A Thumbnail History of Cuba

What's New:

Cholly Naranjo

July 9, 2014

Read about Cholly Naranjo at SABR.org Biography Project, a Cuban born baseball player and a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1956 season.


Upcoming Talk

January 21, 2015

Jose Ramirez will be at the Collier County Museum in Naples Florida on January 21, 2015 at 2PM to speak about his book “Defining Moments” and the conditions he found in Cuba during his multiple trips.


Jacksonville Presentation

January 24, 2014

A day long Lecture series at the Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville FL on January 24, 2014 to the Social Studies and History classes regarding past and current conditions in Cuba based on the author's personal experiences and research.

The oldest known native inhabitants found prior to the arrival of the Spaniards were of the Guanahatabeyes culture although many other (cultures) abounded in and around Cuba among them the Ciboneyes and Tainos.

Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 and so the Spanish Rule began.

African slaves were brought into Cuba during the early 1500s.

While under Spanish rule, the city of Havana came under the control of the British in 1762 through February of 1763.

The Cuban War of Independence against Spain began the 10th of October 1868 and ended in 1898.

Following the War of Independence, Cuba was under military occupation or intervention by the United States until 1902.

On May 20 1902, Cuba became an independent Republic with a number of administrations responsible for the governing of the country through 1952.

Fulgencio Batista took absolute power (via a coup d’etat) on March 10th 1952.

Fidel Castro attacked but failed to take over the Moncada military garrison on the 26 of July 1953 and was ultimately imprisoned and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

In May of 1955, Fidel Castro was released following a general amnesty by Fulgencio Batista. Castro left for Mexico where he met a member of the Communist Party whose name was Ernesto (Che) Guevara.

Fidel Castro returned to Cuba in November of 1956 and led a revolution that would seize control of the government on January 1st 1959.

During 1959 the Fidel Castro regime began to confiscate private property.

During 1961, a number of significant actions took place, among them;

• United States broke diplomatic relations with Cuba
• The Bay of Pigs invasion took place in April
• Private property continued to be confiscated
• Clergy was expelled from Cuba
• Existing Cuban currency was cancelled AND

Fidel Castro declared he was a Marxist-Leninist and had been from the beginning of the Revolution.

The Program known today as the Pedro Pan Program began in December of 1960 through October of 1962 enabling 14,048 unaccompanied children to leave Cuba for the U.S.

Pedro Pan children were relocated across 190 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the largest recorded refugee child exodus in the Western Hemisphere. One of those Pedro Pan children was José Ramírez, the author and creator of this website.

The United States issued a full economic embargo of Cuba in 1962.

The “Freedom Flights” from 1965 and 1973 enabled 250,000 Cubans to leave the island.

During 1980, 125,000 Cubans left through the Mariel port West of Havana for the United States.

During the summer of 1994, over 30,000 Cubans left on rafters and makeshift boats for the U.S. This type of exodus and through other means continue to this day.

Raúl Castro (Fidel’s brother) assumed presidential powers starting in 2006 and became President in 2008 until 2018. Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016. In 2018, Miguel Díaz-Canel became President of Cuba.

However, Raúl Castro has continued to control the Country of Cuba, initially as the First Secretary of the Communist Party 2011-2021, the most powerful position in the Cuban Government. Díaz-Canel, Deputy to Rául Castro, was the only candidate presented for the President's position to the National Assembly in 2018 which formally elected him as the new President. Parenthetically, the National Assembly's 605 members were the only candidates for the positions they held.

In unprecedented fashion, people in Cuba took to the streets starting in July 2021 across multiple cities and towns including the author’s hometown clamoring “liberty” and complaining about the government, its policies, President Díaz-Canel and the poor economic conditions everywhere. These demonstrations which were witnessed through videos were joined by Cubans in cities across the world. The Cuban Government and their sympathizers responded in a violent way instigated publicly by Díaz-Canel while shutting down the internet in order to stop communications among the people. The future is uncertain at best.

The Communist Party is the only legal political party allowed to exist in Cuba.