of London. He was a member of Castro’s guerrilla army that overthrew the Batista government in 1959. Between 1959 and 1963, Bolaños was a member of the National Board of the Union of Banks and Insurances. In 1963 he was a country specialist in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In 1964, Bolaños was Staff  Director for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He then served as First Secretary to the Cuban Embassy in London from 1965-1968. He has served as ambassador to Poland (1971-1974), Czechoslovakia (1974-1977), United Kingdom (1977-1981), Brazil (1986-1995) and Mexico (2001-2007). Between 1981 and 1986, Bolaños served as first vice minister of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
 
 

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Cuba's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p>Cuba does not maintain an embassy in the US. However it does have an <a href="http://embacu.cubaminrex.cu/Default.aspx?alias=embacu.cubaminrex.cu/sicw">Interests Section</a> in the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC.</p>
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tosha 3 years ago
i love cuba

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U.S. Ambassador to Cuba

Farrar, Jonathan
ambassador-image

A native of Los Angeles, Jonathan D. Farrar was confirmed as ambasador to Nicaragua on March 29, 2012. He previously served as the Chief of Mission of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, beginning in July 2008.
 
He studied at California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Claremont Graduate School and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
 
Farrar joined the State Department in 1980 as an economic officer and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.
 
Farrar has held a variety of domestic assignments in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, including service as deputy director of the Office of Andean Affairs and as country desk officer for Argentina. Farrar served twice on the staff of the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, most recently as chief of staff to the Under Secretary from 2002 to 2004.
 
Farrar’s career includes extensive experience in Latin America. His most recent overseas posting was as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Montevideo, Uruguay. Farrar also served at the US embassies in Mexico, Belize, and Paraguay.
 
From 2004 to 2005, Farrar served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL), with responsibility for INL’s programs in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Asia and Europe.
 
Farrar then served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and was DRL’s acting assistant secretary from August 2007 to March 2008. In this capacity, Farrar oversaw DRL’s human rights and democracy programs around the world, with a particular focus on Asia and the Western Hemisphere.
 

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Overview
<div>No country in Latin America has had as long and contentious a relationship with the United States as Cuba. Because of its close proximity to the US (90 miles from Florida), Cuba has had the US looking over its shoulder for more than a century. Beginning with the Spanish-American War in 1898, the US became closely involved in Cuban affairs after it pushed Spain off the island nation and turned it into an American protectorate. Those who ruled Cuba during the first half of the 20th Century, especially Fulgencio Batista, did so ruthlessly, gaining the scorn of the Cuban people and the indifference of American officials who only cared about securing US business interests. When Batista was overthrown by Fidel Castro in 1959 and a Communist system of government put into place, American officials were alarmed, if not outraged. Thinking it could derail Castro&rsquo;s socialist revolution, the US trained Cuban exiles to carry out an ill-fated coup attempt in April 1961 that only strengthened Castro&rsquo;s power and left officials in Washington, DC, humiliated.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Unable to remove Castro from power, the US government set out to isolate Cuba internationally, which actually pushed Cuba closer to the Soviet Union and led to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the most serious case of nuclear brinkmanship between the two superpowers. Shortly after that, the US imposed a trade embargo against Cuba that has lasted to this day. Many Cubans who have fled the country have settled in Florida and become a vocal and important political bloc in US politics. US politicians who dare take anything less than a hard-line attitude towards the Cuban government run the risk of alienating the Cuban-American community and their important swing vote in presidential elections. With the resignation of Fidel Castro from Cuba&rsquo;s top post in 2008 due to health reasons, some observers have wondered if the day will soon come for more normalized relations between the US and Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Basic Information
<p><b>Lay of the Land</b>: Cuba is a long, slender, crescent-shaped island on the north edge of the Caribbean, 90 miles south of Key West, Florida, and about 100 miles east of Mexico's Yucat&aacute;n Peninsula.&nbsp;It is the most westerly of the West Indies and by far the largest.&nbsp;In general, the terrain is gently rolling, but there are mountainous areas, notably the Sierra Maestra in what was formerly Oriente Province in the southeast, Castro's base of operations during the revolution.&nbsp;Cuba has more than 2,000 miles of coastline, with many bays, inlets, and good natural harbors.&nbsp;Cuba's climate tends to the tropical, but the fact that it is an island moderates the temperature significantly.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 11.4 million</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Catholic 45.0%, Protestant (predominately Baptist, Pentecostal) 12.8%, Spiritist (Santeria) 17.2%, Chinese Universalist 0.2%, Hindu 0.2%, Buddhist 0.1%, Muslim 0.1%, non religious 24.5%.&nbsp;Some sources indicate that as much as 70% of the population practices Santeria in addition to or independently of other beliefs.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Spanish (official) 88.5%, Lucumi.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History
<div>When Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba on October 27, 1492, the island was inhabited by approximately 200,000 indigenous people. In 1511, Diego Vel&aacute;zquez de Cu&eacute;llar led the Spanish invasion of the island and became the first Spanish governor. Before long, the vast majority of the native people had been killed or enslaved.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Exports of sugar, coffee and tobacco to Europe and North America began soon after. By the 1820s, much of Spain&rsquo;s Latin American empire was rebelling against Spanish rule. Cuba, however, remained loyal to Spain, due in part to Cuba&rsquo;s dependence on export trade to Europe. But loyalty to Spain was also influenced by Cuban anxiety of the United States&rsquo; burgeoning power, which was feared more than Spanish rule was disliked. This fear was not unfounded. Throughout the 19th century, Southern politicians had their sights set on Cuba. Their goal was to strengthen pro-slavery forces in the US through the appropriation of Cuba. These efforts failed, as did those of US President James K. Polk when, in the summer of 1848, he offered to buy Cuba from Spain for $100 million.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>After several failed attempts by Cuba to rebel against Spain and reclaim independence, the Independence War began in 1895. The war would lead to Cuban independence, but would also cost hundreds of thousands of lives and ultimately involve the US. Between 1895 and 1898, Spain&rsquo;s brutally repressive tactics involved corralling the rural population into <i>reconcentrados</i>, or camps, that often compared to 20th Century concentration camps. More than 300,000 Cuban civilians died as a result of conditions at the <i>reconcentrados</i>.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>European and American sentiment was stirred by the situation in Cuba, but no assistance was offered to Cuba short of diplomatic pressure placed on Spain. However, on January 25, 1898, the US battleship <i>Maine</i> pulled into Havana in order to protect the 8,000 American residents on the island. The Spanish and their Cuban supporters regarded the <i>Maine<b>&rsquo;s</b></i> presence as intimidation. When the <i>Maine</i> mysteriously blew up on February 15, 1898, Some factions in the US blamed Spain and urged intervention in Cuba. Although there was no evidence that pointed to Spanish involvement, US fervor for war escalated, resulting in the Spanish-American War in June 1898.&nbsp;Shortly after US troops landed in Cuba, they overtook the exhausted Spanish military and by August, a peace treaty was signed and Spain agreed to withdraw.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The 1930s marked a turning point in Cuba&rsquo;s history. In 1933, Cuban students and intellectuals successfully revolted against the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado y Morales, forcing him to flee the country on August 12.&nbsp;Backed by the US, Carlos Manuel de C&eacute;spedes claimed power, but was overthrown on September 4 by military sergeant Fulgencio Batista. Through this victory, Batista incorporated the military into the government, instituting de facto military rule of Cuba from 1933-1940. Batista officially ruled Cuba as president from 1940-1944 and allied Cuba with the US during WWII.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cuba was ruled by two democratically elected presidents from 1944 until 1952. With the election cycle of 1952, Batista made another grab at the presidency.&nbsp;When it became clear that he did not have the votes, Batista staged a coup and installed himself in power. Batista ruled under a brutal right-wing dictatorship that polarized the Cuban population and resulted in the destruction of the military and most other Cuban institutions. The US, however, backed Batista&rsquo;s regime.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro led a failed attack to topple the government in which more than 100 died. After defending himself in a trial open to national and international media, he was convicted and jailed. He was subsequently freed in an act of clemency and went &nbsp;into exile in Mexico. There he organized the &ldquo;26th of July Movement&rdquo; with the goal of overthrowing Batista, and the group returned to Cuba in 1956.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By 1959, American companies controlled 80-100% of utilities, mines, ranches and oil refineries, 40% of the sugar industry and 50% of public railways. In this climate, Fidel Castro successfully revolted against the US-backed Batista government and installed himself as prime minister in 1959.&nbsp;The Castro regime soon began to nationalize property, expropriating businesses and investments owned by both Cubans and the US. This convinced much of Cuba&rsquo;s middle and upper classes to leave the country. Between 1959 and 1999, more than one million Cubans fled to various countries around the world. Many of these Cubans traveled the 90 miles from Cuba to Florida and settled in Miami. Relations between the US and Cuba rapidly deteriorated and on October 19, 1960, the US imposed an embargo on Cuba. The embargo forced Cuba to seek out other trading partners, primarily the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>After seizing control, Castro was determined to protect his rule from all external and internal threats. With Castro&rsquo;s blessing, interior minister Ramiro Vald&eacute;s created a new secret police organization, the G-2, which was supported by the creation of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs), whose task it was to track down suspected saboteurs and traitors. Like Batista before him, Castro soon began to silence critical media, shutting down newspapers, radio stations and television stations.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>One of Castro&rsquo;s closest allies was Che Guevara, an Argentinean who had come to Cuba to help Castro overthrow the Bautista regime. It wasn&rsquo;t long, though, after Castro rose to power that the two men began to have a falling out. Disagreements over Cuban agriculture led to Guevara being sent abroad to help support Marxist revolutionary movements in Africa. Guevara&rsquo;s critical remarks about the Soviet Union&rsquo;s agricultural policies created an even wider rift between him and Castro, and by 1965, the two men were no longer friends. Guevara returned to South America, where he was hunted down and killed by Bolivian soldiers (trained by the US Army and CIA) in 1966.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Meanwhile, back in Cuba, Castro had announced sweeping changes to the agrarian system, embarking on what would be a series of agricultural fiascos. The Cuban trade deficit with the USSR had mushroomed to $4 billion, so Castro tried to increase agricultural production.&nbsp;His first plan revolved around the sugar harvest, and he announced a target of 5.5 million tons for 1965, increasing to 7 million tons and eventually reaching 10 million tons by 1970.&nbsp;Castro called 1970 &ldquo;the year of the ten million tons,&rdquo; but from the beginning, more realistic observers doubted whether the target could be achieved. Castro poured all of Cuba&rsquo;s energy into the sugar cane harvest, leaving almost all other economic activity at a standstill. Virtually the entire Cuban population, including mothers and their children, pensioners, white collar workers, and the military, was put to work cutting cane. Even visiting foreign dignitaries were asked to cut cane, and Castro himself cut for four hours almost every day.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Christmas was abolished for 1969, and growing cycles were changed to allow for more production. With so much effort going into cutting cane, the rest of the Cuban economy fell between 20-40%. Worse yet, it soon became clear that the target was indeed impossible to achieve. In July 1970, Fidel was forced to announce that the ten million tons had been a failure.&nbsp;In his usual style, he made an impassioned plea to the people and announced his resignation.&nbsp;The Cuban population responded with their support and he quickly returned to power.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the 1970s, Castro emerged on the world stage as a spokesman for Third World anti-imperialist governments. Cuba&rsquo;s isolation also receded as Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries began to renew relations. But during the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba remained dependant on Soviet Union funding, and this economic tension, coupled with political tensions, fueled waves of emigration out of Cuba. Many of these immigrants attempted and succeeded in making the 90-mile journey to Florida, creating the large Cuban-American community in the US today. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Cuba plummeted into economic crisis.&nbsp;But by the late 1990s, Cuba had restored economic relations with most Latin American countries, China, and the European Union. Although the US continues to enforce an embargo against Cuba, recent oil discoveries have prompted some members of the US Congress to call for the embargo to be lifted.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Following intestinal surgery from an undisclosed digestive illness, Castro transferred his responsibilities to his younger brother, Ra&uacute;l Castro, on July 31, 2006. On February 19, 2008, five days before his mandate was to expire, Fidel announced he would neither seek nor accept a new term as either president or commander-in-chief. On February 24, 2008, the National Assembly elected Ra&uacute;l Castro to succeed him as the president of Cuba. Fidel remains First Secretary of the Communist Party.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.ditext.com/zinn/zinn16.html">A People&rsquo;s War</a> (by Howard Zinn)</div> <div><a href="http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:Ia8fpyUu0zQJ:edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FE479+us+companies+ownership+of+cuban+business+1959&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;cd=8&amp;gl=us">Cuban Agriculture Before 1959: The Political and Economic Situations</a> by Jos&eacute; Alvarez, University of Florida)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/volume_vi/exchanges.html">Correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/bayofpigs/">National Security Archives Conference on the Bay of Pigs</a></div> <div><a href="http://search.archives.gov/query.html?qt=bay+of+pigs&amp;col=1arch&amp;rq=0&amp;qs=&amp;qc=1arch&amp;qc=2pres&amp;pw=100%25&amp;ws=0&amp;la=&amp;qm=0&amp;st=1&amp;nh=10&amp;lk=1&amp;rf=0&amp;oq=&amp;rq=0&amp;qp=">National Archives - Bay of Pigs</a></div> <div><a href="http://search.archives.gov/query.html?qt=cuban+missile+crisis&amp;col=1arch&amp;rq=0&amp;qs=&amp;qc=1arch&amp;qc=2pres&amp;pw=100%25&amp;ws=0&amp;la=&amp;qm=0&amp;st=1&amp;nh=10&amp;lk=1&amp;rf=0&amp;oq=&amp;rq=0&amp;qp=">National Archives - Cuban Missile Crisis</a></div> <div><span style="font-size: small">&nbsp;</span></div> <p><span style="font-size: small">&nbsp;</span></p>
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Cuba's Newspapers
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Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} </style> <![endif]--></meta> </meta> </meta> </meta> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/cuba.htm">Cuba's Newspapers</a></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Cuba
<p>Following the Spanish-American War, the US was split over its decision of what to do with Cuba. Some favored independence while others wanted blatant annexation. In a compromise, President William McKinley put Cuba under a 20-year US treaty, much to the chagrin of the Cuban independence movement. The treaty was negated a few years later when Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency after McKinley. Roosevelt had fought in the Spanish-American War and was sympathetic to Cuba&rsquo;s move towards independence. He abandoned the treaty and Cuba attained formal independence on May 20, 1902. However, under the new constitution, the US retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and oversee its finances and foreign relations. <a href="http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1901platt.html">The Platt Amendment</a> leased Guant&aacute;namo Bay to the US. <span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US soon exercised its right to intervene when veterans from the Independence War with Spain engaged in armed revolt following disputed elections in 1906. The US stepped in and put Governor Charles Edward Magoon in charge of Cuba. Magoon retained this post until 1908, when Cuban elections were again held and Jos&eacute; Miguel G&oacute;mez assumed the presidency.&nbsp;</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>In April 1959, less than four months after taking control of Cuba, Castro made his first visit as head of state to the United States. He was welcomed with open arms, both by the American public and the Cuban exile population, and more than 30,000 people came to see his opening speech in Central Park. The US government, on the other hand, played it cooler. President Dwight Eisenhower went on a golfing vacation, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to meet with Castro. In fact, the CIA was already making plans for Castro&rsquo;s removal, and the US government applied pressure to block the international sale of arms to Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By January 1961, the US broke all diplomatic relations with Cuba. Dating back to March 1960, President Eisenhower had authorized a plan created by the CIA to mobilize Cuban exiles for a revolt against Fidel Castro. The CIA then began to recruit and train revolutionary forces comprised mainly of Cuban exiles in the Sierra Madre on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.&nbsp;The original plan called for a preliminary air strike carried out by the US government to target the Cuban air force and airfields. The exile forces were then to land on the island of Trinidad, which would provide safe haven for a retreat if it became necessary. However, by the time the operation was supposed to begin, President John F. Kennedy was in office and had decided that the invasion shouldn&rsquo;t be overtly connected to the US. So the air strikes were called off and the landing point was moved to the Bay of Pigs (Playa G&iacute;ron).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On April 16, 1961, the day before Kennedy gave the green light for the invasion, Castro officially began to convert Cuba into a one-party communist system, and weeks later, Castro declared Cuba a socialist republic.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On April 17, the US government sent 1,511 Cuban exiles to the Bay of Pigs, where they intended to carry out their attack. The exiles had no air support and no political support among the local population. By this time, Castro had heard of the invasion and arrested any possible allies of the exile forces. The exiles were instead met by Castro&rsquo;s military, who were manning tanks from the USSR. In spite of this, Kennedy decided against supporting the exiles with marine or air power, in order to avoid overt American intervention.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Bay of Pigs concluded with 104 of the Cuban exiles dead and all others arrested. In December 1962, 1,113 of the prisoners were returned to the US in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine. All of the funds were raised by private donation.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>US pressure on Latin America to isolate Cuba strengthened Havana&rsquo;s pre-existing ties with the Soviet Union. The USSR felt threatened by the nuclear missiles the US had placed in Turkey and the Middle East, and Castro agreed to let the USSR reciprocate by placing nuclear missiles in Cuba.&nbsp;This decision resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis (known in Cuba as the October Crisis and in Russia as the Caribbean Crisis), wherein the US debated whether to bomb Cuba in response to the Soviet nukes and Castro was prepared to bomb the US. History has shown that the standoff left the US minutes away from destruction by nuclear warhead, and Cuba minutes away from total annihilation by the same means. On October 28, 1962, after two weeks of confrontation, President Kennedy struck a deal with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev whereby both sides agreed to remove their respective nuclear weapons from Cuba and Turkey. Kennedy also agreed not to invade Cuba, and this acquiescence resulted in a tentative restoration of relations between the US and Cuba.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Relations deteriorated again in 1963 when Castro moved Cuba towards a complete Communist system modeled after the Soviet Union. At this time, the US imposed a complete diplomatic and commercial embargo on Cuba. Although US manipulation was sufficiently strong in Latin America at this time to convince most countries to model the US embargo, the governments of these countries did not necessarily share the United States&rsquo; fear of Cuba. Officials in Washington, DC, despised Castro so much that several secret attempts were made to assassinate him.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Marita Lorenz, Fidel Castro&rsquo;s former translator and lover, was recruited by the CIA in a plot to kill Castro using a pill made from shellfish toxin. At the last moment, however, she could not bring herself to go through with the plan, and instead flushed the pill down the toilet.&nbsp;Two years later, a barman by the name of Santos de la Caridad was hired to slip a botulism pill into Castro&rsquo;s milkshake during his weekly visit to the bar.&nbsp;The plan was foiled when the pills stuck to the inside of the freezer and shattered as they were being removed. Other CIA assassination ideas included a plan to give Castro a box of poisoned cigars, another to coat the inside of his diving suit with tuberculosis bacteria and a third involving a rifle disguised as a television camera. The CIA even devised a plan to slip Castro a substance that would make his beard fall out, thus humiliating him and causing him to lose the respect of the Cuban people.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Although the US eventually gave up trying to kill Castro, relations between Washington and Havana did not improve in the succeeding decades. In the 1970s, during the Nixon administration, the United States and Cuba began to explore normalizing relations, but the talks were suspended in 1975 when Cuba launched a large-scale intervention in Angola.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In the 1980s immigration became a heated problem for US-Cuban relations. In 1980 the Cuban government allowed 125,000 Cubans to depart for the United States from the port of Mariel, an incident known as the &ldquo;Mariel boatlift.&rdquo; A number of criminals and mentally ill persons were involuntarily included. Quiet efforts to explore the prospects for improving relations were initiated in 1981-1982 under the Reagan administration, but the talks went nowhere.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The 1990s witnessed another migration crisis that set back US-Cuban relations. When demonstrations fueled by food shortages and prolonged unannounced blackouts erupted in Havana in August 1994, the Cuban Government responded by allowing some 30,000 Cubans to set sail for the United States, many in unsafe boats and rafts, which resulted in a number of deaths at sea. In September 1994 and May 1995 the two countries signed accords with the goal of cooperating to ensure safe, legal and orderly migration.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On February 24, 1996, the Cuban military shot down two US registered civil aircraft in international airspace, killing three American citizens and one US resident. In response to the attack, Congress and President Clinton passed the <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c104:H.R.927.ENR:">Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act</a>, also known as the Libertad Act. The legislation, among other provisions, codified the US trade embargo into law and imposed additional sanctions on the Cuban regime.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2000, yet another immigration fight broke out between the US and Cuban governments, this time over a six-year-old boy named Eli&aacute;n Gonz&aacute;lez. Having arrived in Florida in an inner tube, after his mother and other &eacute;migr&eacute;s died trying to reach the American shore, Gonz&aacute;lez was taken in by relatives in Miami, who argued the boy was better off staying with them in the US. Eli&aacute;n&rsquo;s father disagreed and the Cuban government insisted on the boy&rsquo;s return. After many months of political bickering, the Clinton administration agreed to send Gonz&aacute;lez back to Cuba, much to the consternation of the Cuban-American community in Florida.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/17/world/main4185799.shtml">Elian Gonzalez Joins The Communist Party</a> (CBS News)</div> <div><a href="http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Caribbean/USEconomicSanctions_Cuba.html">U.S. Economic sanctions against Cuba: objectives of an imperialist policy</a> (by Salim Lamrani, Third World Traveler)</div> <div><a href="http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/funfacts/guantan.htm">Notes on Guant&aacute;namo Bay</a> (by J.A. Sierra, History of Cuba.com)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Cuba
<p>&nbsp;</p> <div><b>Noted Cuban-Americans</b></div> <div><b>Athletes</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Canseco"><b>Jos&eacute; Canseco</b></a><b>-</b> MLB outfielder and author of the tell-all book <i>Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits &amp; How Baseball Got Big,</i> notable for his discussion of his steroid use and personal life.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Palmeiro"><b>Rafael Palmeiro</b></a>- MLB first baseman, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ranks tenth in homerun history with 569 home runs, and is only the fourth player in history to join both the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/500_home_run_club">500 home run club</a> and the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3000_hit_club">3000 hit club</a>.</div> <div><b>Orlando &ldquo;El Duque&rdquo; Hernandez</b>- MLB pitcher best known for starting for the New York Yankees and leading them to three consecutive World Series titles from 1998 through 2000.</div> <div><b>Tony Perez</b>- Seven-time All Star MLB player, was also voted MVP of the All-Star game in 1967 and has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.</div> <div><b>Minnie Mi&ntilde;oso</b>- MLB star player, one of two players to play in five decades, from 1949-1980. He was one of the first prominent players in the MLB of African descent and has been honored with numerous awards over the course of his career, include being selected 7 times as an All-Star player.</div> <div><b>Tony Oliva</b>- MLB 8-time All Star player who had a 15 year career playing for the Minnesota Twins from 1962-1976.</div> <div><b>Pablo Morales</b>- Olympic swimmer, won the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly in a 1992 comeback after failing to quality for the 1988 Olympics.</div> <div><b>Jennifer Rodriguez</b>- Olympic speed skater, won two bronze models in the 2002 Salt Lake City winter games.</div> <div><b>Luis Tiant</b>- MLB pitcher active from 1964-1982, known for his unique pitching style and impressive shut-out records.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Business</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Alarcon"><b>Raul Alarcon</b></a>- President and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEO">CEO</a> of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Broadcasting_System">Spanish Broadcasting System</a>, one of the largest broadcasting companies in the United States.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Figueredo"><b>Jorge Figueredo</b></a>- Senior Vice President of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dow_Jones">Dow Jones</a>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_C._Goizueta"><b>Robert C. Goizueta</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEO">CEO</a> of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coca-Cola_Company">the Coca-Cola Company</a> from 1980-1997</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Quesada"><b>Joe Quesada</b></a>- Prominent cartoon artist and Editor-in-chief of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Comics">Marvel Comics</a>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Reyes"><b>George Reyes</b></a>- Former <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Financial_Officer">Chief Financial Officer</a> of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google">Google</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Education</b></div> <div><b>Dr. </b><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_J._Borjas"><b>George J. Borjas</b></a>- Prominent economist at Harvard University, known for his work on immigration economics.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Entertainment</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desi_Arnaz"><b>Desi Arnaz</b></a>- Actor and musician, most famous for his work the classic 50s TV show &ldquo;I Love Lucy&rdquo; with his wife Lucille Ball.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosario_Dawson"><b>Rosario Dawson</b></a>- Part-Cuban actress who has appeared in hit movies such as <i>Rent</i> and <i>Sin City</i>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_Diaz"><b>Cameron Diaz</b></a>- Half-Cuban on her father&rsquo;s side, Diaz is one of Hollywood&rsquo;s most popular and highest paid actresses. Known for her roles in blockbusters such as the Charlie&rsquo;s Angels movies and comedies such as <i>There&rsquo;s Something About Mary</i> and the Shrek movies.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Garcia"><b>Andy Garcia</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award">Academy Award</a>-nominated actor, has appeared in the Godfather series and the &ldquo;Ocean&rsquo;s&rdquo; series with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Mendes"><b>Eva Mendes</b></a>- Actress, known for supporting roles in movies such as <i>Hitch</i>, <i>Once Upon a Time in Mexico</i>, and <i>Training Day</i>.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Milian"><b>Christina Milian</b></a>- Singer, songwriter and actress, has acted in a number of romantic comedies including <i>Love Don&rsquo;t Cost a Thing</i> and has written multiple number-one singles.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_Ruehl"><b>Mercedes Ruehl</b></a>- Actress, famous for her Tony-award winning work in theater and her Academy-award winning role in <i>The Fisher King</i>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Fashion</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narciso_Rodriguez"><b>Narciso Rodriguez</b></a>- Prominent fashion designer who has created dresses for the late Caroline Bessette Kennedy and most recently Michelle Obama.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Music</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celia_Cruz"><b>Celia Cruz</b></a>- Late <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning singer known as the &ldquo;Queen of Salsa&rdquo; with 23 gold albums during her more than 50 year career.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Estefan"><b>Emilio Estefan</b></a>- Former member of the Miami Sound Machine and five-time <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning producer.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Estefan"><b>Gloria Estefan</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards">Academy Award</a>-nominated singer, also a former member of the Miami Sound Machine.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Secada"><b>Jon Secada</b></a>- Two-time <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy">Grammy</a>-winning singer and songwriter, known for his collaborations with Gloria and Emilio Estefan.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Writers</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_de_Acosta"><b>Mercedes de Acosta</b></a>- Poet and playwright active in the 1920s and 1930s, known equally for her writing as well as her scandalous private life that included lesbian affairs with numerous Hollywood actresses.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynaldo_Arenas"><b>Reynaldo Arenas</b></a>- Poet, novelist and playwright, best known for his acclaimed autobiography <i>Before Night Falls,</i> which was adapted into a movie.</div> <div><b>Nilo Cruz</b>- Playwright and first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play <i>Anna in the Tropics.</i></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Hijuelos"><b>Oscar Hijuelos</b></a>- Novelist and first Hispanic to win the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulitzer_Prize">Pulitzer Prize</a> for Fiction for his book <i>The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love</i>, which was also adapted into a movie and Broadway musical.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Journalists</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Diaz-Balart"><b>Jose Diaz-Balart</b></a>- Emmy Award-winning news anchor for Telemundo.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soledad_O%27Brien"><b>Soledad O'Brien</b></a>- Half-Cuban Emmy Award-winning CNN news anchor, spearheaded her network&rsquo;s Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Rodriguez"><b>Maggie Rodriguez</b></a>- Co-anchor of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CBS">CBS</a>'s &ldquo;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Early_Show">The Early Show</a>.&rdquo;</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Sanchez"><b>Rick Sanchez</b></a>- Emmy Award-winning <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN">CNN</a> anchor and contributor for CNN Espa&ntilde;ol.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Politics, Judiciary, Military</b></div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Marion_Hern%C3%A1ndez"><b>Joseph Marion Hern&aacute;ndez</b></a>- First Hispanic elected to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress">United States Congress</a> in 1822.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Diaz-Balart"><b>Lincoln Diaz-Balart</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)">Republican</a> member of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>, representing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida%27s_21st_congressional_district">Florida's 21st district</a> that includes part of Northern Miami.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Diaz-Balart"><b>Mario Diaz-Balart</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)">Republican</a> member of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>, representing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida%27s_25th_congressional_district">Florida's 25th district</a> that includes part of Western Miami. Is a particularly active member of the Cuban-American lobby.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileana_Ros-Lehtinen"><b>Ileana Ros-Lehtinen</b></a>- First Cuban-American woman elected to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>. Republican, represents <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida%27s_18th_congressional_district">Florida's 18th district</a> which includes parts of south Miami and the Florida Keys. Along with the Diaz-Balart family, is one of the prominent members of the Cuban-American lobby.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albio_Sires"><b>Albio Sires</b></a>- <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(United_States)">Democratic</a> member of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives">United States House of Representatives</a>, representing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey%27s_13th_congressional_district">New Jersey's 13th district</a>. Was also the first Hispanic to serve as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_New_Jersey">Acting Governor of New Jersey</a> when former Govs. Jim McGreevey and former Gov. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Codey">Richard Codey</a> left their positions.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Martinez"><b>Mel Martinez</b></a>- Junior Republican Senator from Florida and former Chairman of the Republican National Committee from November 2006 to October 2007.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Menendez"><b>Bob Menendez</b></a>- Democratic New Jersey senior Senator and former Representative of the state&rsquo;s 12th district.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_G._Cantero,_III"><b>Raoul G. Cantero, III</b></a>- former justice on the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Supreme_Court">Florida Supreme Court</a> and first Hispanic to be appointed to this position. Is also the grandson of the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Rodriguez"><b>Felix Rodriguez</b></a>- Former <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA">CIA</a> officer who was involved in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion">Bay of Pigs Invasion</a>, and led the capture, interrogation, and subsequent assassination of Ernesto &ldquo;Che&rdquo; Guevara in Bolivia in 1967. It has also been revealed that Rodriguez was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s presidency,</div> <p>After almost 50 years of hostilities, the United States and Cuba continue to have limited relations. There is a US mission in Havana, but it has minimal communication with the Cuban government. Since 1961, the official US policy towards Cuba has consisted of economic embargo and diplomatic isolation. The Bush administration has strongly enforced the embargo and strengthened travel restrictions. Americans with immediate family may visit once every three years for a maximum of two weeks, while the total amount of family remittances an authorized traveler may carry to Cuba is $300, reduced from $3,000 in 2004.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>All US travel to Cuba must be licensed by the Department of Treasury&rsquo;s Office of Foreign Asset Control and must fall into one of 10 categories. All exports to Cuba must also be licensed by the Commerce Department&rsquo;s Bureau of Industry and Security.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But Congress has softened administration policy in some areas. Lawmakers amended the trade embargo in 2000 to allow agricultural exports from the United States to Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Many foreign policy experts say the possibility of normalized relations between the two adversaries remains remote. Wayne Smith, director of the Cuba program at the <a href="http://www.ciponline.org/">Center for International Policy</a>, told the Council on Foreign Relations that Cuba has the &ldquo;same effect on US administrations that the full moon has on a werewolf.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Fidel&rsquo;s resignation in February 2008 may create an opening for a change in US-Cuba relations. But it may also require a change in the White House before anything really changes. <a name="5"></a>The three main issues standing in the way of better relations are human rights violations in Cuba; Guant&aacute;namo Bay, over which Cuban officials have grown increasingly critical; and the Cuban exile community, which is rabidly anti-Castro and wields considerable political power in Florida politics.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Although the Bush administration&rsquo;s tightened travel restrictions upset many Cuban-Americans, hard-line Cuban exiles still lobby for regime change. Several Cuban-Americans sit on the US-based <a href="http://www.cafc.gov/">Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba</a> (CAFC), <a name="7"></a>which was established by President Bush in 2003 to &ldquo;help hasten and ease Cuba&rsquo;s democratic transition.&rdquo; The commission is now headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to census data, 1,241,685 Cubans live in the US. The majority, over 60%, live in Florida, in and around Miami. There are also large communities in New York, New Jersey and California. In 2006, 36,808 Americans visited Cuba. The number of visitors has been declining rapidly since 2003 when 84,529 Americans visited Cuba.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2006, 20,266 Cubans visited the US. The number of visitors has fluctuated between a low of 18,543 (2003) and a high of 26,880 (2002) in recent years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba.htm">United States-Cuban Relations</a> (Latin American Studies.org)</div> <div><a href="http://www.cfr.org/publication/11113/uscuba_relations.html">US-Cuba Relations </a>(by Stephanie Hanson, Council on Foreign Relations)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p>Since Congress relaxed the US embargo to allow food exports to Cuba, American trade has gradually increased in this sector. In 2006, US companies exported roughly $336 million worth of food and agricultural products to Cuba, according to the US International Trade Commission. In 2001 that figure was virtually zero. In 2007 the largest export was corn ($109 million), followed by meat and poultry ($84.8 million) and wheat ($70.1 million).</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas have all brokered agricultural deals with Cuba. Several initiatives are pending in Congress that would ease restrictions on Cuban payments for US agricultural exports.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>US imports, on the other hand, are virtually non-existent, totaling only $262,000 in 2007. Most of that was artwork, antiques and other collectibles ($202,000).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>When Castro&rsquo;s revolution took hold of Cuba in 1959, many US companies lost valuable property and assets. As many as 6,000 companies have claims against the Cuban government valued at $20 billion. One such company is OfficeMax, even though the office supply chain was never in business in Cuba. But over the years it came to own another US company, Boise Cascade, which had a stake in Cuba&rsquo;s national electric company.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Other claimants include Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Exxon Mobil, Chiquita Brands and Starwood Hotels.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cuba received $10.9 million in US aid in 2006, all of which was dedicated to Governing Justly and Democratically. The largest programs to receive funding were Civic Participation ($3.9 million), Media Freedom and Freedom of Information ($3.5 million) and Human Rights ($2.1 million).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In accordance with the suggestions of the <a href="http://www.cafc.gov/">Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba</a> (CAFC), the 2008 budget will increase aid to Cuba to $45.7 million. The largest recipient programs will be Civic Participation ($18 million), Media Freedom and Freedom of Information ($13.7 million) and Human Rights ($5 million). The budget growth is the result of a two-year, $80 million plan suggested by CAFC to empower civic organizations at a time when the regime undergoes a transitional phase.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/stakes-08.htm">Corporate stakes in Cuba</a> (by Telis Demos, CNN)</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/farm-sales-07.htm">U.S. farm sales to Cuba most since 2000</a> (by Wilfredo Cancio Isla, Nuevo Herald)</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c2390.html">Imports from Cuba</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c2390.html">Exports to Cuba</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations (pages 673-674)</a> (PDF)</div> <div><a href="http://www.usitc.gov/publications/pub3932.pdf">US Agricultural Sales to Cuba </a>(US International Trade Commission) (PDF)</div> <div><a href="http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33819.pdf">Cuba: Issues before the 110th Congress </a>(by Mark P. Sullivan, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Controversies
<p><b>Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;Moderate&rdquo; Position Alienates Cuban-American Conservatives</b></p> <div>During the 2008 campaign for president, Barack Obama has taken a &ldquo;moderate approach&rdquo; toward Cuba that has threatened his popularity among Cuban-Americans in Florida. While some experts admit that the US economic embargo has become a &ldquo;a paper lion ripped with flaws,&rdquo; the belief still exists in key parts of Miami that any politician seeking Florida&rsquo;s electoral votes should not deviate from the time-tested script: &ldquo;Castro bad. Embargo good.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>All major presidential candidates since 1992 have advocated continuing sanctions against Cuba.</div> <div>Obama said he would look at easing the embargo if Cuba showed signs of democracy, and he also expressed a willingness to meet with President Ra&uacute;l Castro.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cuban-Americans represent a critical swing vote, amounting to 7% of the state&rsquo;s total. They helped deliver the 2000 election to George W. Bush by voting for him 4-to-1 over Al Gore.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the Bob Dole-Bill Clinton race in 1996, exit polls showed that only 46% of Florida&rsquo;s Hispanics voted for Dole, compared with the traditional 5- or 6-to-1 advantage enjoyed by Republican candidates. The beneficiary was Clinton, whose Cuban-American support spiked from 22% in &lsquo;92 to 42% in &lsquo;96. Clinton supported the Helms-Burton bill, which called for tightening the embargo against Cuba.</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/obama-risks.htm">Obama risks losing Florida over Cuba stance</a> (by George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Cuba Demands Guantanamo Bay Back</b></div> <div>In February 2008, the Cuban government repeated its demand that the US return Guant&aacute;namo Bay to the island nation. Havana officials also denounced the United States&rsquo; use of the base as a &ldquo;war on terror&rdquo; prison, where the American military has held hundreds of terrorism suspects since 2001. Cuba&rsquo;s Foreign Minister, Felipe P&eacute;rez Roque, claimed that suspects held in the US naval base in the southeastern tip of Cuba have been subjected to torture and face unfair legal treatment. &ldquo;We demand again the closure of the indecent Guant&aacute;namo prison, the return of the territory illegally occupied to our fatherland,&rdquo; P&eacute;rez Roque said. The United States, which has occupied Guant&aacute;namo for more than 100 years, signed in 1934 a lease agreement with the Cuban government that could not be altered without agreement by both countries. Since 1960, the Cuban government has refused to accept the annual lease payment of $5,000 from the United States.</div> <div><a href="http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23211613-663,00.html">Cuba demands US gives back Guantanamo Bay</a> (Agence France-Presse)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Custody Battle Mirrors Elian Gonz&aacute;lez Controversy</b></div> <div>A five-year-old girl living in Coral Gables was at the center of an international custody dispute between the United States and Cuba in 2007 over who would raise her: her father, Rafael Izquierdo, a Cuban pig farmer, or a a wealthy Cuban-American couple, former baseball agent Joe Cubas and his wife Maria.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The girl was taken from her mother by the Florida Department of Children &amp; Families (DCF) after she attempted suicide in December 2005. DCF also took custody of the girl&rsquo;s older, preteen brother. The children, who have different fathers living in Cuba, came to the United States legally in 2005. The boy&rsquo;s father agreed to surrender his parental rights, sources said, but the girl&rsquo;s father pressed to gain custody. His lawyer was Ira Kurzban, a prominent immigration attorney who has represented the Cuban government in the past.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There are similarities and differences between this case and that of Eli&aacute;n Gonz&aacute;lez, whose custody dispute in 2000 made international headlines and sparked raw emotions in South Florida, where communities were torn by heated arguments over where he belonged. The main similarity: The new dispute involved a young child in Miami with a father in Cuba seeking custody, a case that once again had political and emotional repercussions in South Florida and Havana. In fact, Florida&rsquo;s Republican governor, Jeb Bush, and his successor, Charlie Crist, kept close tabs on the case while the Florida Department of Children &amp; Families spent more than $250,000 in support of the Cubases and against Izquierdo.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The differences: Eli&aacute;n fled Cuba on a boat and was rescued at sea after his mother drowned. The mother of the girl in this case, who succeeded in bringing her child to the United States, is alive but was ruled unfit to care for her children. And there are no Miami relatives caring for the girl, as there were in Eli&aacute;n's case.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Florida state attorneys brought the case to trial and, in September 2006, Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen ruled in favor of Izquierdo. The state appealed, but in November 2007, the state of Florida dropped its appeal when Izquierdo agreed to remain with his daughter in the United States and to allow the Cubases to have visitation rights for three years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://glennsacks.com/blog/index.php?tag=rafael-izquierdo">Embattled Cuban Father Wins Sole Custody in &ldquo;Elian Gonzalez II Case</a> (by Glenn Sacks)</div> <div><a href="http://www.sptimes.com/2007/11/29/State/Cuban_father_gets_cus.shtml">Cuban father gets custody in settlement</a> (Associated Press)</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/rafael-izquierdo.htm">Rafael Izquierdo, the birth father, fights to gain custody</a> (by Tere Figueras Negrete, Miami Herald)</div> <div><a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/custody-fight.htm">U.S.-Cuba custody fight brews over girl</a> (by Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>US Diplomat Has Falling Out with Cuban Government</b></div> <div>In 2005, Michael Parmly took over as the top US official in Havana, replacing James Cason, who had earned a reputation in his three years in Cuba as an aggressive critic of the Fidel Castro government. Parmly at first took a different style, and even Castro initially noted the difference between him and Cason, describing Parmly&rsquo;s correspondence as &ldquo;respectful.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But as time passed, Parmly appeared to wear out his welcome. In 2006, the electricity went off at the mission for several days in what US officials called part of a deliberate Cuban harassment campaign that included poisoning a US diplomat&rsquo;s pet and shutting off water to the mission. Parmly said the harassment &ldquo;makes Ceausescu&rsquo;s Romania look like real amateurs,&rdquo; referring to the notorious dictator of Romania during the Cold War. (Parmly previously served in Romania and speaks Romanian.) Castro later called Parmly a &ldquo;little gangster,&rdquo; and another Cuban official him &ldquo;an imperial sergeant.&rdquo; In May 2008, the Cuban government claimed that they had videotaped Parmly handed over cash to dissident Martha Beatriz Roque.</div> <div><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/24/cuba.usa">Cuban sting shows US diplomat handing over cash to dissidents</a> (by Rory Carroll, The Guardian)</div> <div><a href="http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/jonathan-farrar-to-replace-michael-parmly-as-ambassador-to-cuba/">Jonathan Farrar to replace Michael Parmly as &ldquo;ambassador&rdquo; to Cuba</a> (by Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Human Rights
<p>The US State Department characterizes Cuba as being a &ldquo;totalitarian state&rdquo; with elections that have been &ldquo;neither free nor fair.&rdquo; The government exercises control through the Communist Party (CP) and its affiliated mass organizations, the bureaucracy, and the state security apparatus. The Ministry of the Interior exercises control over police, the internal security forces, and the prison system.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the State Department, &ldquo;The government continued to deny its citizens their basic human rights and committed numerous, serious abuses. The government denied citizens the right to change their government. There were at least 240 political prisoners and detainees held at year&rsquo;s end. As many as 5,000 citizens served sentences for &lsquo;dangerousness,&rsquo; with no more specific criminal behavior charged.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Also, the following human rights problems were reported: &ldquo;unlawful killings; killings, beatings, and abuse of detainees and prisoners, including human rights activists, carried out with impunity; harsh and life‑threatening prison conditions, including denial of medical care; harassment, beatings, and threats against political opponents by government‑recruited mobs, police, and state security officials; arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights advocates and members of independent professional organizations; denial of fair trial, and interference with privacy, including pervasive monitoring of private communications.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were also severe limitations on freedom of speech and press; denial of peaceful assembly and association; restrictions on freedom of movement, including selective denial of exit permits to citizens and the forcible removal of persons from Havana to their home towns; and refusal to recognize domestic human rights groups or permit them to function legally. Domestic violence, underage prostitution, sex tourism, discrimination against persons of African descent, and severe restrictions on worker rights, including the right to form independent unions, were also problems.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>State Department officials claim that &ldquo;although physical torture was rare, authorities beat, harassed, and made death threats against dissidents, both inside and outside of prison. Many were interrogated and pressured to sign incriminating statements or to collaborate with authorities. Some detainees and prisoners endured physical abuse, sometimes by other inmates with the acquiescence of guards, or long periods in isolation or punishment cells. Political prisoners and detainees who refused to wear the prison uniform or take part in &lsquo;reeducation&rsquo; activities were targeted for mistreatment.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;Prison conditions continued to be harsh and life threatening. Conditions at approximately 200 detention facilities and jails were even worse, with cells that were routinely vermin infested and lacked water, sanitation facilities, adequate ventilation, and lighting.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) stated that the government held at least 240 political prisoners and detainees. The convictions were for such offenses as disrespect of the head of state, disrespect and scorn of patriotic symbols, public disorder, and attempting to leave the country illegally. Other inmates had been convicted of disseminating enemy propaganda, illicit association, clandestine printing, or the broad charge of rebellion, which sometimes has been brought against advocates of peaceful democratic change.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mistreatment of political prisoners and detainees was widespread. Beatings were not uncommon, and many political inmates were denied privileges given to ordinary prisoners, such as access to an exercise yard or sunshine. The government continued to deny human rights organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross access to political prisoners and detainees. Authorities denied visits to families of political prisoners and detainees. Prisoners in punishment cells had no access to lawyers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press as long as such activities &ldquo;conform to the aims of socialist society,&rdquo; a clause which has been used to bar free speech. Citizens who spoke with independent journalists risked government retaliation, and the government considered print and electronic media to be state property.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to Human Rights Watch, &ldquo;Cuba&rsquo;s abusive legal and institutional mechanisms continue to deprive Cubans of their basic rights,&rdquo; even after the resignation of Fidel Castro as head of the government. &ldquo;Even if Castro no longer calls the shots, the repressive machinery he constructed over almost half a century remains fully intact,&rdquo; said Jos&eacute; Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. &ldquo;Until that changes, it&rsquo;s unlikely there will be any real progress on human rights in Cuba.&rdquo; <br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100635.htm">U.S. State Department</a></div> <div><a href="http://hrw.org/doc/?t=americas&amp;c=cuba">Human Rights Watch</a></div> <div><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/americas/caribbean/cuba">Amnesty International</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p>Herbert Goldsmith Squiers <br /> Appointment: May 20, 1902 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1902 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 2, 1905</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Edwin V. Morgan <br /> Appointment: Nov 29, 1905 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1906 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 5, 1910</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>John B. Jackson <br /> Appointment: Dec 21, 1909 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 22, 1910 <br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 27, 1911</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Arthur M. Beaupre <br /> Appointment: Aug 12, 1911 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 18, 1911 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 28, 1913</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William E. Gonzales <br /> Appointment: Jun 21, 1913 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 9, 1913 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 18, 1919</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Boaz W. Long <br /> Appointment: Jun 30, 1919 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: [Jan 8, 1920] <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 17, 1921 <br /> Note: Formally received on Jan 8, 1920.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Enoch H. Crowder <br /> Appointment: Feb 10, 1923 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 5, 1923 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, May 28, 1927</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Noble Brandon Judah <br /> Appointment: Nov 22, 1927 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 17, 1927. <br /> Termination of Mission: Dec 23, 1927 Left post, Jun 1, 1929</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Harry F. Guggenheim <br /> Appointment: Oct 10, 1929 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 21, 1929 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 2, 1933</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Sumner Welles <br /> Appointment: Apr 24, 1933 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 11, 1933 <br /> Termination of Mission: Normal relations were interrupted on Sep 5, 1933; the new government of Cuba was still unrecognized by the United States when Welles left post on Dec 13, 1933.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Jefferson Caffery <br /> Appointment: Feb 23, 1934 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Feb 28, 1934 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 9, 1937</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>J. Butler Wright <br /> Appointment: Jul 13, 1937 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 23, 1937 <br /> Termination of Mission: Died at post, Dec 4, 1939</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>George S. Messersmith <br /> Appointment: Jan 12, 1940 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 8, 1940 <br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 8, 1942</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Spruille Braden <br /> Appointment: Dec 20, 1941 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 19, 1942 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 27, 1945</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>R. Henry Norweb <br /> Appointment: May 21, 1945 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1945 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, May 22, 1948</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert Butler <br /> Appointment: May 22, 1948 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 8, 1948 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 10, 1951</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Willard L. Beaulac <br /> Appointment: Jun 20, 1951 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 20, 1951 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 9, 1953</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Arthur Gardner <br /> Appointment: May 28, 1953 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Oct 16, 1953 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 16, 1957</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Earl E. T. Smith <br /> Appointment: Jun 3, 1957 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 23, 1957 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 19, 1959</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Philip W. Bonsal <br /> Appointment: Feb 16, 1959 <br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1959 <br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 28, 1960</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Note:</b> Daniel M. Braddock was serving as Charg&eacute; d'Affaires ad interim when the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in Jan 1961. A U.S. Interests Section was established in the Swiss Embassy on Sep 1, 1977.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Principal Officers since 1977: Lyle F. Lane (Sep 1977&ndash;Jul 1979), Wayne S. Smith (Jul 1979&ndash;Aug 1982), John A. Ferch (Aug 1982&ndash;Jul 1985), Curtis W. Kamman (Aug 1985&ndash;Sep 1987), John J. Taylor (Sep 1987&ndash;Sep 1990), Alan H. Flanigan (Sep 1990&ndash;Jul 1993), Joseph G. Sullivan (Jul 1993&ndash;Sep 1996), Michael G. Kozak (Sep 1996&ndash;Sep 1999), Vicki Huddleston (Sep 1999&ndash;Jun 2002), James C. Casson (Sep 2002&ndash;Sep 2005), Michael Parmly (Sep 2005&ndash;2008).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10462.htm">Former U.S. Ambassadors to Cuba</a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>
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Cuba's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Bolaños, Jorge

Jorge Bolaños Suarez has served as head of the Cuban Interest Section in the United States since November 2007. Born in Las Tunas, Bolaños studied political sciences and international law at the University of Havana and did postgraduate work in foreign relations at the University of London. He was a member of Castro’s guerrilla army that overthrew the Batista government in 1959. Between 1959 and 1963, Bolaños was a member of the National Board of the Union of Banks and Insurances. In 1963 he was a country specialist in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In 1964, Bolaños was Staff  Director for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He then served as First Secretary to the Cuban Embassy in London from 1965-1968. He has served as ambassador to Poland (1971-1974), Czechoslovakia (1974-1977), United Kingdom (1977-1981), Brazil (1986-1995) and Mexico (2001-2007). Between 1981 and 1986, Bolaños served as first vice minister of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
 
 

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Cuba's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p>Cuba does not maintain an embassy in the US. However it does have an <a href="http://embacu.cubaminrex.cu/Default.aspx?alias=embacu.cubaminrex.cu/sicw">Interests Section</a> in the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC.</p>
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tosha 3 years ago
i love cuba

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U.S. Ambassador to Cuba

Farrar, Jonathan
ambassador-image

A native of Los Angeles, Jonathan D. Farrar was confirmed as ambasador to Nicaragua on March 29, 2012. He previously served as the Chief of Mission of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, beginning in July 2008.
 
He studied at California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Claremont Graduate School and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
 
Farrar joined the State Department in 1980 as an economic officer and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.
 
Farrar has held a variety of domestic assignments in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, including service as deputy director of the Office of Andean Affairs and as country desk officer for Argentina. Farrar served twice on the staff of the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, most recently as chief of staff to the Under Secretary from 2002 to 2004.
 
Farrar’s career includes extensive experience in Latin America. His most recent overseas posting was as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Montevideo, Uruguay. Farrar also served at the US embassies in Mexico, Belize, and Paraguay.
 
From 2004 to 2005, Farrar served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL), with responsibility for INL’s programs in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Asia and Europe.
 
Farrar then served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and was DRL’s acting assistant secretary from August 2007 to March 2008. In this capacity, Farrar oversaw DRL’s human rights and democracy programs around the world, with a particular focus on Asia and the Western Hemisphere.
 

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