On July 26 a movement seized power in January 1959, toppling President Fulgencio Batista, whose unpopular regime had been denied arms by the Eisenhower administration.

Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States continued for some time after Batista’s fall, but President Eisenhower deliberately left the capital to avoid meeting Cuba’s young revolutionary leader Fidel Castro during the latter’s trip to Washington in April, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to conduct the meeting in his place. Cuba began negotiating arms purchases from Eastern Europe in March 1960.

In January 1961, just prior to leaving office, Eisenhower formally severed relations with the Cuban government.

In April 1961, the administration of newly elected American President John F. Kennedy mounted an unsuccessful CIA-organized ship-borne invasion of the island at Playa Girón and Playa Larga in Las Villas Province a failure that publicly humiliated the United States. Castro responded by publicly embracing Marxism–Leninism, and the Soviet Union pledged to provide further support.

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