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Americas Relations with Cuba The island nation of Cuba located just ninety miles off the coast of Florida is home to 11 million people and has one of the few remaining communist regimes in the world Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and immediately instituted a communist program of economic and social changes Castro allied his government with the Soviet Union and seized billions of dollars of American Property The United States and Cuba have shared a long history of mutual mistrust and suspicion ever since A trade embargo against Cuba was imposed in 1960 and is still in place today Despite economic suffering and increasing isolation from the world community Castro remains committed to communismComptons During the first half of this century Cuba resembled a United States colony Wealthy Americans vacationed at Cubas beaches while the majority of the islands population lived in poverty The pro-American dictator Fulgencio Batista ruled for almost twenty years before being overthrown by Fidel Castros communist revolution in 1959 Cubas turn to Communism raised serious problems for its neighbors in the Americas Castro had repeatedly criticized the United States in long speeches at rallies in Cuba He frequently charged that the United States was plotting to invade CubaNiess During the first two years of Castros rule in Cuba the other governments in the Western Hemisphere attempted to maintain friendly relations with their neighbor On January 3 1961 however United States president Dwight D Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba after Castro charged that the United States Embassy in Havana was the center of counterrevolutionary activities Eisenhower also canceled the United States sugar imports and imposed a total export embargo that seriously damaged the Cuban economyNiess Cuban refugees who had escaped from the island during Castros communist rule clung to their hope that with outside help the Communist government in Cuba could be overthrown The exiles carried out hit-and-run raids on Cuban ports and trained for an
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