Monday, January 1, 2018

January 1st...This Day in History

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Batista forced out by Castro-led revolution 1959


On this day in 1959, facing a popular revolution spearheaded by Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the island nation. Amid celebration and chaos in the Cuban capitol of Havana, the U.S. debated how best to deal with the radical Castro and the ominous rumblings of anti-Americanism in Cuba.
The U.S. government had supported Batista, a former soldier and Cuban dictator from 1933 to 1944, who seized power for a second time in a 1952 coup. After Castro and a group of followers, including the South American revolutionary Che Guevara (1928-1967), landed in Cuba to unseat the dictator in December 1956, the U.S. continued to back Batista. Suspicious of what they believed to be Castro’s leftist ideology and worried that his ultimate goals might include attacks on the U.S.’s significant investments and property in Cuba, American officials were nearly unanimous in opposing his revolutionary movement.
Cuban support for Castro’s revolution, however, grew in the late 1950s, partially due to his charisma and nationalistic rhetoric, but also because of increasingly rampant corruption, greed, brutality and inefficiency within the Batista government. This reality forced the U.S. to slowly withdraw its support from Batista and begin a search in Cuba for an alternative to both the dictator and Castro; these efforts failed.
On January 1, 1959, Batista and a number of his supporters fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic. Tens of thousands of Cubans (and thousands of Cuban Americans in the U.S.) celebrated the end of the dictator’s regime. Castro’s supporters moved quickly to establish their power. Judge Manuel Urrutia was named as provisional president. Castro and his band of guerrilla fighters triumphantly entered Havana on January 7.
The U.S. attitude toward the new revolutionary government soon changed from cautiously suspicious to downright hostile. After Castro nationalized American-owned property, allied himself with the Communist Party and grew friendlier with the Soviet Union, America’s Cold War enemy, the U.S severed diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba and enacted a trade and travel embargo that remained in effect until 2015. In April 1961, the U.S. launched the Bay of Pigs invasion, an unsuccessful attempt to remove Castro from power. Subsequent covert operations to overthrow Castro, born August 13, 1926, failed and he went on to become one of the world’s longest-ruling heads of state. Fulgencio Batista died in Spain at age 72 on August 6, 1973. In late July 2006, an unwell Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power to his younger brother Raul.Fidel Castroofficially stepped down in February 2008.

 (More Events on This Day in History)

  • American Revolution

  • 1781 Mutiny of the Pennsylvania Line
  • Automotive

  • 1919 Edsel Ford succeeds father as president of Ford
  • Civil War

  • 1863 The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect
  • Cold War

  • 1959 Cuban dictator Batista falls from power
  • Crime

  • 1973 The real-life murder behind Looking For Mr. Goodbar
  • Disaster

  • 1978 Air India jet crashes just after takeoff
  • General Interest

  • 45 B.C. New Year’s Day
  • 1803 Haitian independence proclaimed
  • 1863 Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect
  • 1876 First modern Mummers’ Parade
  • Hollywood

  • 1915 Sneak preview of The Birth of a Nation
  • Literary

  • 1879 E.M. Forster is born
  • Music

  • 1958 Inmate Merle Haggard hears Johnny Cash play San Quentin State Prison
  • Old West

  • 1863 A Nebraska farmer files the first homestead claim
  • Presidential

  • 1863 Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation
  • Vietnam War

  • 1966 1st Marine Division advance elements arrive
  • 1967 Operation Sam Houston begins
  • World War I

  • 1915 British ship Formidable is torpedoed
  • World War II

  • 1942 United Nations created
  • 1946 Hidden Japanese surrender after Pacific War has ended

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