1959: Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba

Time flies and we recall another day in Cuban history:

“On February 16, 1959, Fidel Castro is sworn in as prime minister of Cuba after leading a guerrilla campaign that forced right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista into exile. Castro, who became commander in chief of Cuba’s armed forces after Batista was ousted on January 1, replaced the more moderate Miro Cardona as head of the country’s new provisional government.”

Castro followed this move with a trip to the US. He met with VP Nixon, was a guest on “Meet the Press,” and spoke before The National Press Club. He received very favorable press and I think that most of the media in the US was caught up in the tale of the charming bearded man destined to turn into some kind of Cuban George Washington.

Back in Cuba, Castro still enjoyed vast support. However, it started to erode in 1960 when radical steps were implemented. Castro went after the private schools, the newspapers and the media. Elections were never held. Repression was everywhere.

Finally, Cuba became a huge issue in the 1960 election and then Senator Kennedy beat up VP Nixon because the Eisenhower administration had been too easy on Cuba. On January ’61, or two years after Castro became prime minister, the US broke diplomatic relations and that was followed by The Bay of Pigs and The Missile Crisis.

And you know the rest of the ugly story. Castro never became the Cuban George Washington, but he did govern a lot like the Cuban Josef Stalin.

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2 thoughts on “1959: Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba”

  1. Note he was still wearing a religious medal around his neck then, which meant nothing. And the fact he wouldn’t stop wearing military fatigues or the stupid beard should have been seen for the payasería it was.

  2. Cubans clearly need to get MUCH better at recognizing BS. If my mother (who was never into politics) could do it, so can they. Of course, my mother was a highly atypical woman and definitely atypical Cuban.

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