A brief history of America and Cuba

A brief history of America and Cuba

America is opening up relations with Cuba,
and it’s a big deal, ending decades of hostility, and beginning a new era between the two countries. But to understand just how big of a deal , where
that hostility really came from, and why it took so long to end, you’ve go to go back
— way back, not to the 1950s as many Americans think, but to the 1850s. The story starts with America divided between
pro-slavery and anti-slavery politics. And one of their many fights is over the Spanish
colony of Cuba. Pro-slavery lawmakers want to buy Cuba from Spain, or take it by force,
to turn into a new slave state. Anti-slavery politicians oppose this, calling it imperialism. In 1898, after slavery ends, Americans have
a different version of this argument again, when Cubans rise up against Spain. The US
joins them, starting the Spanish-American war. But Americans divide: should the US seize
Cuba from Spain for itself, or liberate it? This is part of a much bigger debate at the
time over whether the US should explicitly become a European-style imperial power. So this is an argument about Cuba, but it’s
also an argument about America and what kind of country it should be. Should America be
the kind of country that controls Cuba, or that respects it as a fellow sovereign nation?
That argument has continued, in different forms, ever since At this point, in 1898, the fight happens
in Congress. Each side passes laws trying to force their way. It ends with a weird split-baby
policy, with Cuba winning independence, but under quasi-imperial rule. The US would take
over Guantanamo Bay, dictate Cuba’s foreign policy, and give itself the right to intervene
in Cuban affairs. Then come the next American interventions
in Cuba, in 1906 and 1917. Each time, the US military takes over for a few years, ostensibly
to resolve some political crisis, but that usually means protecting American interests,
such as sugar imports. Today, when Americans think about the US and
Cuba, we think of the Cold War, but Cubans often think back to this imperial era. That era technically ends in 1933, with an
uprising against Cuba’s government. Under US law, America is supposed to intervene,
but President Franklin Roosevelt want to end America’s imperial era, so he declares neutrality. Over the next 20 years, Cuba becomes a democracy,
and one that’s generally friendly with the US. That changes in 1952, when a former president
and military leader named Fulgencio Batista seizes power in a coup, suspends the constitution,
and imposes an increasingly oppressive rule. Cuba’s Communist uprising begins the next
year, led by a young Fidel Castro. American politics at this point is obsessed with fears
of communism, so the US backs Batista in the war, no matter how brutal he becomes. For Americans, this feels like a front in
the struggle against communism. But for Cubans, it feels like Batista is an extension of American
imperialism, and the guerrilla war a continuation of their long fight for freedom. The communists win in 1959 and Castro takes
power. The US, fearing communism’s expansion, sets up the embargo to strangle Cuba’s economy,
tries to assassinate Castro, even, in the disaster known as Bay of Pigs, sends in CIA-trained
Cubans to try to take over the island. Castro turns to the Soviets for help, and
in 1962 they nearly start World War Three when the US blocks Soviet efforts to put nuclear
missiles in Cuba. The incident scares everyone enough that things settle into a tense but
peaceful status quo. Over time, ordinary Cubans are squeezed between
the US embargo and Castro’s dictatorship. In 1980, Castro tries to relieve some political
dissent by briefly allowing Cubans to leave the island, and 125,000 arrive in Florida. No one realizes it at the time, but this adds
a completely new dimension to the conflict. It’s now also about the internal Cuban battle
between Castro and Cuban dissidents, which plays out through American politics. This becomes really important in the 1990s.
After the Soviet Union collapses, President Clinton, seeing Cuba poses no threat, wants
to end the conflict. So does Castro, who can’t count on Soviet aid any more. But Cubans in America, who suffered terribly
at Castro’s hand, want to see him fall, and push for keeping the embargo. In 1996, Cuba shoots down two private planes
chartered by Cuban-American activists. There’s a big backlash in the US, and Clinton backs
down. 20 years later, President Obama tries again
to end the conflict. By now, Americans don’t really support the embargo. Lots of Cuban-Americans
are now economic migrants, rather than political exiles, so they want openness. Fidel is getting
old, and in 2008 hands power to his brother Raul, who knows the country needs to change. The US and Cuba start secret talks in 2013.
The new Pope, Francis, helps negotiate. In 2014, they reveal their agreement to end the
conflict, and the next year Obama becomes the first president to visit since Calvin
Coolidge in 1928. The US and Cuba have never really had “normal”
relations until now, and that’s crucial to understanding why it took so long for this
to happen. So much has passed between the two countries over the past century, and the
US has at times treated Cuba as more of a colony than a real country. It’s a lot to
get over. But it looks like they might both finally be ready.


  1. No offense to any Americans, but why did you take mostly Spanish speaking countries like the Philippines, which are one of my neighbors (I'm Malaysian)?

  2. Vox call all freedom fighters in the world "Dictators". I am sure Maduro is also a dictator in your books. I like this channel but i don't like the indocrination that comes with it. America is itself a brutal dictator in the international community. The truth will set you free Vox. Lots of love.

  3. No mention of America putting nukes in Europe that could hit Russia? A big peice of information missed. Every American thinks their military stopped Russia from getting to Cuba. In fact America agreed to disarm their hostile acts towards Russia if Russia did not arm Cuba with nukes.

  4. You know who else is old? Cuban-Americans who fled in the 60s. Now you have a generation who just wants to connect with the land of their ancestors.

  5. The real people who Really suffer from this is Cuban Americans, it’s sad that they have to choose in many instances between freedom or family

  6. Basically the world is on A tangent and everyone does not realise we live on one planet, and death is near, you don't take anything to the grave with you 🤣🤣🤣 DELUSIONAL !!!!

  7. It would have been interesting if US purchased or annexed Cuba back in the 1850s. Would Cubans assimilate and turn into Americans?

  8. No me sorprende ver a los hispanistas llorar por lo de la Guerra hispano-americana, acusando sin preubas de un supuesto ataque de falsa bandera. Igual eso no quita que los americanos hayan sido malos con los cubanos.

  9. It also doesn’t mention that the mariel boatlift was not Castro being uncharacteristically kind, but rather an opportunity for him to empty out his prisons and mental hospitals by mixing in criminals with other Cubans fleeing.

  10. Read in a text book that said Spain told America they would let the island sink before they sold it to them.

    I um—
    Go off then.

  11. Why is using blue color for the northerns and red for the southerns in 1850s??? VOX videos sound like they re written by Hilary Clinton

  12. The US imposed Jim Crow on my island as a condition of them doing business in Cuba. America refused to do business in Cuba unless the government created a racially segregated society. How do you do that in a country with a very African culture and a culture of racial blending. We are a people who have been marrying across racial lines for 500 years. In my family going back to the 1600's the baptism records show both African men and women with Spanish spouses. America came to our rainbow people island, trying to impose it's sick hatred, racially segregating people who had centuries old rainbow families. My dad told me when the Americans canme, his Spanish born father had to sit in the front of the train while his blue black Yoruba Nigerian descendant WIFE and 4 of their darker children we're forced to sit on the back of the same train. My dad and his younger sister looked white and we're forced to sit in the front with their father. The whole family would exit the train from different positions, going home together. America is a sick lying cancer, imposing on the world a gerimandered vision of humanity. America itself is a poison menace to decency on earth.

  13. Now watching this video on 2020 and being a cuban-american guy ,.I need to tell all of you that till Cuba has Comunism ,never,never will be a great country again, only poor ,unhappy and desaster you can find in that island. Comunism is a cancer. God Bess America

  14. Best thing about this video is the ad next to the video is as titled “Hi I bought this Ad so you could enjoy your video in peace” and so I did

  15. Then DØNÄLDOÜ Power Drunk Tripper TRÜMP€TÆS Show up and suddenly is slavery and witch hunting among evangelical terrorism all over agaiiinnnnn! 😱😡

  16. LOL the US didn't "join" Cuba in the fight against Spain, there was this super shady explosion of the Maine (a military ship sent by the US) which they used as an excuse to intervene in a war that had been going on for 3 years and was almost won by Cubans. Imperialism at its best.

  17. You should definitely do an update including Trump's cruel policies towards the Cuban people. Also include how the US restricts the liberty of US citizens to travel to Cuba 🙄 given how much you love your freedom

  18. Latin America is thinking of Invading USA and taking it for themselves…They want to make it a Predominately Hispanic Country with a minority European, African, Asian minority….

  19. This whole video is a deception. The purpose is to drive young ignorant americans to hate this country and want to replace it with something else. This is why they blame things on America.

  20. Thanks for sharing Vox, but you need to follow up now because Trump made the Cuba enemy again. I think its because he was gonna lose a lot of hotel biz to the Cubans.

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