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Havana license plate
9.20.02
Politics and Economy:
Distant Neighbors
More on This Story:
Cuba/United States Timeline

Next week hundreds of American food and agricultural producers will hawk their goods — in Cuba. A sort of mini free trade zone in the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Right now, U.S. food companies are doing a hundred million dollars of business in Cuba, thanks to recent changes in American law. And, there's currently a bill in Congress to ease travel restrictions — it's called the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2002. It's all part of a transformation going on in Cuba — a transformation in part driven by the American dollar. Below is a brief timeline of Cuban - U.S. relations. Follow the links in the timeline to find more detailed information.

1868Carlos M. Céspedes issued the Grito de Yara and initiated the Ten Years' War in Cuba (1868-1878), the independence movement that served as the forerunner of the 1895 Insurrection and the Spanish American War.
1880'sCuba's dominant economic partner is the U.S.
1886Abolition of slavery in Cuba
1892José Julián Martí y Pérez forms El Partido Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary party). This Cuban political party was organized first in New York City and Philadelphia and soon spread to Tampa and Key West, Florida
1895Mari y Perez returns to Cuba. The Cuban independence movement (Ejército Libertador de Cuba) issued the proclamation "Grito de Baire," declaring Independencia o muerte (Independence or death). Rebels led by Jose Marti resist Spanish occupation

U.S. President Grover Cleveland proclaimed U.S. neutrality in the Cuban Insurrection.
1896The U.S. Senate recognized Cuban belligerency when it passed overwhelmingly the joint John T. Morgan/Donald Cameron resolution calling for recognition of Cuban belligerency and Cuban independence.
1897William Randolph Hearst's NEW YORK JOURNAL and Joseph Pulitzer's NEW YORK WORLD battle for subscribers with sensational stories about Spanish repression in Cuba.
1898Spain grants limited autonomy to Cuba.
USS Maine explodes in Havana Harbor.
The United States Government issued an ultimatum to the Spanish Government to leave Cuba. Spain rejected the ultimatum on April 1, 1898.
The U.S. Congress agreed to President McKinley's request for intervention in Cuba, but without recognizing the Cuban Government, April 13, 1898
The U.S. Congress by a vote of 311 to 6 in the House and 42 to 35 in the Senate adopted the Joint Resolution for War with Spain which included the Teller Amendment, named after Senator Henry Moore Teller (Colorado), which disclaimed any intention of the U.S. to exercise jurisdiction or control over Cuba except in a pacification role and promised to leave the island as soon as the war was over. President McKinley signed the resolution on April 20, 1898 and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain.
April 25, 1898, war is declared.
August 12, 1898, ceasefire announced.
Spain grants Cuba her independence, December 10 , 1898.
1899-1901U.S. military government in Cuba
1901Protectorate provisions known as the Platt Amendment are incorporated into the Cuban Constitution. The Amendment grants U.S. the right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs and states Cuba cannot enter into treaties or financial relationships with other countries. U.S. can also maintain a naval base on the island.
1930'sWorldwide depression cripples Cuba's export economy.
1934Under President Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy, the Platt Amendment is repealed, although the U.S. maintains its naval base.
General Fulgencia Batista rises to power .
1953Fidel Castro leads first rebellion against Fulgencia Batista, fails, and is imprisoned.
1955Batista releases Castro from prison.
1956Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and a band of revolutionaries set out from Mexico to Cuba to launch guerilla warfare against the Batista regime.
1958Castro's guerilla army forces the Batista regime to flee Cuba on New Year's Eve.
1959U.S. is only second government to recognize revolutionary Cuba.
Agrarian reform begins.
1960Cuba nationalizes U.S. corporate assets
U.S. sanctions and a partial embargo are imposed on Cuba.
1961U.S. cuts all diplomatic relations with Castro's Cuba.
Kennedy Administration gives green light for Bay of Pigs Invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles.
Bay of Pigs debacle results in total embargo of Cuba.
Castro officially declares his adherence to Marxist-Leninist political philosophy.
1962Cuban Missile Crisis begins when President Kennedy announces presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba to the American public.
Late 60'sCuba - Soviet relations strengthen.
1975Organization of American States (OAS) lifts diplomatic and economic sanctions on Cuba.
U.S. allows U.S. foreign subsidiaries to trade with Cuba.
1976Cuba's Socialist Constitution is declared.
Terrorist attack on Cuban airliner creates renewed tensions between Cuba and the U.S. Former CIA employee Louis Posada Carriles is tried for the crime.
1978Castro releases 400 political prisoners.
1980Castro relaxes emigration restrictions. Mariel Boatlift begins a massive migration of approximately 125,000 Cubans to the U.S.
1986U.S.S.R. initiates a five year, $3 billion aid effort to Cuba.
1988Sen. Claireborne Pell (D-RI) suggests easing Cuban embargo for necessary medicines.
1990Cuban state television broadcasts first unedited weekly news program.
1991U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) finds no evidence of human rights abuses in Cuba.
1992Torricelli Bill, aka The Cuban Democracy Bill, tightens U.S. embargo by prohibiting transactions between U.S. foreign subsidiaries and Cuba.
UN condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba
1993Cuba holds first popular election since the Revolution. Elections consist of one candidate per position with voters choosing either to elect or reject the candidate.
1994Largest Cuban migration since the Mariel Boatlift occurs.
1996On February 24, 1996, Cuba shoots down two civilian aircrafts piloted by Brothers to the Rescue, An anti-Castro humanitarian outfit.
The Helms-Burton Act (The Cuban Liberty And Democratic Solidarity Act Of 1996) is passed by Congress, granting U.S. citizens the right to sue foreign investors profiting from expropriated U.S. assets.
1998Pope John Paul II visits Cuba and attacks the U.S. embargo as "deplorable." Pope also calls on Castro's Communistic government to loosen political restrictions and embrace pluralism.

Sources: The Oxford Companion to American History; Library of Congress: The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War; Crucible of Empire: PBS Online; Documents in American History, Mt. Holyoke College; George Washington University, National Security Archive; The CIA Freedom of Information Page, Bay of Pigs; The State Department: The U.S. and Cuba

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