The patron saint is Our Lady of Charity, Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre. The patron is also recognized as Ochun, the Yoruba goddess of rivers, love, money, joy and abundance in the Santeria religion.
(WSJ, 10/14/95, p.A-1)(SFEC, 1/25/98, p.A19)
1492 Oct 28, Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba and claimed it for Spain.
1492 Nov 5,
Christopher Columbus learned of maize (corn) from the Indians of Cuba.
1493 Columbus landed a small herd of swine on the island of
(ON, 4/01, p.4)
1494 Apr 30, Christopher Columbus arrived at Cuba on his 2nd voyage to the Americas.
1508 Sebastian de Ocampo, Spanish navigator, explored Cuba.
1511 Diego de Velazquez, Spanish commander, occupied Cuba.
1514 Spanish soldiers conquered the natives of Cuba.
Jul 26, Santiago, Cuba, was founded.
(SFC, 7/22/00, p.A17)
1515 Spanish conquistadores founded Havana,
1523 Sugar was grown in Cuba for the first time.
1539 May 28, Hernando de Soto sailed from Cuba to Florida with 13 pigs to help sustain his 700 men on his gold-hunting expedition.
(ON, 4/01, p.4)(MC,
c1650 Andres Manso de Contreras built a vast fortune by intercepting Caribbean pirates in the mid-17th century. In 1704 and 1776 his heirs sailed to London and allegedly deposited the equivalent of some $60 million in gold at a London
bank at 5% interest.
(WSJ, 4/20/01, p.A1)
1673 Cuba began a program of scientific research.
(SFC, 3/17/99, p.A14)
1740 The British sent a huge amphibious force to attack the Spanish in Santiago de Cuba as part of the War of Jenkin’s Ear. Of 28,000 men, 22,000 were dead within a year due to disease. Only about 1,000
perished in combat.
(Econ, 8/13/11, p.80)
1741 British troops briefly occupied Guantanamo Bay while warning against Spanish trade
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1749 Brook Watson (14) lost half a leg to a shark in Havana Harbor. In 1778 John Singleton Copley painted "Watson and the Shark"
based on the incident. Watson went on to become the Lord Mayor of London.
(WSJ, 4/9/99, p.W16)
1762 Aug 12, The British captured Cuba from Spain after a two month
1780 Oct 10, A Great Hurricane killed 20,000 to 30,000 in Caribbean.
1795 A set of remains that the Spaniards believed to be of Christopher Columbus were dug up from behind the main altar in the newly built cathedral of Santo Domingo and shipped to a cathedral in Havana, where
they remained until the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, when Spain brought them to Seville. In 1877 workers digging inside the Santo Domingo cathedral unearthed a leaden box containing 13 large bone fragments and 28 small ones. It was inscribed "Illustrious and distinguished male, don Cristobal Colon." The Dominicans said these were the real remains of Columbus and that the Spaniards must
have taken the wrong remains.
(SFC, 1/18/05, p.A8)
1796 Cuba exported Havana cigars to Britain.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R49)
1800-1900 Felix Varela was a 19th century Catholic priest and Cuban independence activist.
1822 Nov 2, The USRC Louisiana along with USS Peacock and the Royal Navy schooner HMS Speedwell captured five pirate vessels off Havana, Cuba.
1833 Dec 3, Carlos Juan Finlay, Cuban epidemiologist, was born.
1839 Jun 27, The Spanish coasting vessel La Amistad (The Friendship) set sail from Cuba to Porta Prince with a load of African slaves. Cinque, originally Senghbe, and over 50 other Africans had been kidnapped in Sierra Leone and sold
into slavery in Cuba. They were carried on a Spanish ship, the Tecora, to Cuba. Cinque and 49 other slaves and 4 children were placed on the ship La Amistad destined for Haiti. They revolted, killed the captain, and ordered the crew back to Africa but the ship sailed north and ran aground. It was captured by the US Navy on August 26. A legal battle ensued in New London, Conn., that went to the
Supreme court where former Pres. John Quincy Adams argued for their freedom and won. An 1855 novella by Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno" looked at the rebellion through the eyes of an American interloper. Barbara Chase-Ribaud later wrote "Echo of Lions," a novel based on the Amistad. In 1996 Steven Spielberg announced plans to direct a film based on the incident titled "Amistad." The film was to
be released in 1997. A 1997 opera production, "Amistad," by Anthony Davis premiered in Chicago.
(http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/amistad/AMI_BCIN.HTM)(SFEC,10/26/97, DB p.57)(USAT, 11/19/97, p.2D)(WSJ, 12/5/97, p.A16)(SFEC,12/797, DB p.44)(SFC,12/26/97, p.C6)(HN,
1840s A New York merchant brought the first red bananas to the US from Cuba.
(SFC, 5/27/00, p.B3)
1840s The Duchess of Bedford, Anna, introduced on Cuba the first English afternoon snack break, the afternoon tea.
(SFC, 5/27/00, p.B3)
1853 Jan 28, Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti was born in Havana.
Feb 16, Elisha Kent Kane (b.1820), US Navy surgeon and Arctic explorer, died of a stroke in Cuba.
(ON, 6/09, p.5)
1859 Pres. Buchanan ordered a
blockade of Cuba to intercept American-owned slave ships.
(SSFC, 2/8/04, p.C12)
1860s The last African slave ship landed in Cuba in the late
(WSJ, 12/1/97, p.A20)
1862 Facundo Bacardi Masso founded a rum business in Cuba.
(SFC, 9/9/08, p.E3)
1868 Oct 10, Cuba revolted for independence against Spain. This was the first day of open rebellion for liberty, which was led by the man who is now known as the "Father of Cuba," Carlos Manuel de
1873 Baseball was banned in Cuba under Spanish rule, but was never completely quelled and came back strong after the
(SFC, 5/29/99, p.B5)
1873 The Matusalem company was founded in Santiago, Cuba, to produce aged dark
(Econ, 4/16/05, p.34)
1878 Feb 10, Cuba’s 10 year war with Spain ended with the signing of the pact of Zanjon. The nationalist uprising
(WSJ, 9/12/08, p.W6)(www.cubagen.org/mil/war-hist.htm)
1886 Oct 7, Spain abolished slavery in
(SFC, 4/12/01, p.C4)(MC, 10/7/01)
1889 In Cuba Friar Jose Olallo Valdes (b.1829), a member of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, died. He earned the
nickname, "father of the poor,” by caring for the needy and chronically ill. In 2008 he was beatified in the first ceremony of its kind on Cuban soil.
Jan 22, Jose Marti formed La Liga (Union of Cuban exiles) in NYC.
1895 Jan 31, Jose Marti and others left NYC for invasion of
1895 Feb 24, The Cuban War of Independence began. [see Oct 10, 1868]
1895 Winston Churchill was garrisoned in Havana, Cuba, and began smoking cigars at age 22. On leave for several months from his unit, the 4th Hussars, he reported on the events for the Daily
(SFEM, 12/15/96, p.15)(HNQ, 1/25/01)
1896 Aug 7, Ernesto Lecuona, composer (Malaguena), was born in Havana,
1897 Jan 2, The S.S. Commodore, a small American ship used to smuggle weapons to Cuba, sank off the coast of Florida. Writer Stephen Crane was
aboard, along with a crew of 11 and 16 Cuban rebel soldiers. Crane based his 1897 short story, “The Open Boat,” on his survival experience in a lifeboat.
(ON, 4/10, p.9)
Feb 15, The battleship USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbor. The explosion killed 266 of her crew. It had been sent there to menace Imperial Spain and its sinking helped to precipitate the Spanish-American War. The explosion- never satisfactorily explained- brought the United States closer to war with Spain over the issue of Cuban
(Civilization, July-Aug, 1995, p.14)(NH, 4/97, p.38)(HT, 5/97, p.64)(HN, 2/15/98)(AP, 2/15/98)
1898 Apr 11, American President McKinley asked Congress
to authorize military intervention in Cuba. The war was fomented by New York newspapers in their own battle for circulation.
(AP, 4/11/07)(WSJ, 5/19/98, p.A20)
Apr 19, US Congress passed a resolution recognizing Cuban independence and demanding that Spain relinquish authority over Cuba. President McKinley was authorized to use military force to put the resolution into effect.
1898 Apr 20, President McKinley signed a congressional resolution recognizing Cuban independence from Spain. He signed the Joint Resolution for War with Spain that authorized U.S. military intervention to Cuban independence.
(AP, 4/20/97)(SFC, 1/19/02, p.A19)
1898 Apr 21, The Spanish-American War began. The US North Atlantic Fleet, under the command of Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, was ordered to begin the blockade of Cuba. The fleet with the
armored cruiser New York steamed out of Key West, Fla., at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. The fleet had hardly left port when it pursued and captured a Spanish merchant vessel, Buenaventura. The Spanish-American War had begun. In 1998 David Traxel published “1898: The Birth of the American Century,” a history of the Spanish-American War.
(HN, 4/21/98)(SFEC, 7/5/98, BR p.6)(HNPD, 4/25/99)
1898 Apr 22, With the United States and Spain on the verge of
formally declaring war, the U.S. Navy began blockading Cuban ports under orders from President McKinley. In the first Spanish-American War action the USS Nashville captured a Spanish merchant ship, the Buenaventura, off Key West, Fla. Also, Congress authorized creation of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, popularly known as the "Rough Riders." In 1998 the book “Empire by Default” by Ivan Musicant
retold the story of the was in detail.
(AP, 4/22/97)(WSJ, 2/23/98, p.A20)(AP, 4/22/98)(HN, 4/22/98)(MC, 4/22/02)
1898 Apr 25, The United States formally declared war
on Spain. The US House passed the declaration 311 to 6.
(AP, 4/25/97)(HN, 4/25/98)(SSFC, 3/30/03, p.A1)
1898 Jun 10, During the Spanish-American War, U.S. Marines
landed in Cuba and camped at Guantanamo Bay where 2 Marines became the 1st war casualties.
(HN, 6/10/98)(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1898 Jun 15, US marines attacked the
Spanish off Guantanamo, Cuba.
1898 Jun 22, US forces, 6000 soldiers under Lawton, Bates, Rafferty and Wheeler and under the general command of General
Shafter, landed at Daiquiri, Cuba. Col. Leonard Wood and Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt led the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment, onto the beach at Daiquiri in the Spanish American War.
1898 Jun 24, American troops drove Spanish forces from La Guasimas, Cuba.
1898 Jul 1, American troops took San Juan Hill and El Caney, Cuba, from the Spaniards. During the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders" waged a victorious assault on San Juan Hill in SE Cuba. Lieutenant
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt was unsatisfied with the lack of clear orders and decided to lead a charge up San Juan Hill himself. At first, Regular troops were resistant to following a volunteer officer, but Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt and his eager Rough Riders managed to rally enough troops and convince enough officers to charge. By nightfall, the Spaniards had retreated and the
heights overlooking Santiago were in American hands. The black Buffalo Soldiers captured San Juan Hill. As the Rough Riders shipped off to war the band played: “There’ll Be A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”
(WUD, 1994, p.1267)(AP, 7/1/97)(SFEC, 4/5/98, p.C14)(HNPD,
1898 Jul 1, Major Gen. Joseph Wheeler (63) led a cavalry division in the Battle of San Juan Hill.
1898 July 3, The Spanish cruisers Cristóbal Colón, Almirante Oquendo, Vizcaya and Infanta Maria Teresa, and two torpedo-boat destroyers, lay bottled up in Santiago Harbor, with seven American ships maintaining a blockade just outside. Without warning, the Spanish
squadron attempted to break out, and the Americans attacked, sinking one torpedo boat and immediately running the other aground. The Americans gave chase to Oquendo, Vizcaya and Colón. Henry Reuterdahl's painting shows the American battleships Texas and Oregon, and the Spanish cruisers Maria Teresa, Colón and Oquendo. After a four-hour battle, all the Spanish
warships were overtaken and practically all were destroyed, with only two American causalities, both from the U.S. armored cruiser Brooklyn.
(AP, 7/3/98)(HNPD, 7/3/98)
Jul 17, U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter took Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Spain surrendered to the United States at Santiago, Cuba.
(AP, 7/17/97)(HN, 7/17/98)
1898 Aug 12, The peace protocol ending the Spanish-American War was signed after three months and 22 days of hostilities. 460 US soldiers died in battle. The US paid Spain $20 million to vacate Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Over the next 3 years US casualties in the Philippines war
totaled over 4,000. [see Dec 10]
(AP, 8/12/97)(WSJ, 2/23/98, p.A20)(HN, 8/12/00)(SSFC, 3/30/03, p.D1)(WSJ, 7/2/03, p.B1)
1898 Dec 10, The United States and Spain
signed a treaty in Paris ending the Spanish-American War in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
(AP, 12/10/97)(HN, 12/10/98)
1898 The 1998 novel “Cuba Libre” by Elmore
Leonard was set in this time and place.
(SFEC, 1/18/98, BR p.3)
c1898 Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau was the governor of the Spanish colony of Cuba. He was the inventor
of the concentration camp.
(SFEC, 8/16/98, BR p.8)
1900 Jun 26, A commission that included Dr. Walter Reed began the fight against the deadly disease yellow fever.
Walter Reed (1851-1902), U.S. Army doctor, went to Cuba and verified that yellow fever was caused by a mosquito. [see May 1901]
(HN, 9/13/98)(WSJ, 10/22/99, p.B1)(AP, 6/26/97)
1900-1902 US Colonel Leonard Wood served as governor of Cuba. He cleaned up unsanitary conditions and supported medical investigations that tied yellow fever and malaria to mosquitoes.
(WSJ, 12/7/05, p.D12)
1901 Jan 16, Fulgencio Batista (d.1973), later president and dictator of Cuba (1933-44, 1952-59), was born. He was overthrown by Fidel Castro and died in Spain.
1901 Mar 2, US Congress passed the Platt amendment, which limited Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of US troops. Washington retained the right to intervene militarily in Cuba as a
condition of ending the postwar US occupation. The US did in fact intervene several times, and American business and mafia gangs came to dominate many aspects of the island in the run-up to the 1959 revolution.
(HN, 3/2/99)(AP, 2/15/13)
1901 May 1901, Walter Reed (49) led the Yellow Fever Commission, a 4-man team, to Cuba to search for the cause of the disease. 200 American soldiers had died from the disease over the previous 18 months. Aristides Agramonte, pathologist, James Carroll, bacteriologist, and Jesse W. Lazear,
entomologist, were the other team members. Cuban Dr. Carlos Finlay believed that yellow fever was spread by mosquitoes.
(ON, 10/01, p.7)
1901 Jun 12, Cuba agreed to
become an American protectorate by accepting the Platt Amendment.
1901 Aug 27, In Havana, Cuba, U.S. Army physician James Carroll allowed an infected
mosquito to feed on him in an attempt to isolate the means of transmission of yellow fever. Days later, Carroll developed a severe case of yellow fever, helping his colleague, Army Walter Reed, prove that mosquitoes can transmit the sometimes deadly disease.
(MC, 8/27/02)(ON, 10/01,
1901 Aug, Major Walter Reed, M.D., visited Dr. Carlos Finlay in Havana, who informed him that the mosquito Culex fasciatus was the most likely transmitter of yellow fever.
(ON, 10/01, p.7)
1901 Sep, Dr. Jesse Lazear, a member of the Yellow Fever Commission, died of yellow fever.
1901 Oct 4, Dr. Walter Reed returned to Cuba to continue his experiments on yellow fever.
1902 Feb, Dr. Walter Reed published his results on yellow fever. He concluded that: “The spread of yellow fever can be most effectually controlled by measures directed to the destruction of mosquitoes and the protection of the sick
against the bites of these insects.”
(ON, 10/01, p.8)
1902 May 20, The United States ended its three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was
established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma. Theodore Roosevelt had criticized the government’s sluggish withdrawal of disease-stricken US troops from Cuba.
(HN, 5/20/98)(WSJ, 11/13/98, p.A1)(AP, 5/20/02)
1903 Feb 24, The United States signed an agreement acquiring a naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Pres. Roosevelt leased the site for 2,000 gold coins a year, about $4,080 in 2002.
(AP, 2/24/98)(SSFC, 1/20/02,
1903 Mar 19, The U.S. Senate ratified the Cuban treaty, gaining naval bases in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda.
1904 Feb 5, The American occupation of Cuba ended.
1906 Sep 28, US troops reoccupied Cuba. They stayed until 1909.
The US established a provisional government as revolution threatened.
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1909 Jan 28, The United States ended direct control
1909 Feb 1, U.S. troops left Cuba after installing Jose Miguel Gomez as president.
1912 Jun 5, US marines invaded Cuba (3rd time).
1915 Apr 5, Jack Johnson (1878-1946), African-American heavyweight champion boxer since 1908, lost the heavyweight championship in Cuba to Jess Willard in the 26th round.
(SFC, 1/17/05, p.D6)(www.hickoksports.com/biograph/johnsonjack.shtml)
1916 Mar 8, US invaded Cuba for 3rd time. This time "to end corrupt Menocal regime."
1917 Mar 2, Desi Arnaz (Desiderio Alberto Arnez y de Acha III) was born in Santiago, Cuba. His father was the mayor of Santiago.
1923 Oct 15, Italo Calvino, Italian novelist (Winter's Night a Traveler), was born in Cuba.
1924 Apr 29, Open revolt broke out in Santa Clara, Cuba.
1924 The La Sonora Matancara band was founded in Matanzas, Cuba, by Valentin Cane. Celia Cruz joined the band in the late 1940s when it was under the direction of Rogelio Martinez.
1925 In Cuba Gerardo Machado was elected as president.
(AH, 4/07, p.17)
In Cuba a monument to the battleship Maine was inaugurated bearing the names of all 266 sailors who died in the ship’s 1898 explosion in Havana Harbor. Two statues standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the base represented a maternal America guiding the maiden Cuba into independence.
1926 Aug 13, Fidel Castro, revolutionary leader, president, was born in Biran, Cuba.
(USAT, 8/29/97, p.8A)(HN, 8/13/98)(WSJ, 8/5/06,
1926 Oct 20, A hurricane in Cuba killed 600.
1927 Oct 28, Pan Am Airways launched the first scheduled international flight. Pan Am was founded this year as a mail carrier to Havana by Juan Terry Trippe.
(HN, 10/28/98)(SFEM, 2/13/00,
1928 May 14, Ernesto “Che” Guevara (d. Oct 8, 1967) was born to an aristocratic family in Misiones province, Argentina. A biography was written in 1997 by Jon Lee Anderson: “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary of Life.” Ernesto “Che” Guevara,
chief lieutenant in the Cuban revolution and active in other Latin American revolutionary movements, was born Ernesto Guevara de la Serna in Rosario, Argentina. “Che” was a nickname meaning “pal.” He played a leading role alongside Fidel Castro in the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, wrote the book Guerrilla Warfare in 1960 and, as Cuban Minister of Industries from 1961-‘65,
led the nationalization of industry and agriculture. He left Cuba in 1966 to lead a band of guerrillas in Bolivia, where he was tracked down and executed by the Bolivian army in 1967.
(SFC, 6/16/97, p.D3)(HNQ, 12/2/98)(HNQ, 2/10/00)
1928 Miguel Matamoros made the first worldwide Cuban hit song with his recording of "Son de la Loma." Son was a native Cuban folk music style.
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB
1928 A Chinese community newspaper was founded in Havana’s Chinatown.
(SFC, 4/12/01, p.C4)
1929 Julio Antonio Mella, the founder of Cuba’s Communist Party, was assassinated in Mexico.
(WSJ, 3/26/96, p.A-10)
1930 Don Azpiazu, Cuban musician, recorded "El Manicero," (The Peanut Vendor).
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB p.37)
1931 Nov 17, Lindbergh inaugurated Pan Am service from Cuba to South America in a Sikorsky flying boat American Clipper.
Aug 12, In Cuba Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the son of Cuba's legendary leader, replaced Pres. Machado as part of a military in a coup.
(AH, 4/07, p.)(www.historyofcuba.com/history/time/timetbl3.htm)
1933 Sep 5, In an uprising known as the "Revolt of the Sergeants," Fulgencio Batista took over control of Cuba. Pres. Cespedes and his cabinet abandoned the Presidential palace the next day.
1933 Nov 23, FDR recalled Ambassador Welles from Havana and urged stability in Cuba.
1934 The US lease on Guantanamo Bay was renegotiated to say that the land could only revert to Cuban control if abandoned by the US or by mutual consent.
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1937 Orestes Lopez (Cuban pianist) and his brother bassist Israel (Cachao) Lopez (1918-2008) formalized an improvisation they called danzon mambo.
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB p.37)(SSFC, 3/23/08, p.A2)
1938 Rita Longa (d.2000 at 87), Cuban artist, won the National Salon Award for Painting and Sculpture.
(SFC, 6/2/00, p.D6)
1939 May 27, The ship St. Louis sailed into Havana Bay with 937 Jewish passengers fleeing the Nazis. The ship was turned away and headed for the Florida coast. The 1976 film "Voyage of the Damned" was
based on this. [see June 4]
(SFC, 10/4/99, p.D1)
1939 Jun 4, During what became known as the "Voyage of the Damned," the SS St. Louis, carrying 907 Jewish refugees
from Germany, was turned away from the Florida coast. Also denied permission to dock in Canada and Cuba, the ship eventually returned to Europe. The passengers were divided among England, France, Belgium and Holland and a number of the refugees later died in Nazi concentration camps. By 2003 efforts to track their fates identified 935 out of the 937 passengers. Some 260 ended in Nazi killing
(AP, 6/4/99)(SFC, 10/4/99, p.D3)(SSFC, 12/7/03, Par p.5)(Econ, 6/24/06, p.44)
1939 The US upgraded its Guantanamo base in Cuba for air and sea operations in
anticipation of WW II.
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1939-1960 Ernest Hemingway (d.1961), American writer, lived in Cuba.
(SSFC, 6/5/05, p.F8)
1940 Oct 10, General Fulgencio Batista (1901-1973) began serving a 4-year term as Cuba's 14th president.
1940 A Cuban constitution offered the promise of a democratic government. The Constitution established by a national assembly that included Blas Roca, a young shoemaker who helped organize the
Revolution of 1933. The document struck a balance between the rich and the working class, protected individual and social rights, supported full employment and a minimum wage, extended social security, called for equal pay for equal work and outlawed the huge plantations known as latifundias.
1942 Aug 27, Cuba declared war on Germany, Japan and Italy.
1943 The music "Rapsodia Negra" by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona had its premier in Carnegie Hall. Lecuona was the composer of "Malaguena."
1944 Ramon Grau San Martin became president of Cuba.
(SFC, 11/6/98, p.D5)
1945 The son of a Spanish immigrant farmer, Fidel Castro entered the School of Law at the University of Havana. Before becoming the revolutionary communist leader of Cuba, Castro earned a doctorate in law. He was intensely interested in politics throughout his studies and joined the Cuban People’s
Party upon graduating in 1950. Dr. Castro’s potential career as an elected representative came to an end when General Batista overthrew the Socarras government and established a dictatorship. Castro began organizing armed resistance to the regime and eventually succeeded in the revolution of 1959. As the political leader of Cuba for the past four decades, he has received various honorary
1947 Juan Bosch of the Dominican Republic worked as a personal secretary to Cuba’s Pres. Carlos Prio Socarras and participated in an
ill-fated attempt to organize an anti-Trujillo invasion.
(SFC, 11/2/01, p.D6)
1948 Oct 10, Carlos Prio became Cuba’s last democratically elected president. He was
ousted by Batista in 1952.
(WSJ, 3/26/96, p.A-10)(http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/carlos_prio.html)
1951 Jan 22, Fidel Castro, as a baseball pitcher, was ejected
from a Winter League game after beaning a batter.
1951 May, Kid Gavilan (d.2003), born as Gerardo Gonzalez in Cuba (1926), won the US boxing
welter-weight title in a 15-round decision over Johnny Bratton.
(SFC, 2/15/03, p.A24)
1951 Leopoldo Romanach (b.1862), Cuban painter,
1952 Mar 7, The U.S. signed a military aid pact with Cuba.
1952 Mar 10, General Fulgencio Batista staged a coup in Cuba and overthrew the Socarras
(WSJ, 7/10/02, p.D8)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulgencio_Batista)
1952 The Cuban band Los Munequitos de Matanzas was founded as a percussion, song and
(SFEC, 4/5/98, DB p.13)
1953 Jul 26, A band of anti-Batistas revolted against Pres. Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada army
barracks in eastern Cuba. Castro was among the moncadistas and ousted Batista six years later. Castro was imprisoned on the Isle of Pines after the attack at Moncada.
(AP, 7/26/97)(SFEC, 8/23/98, BR p.5)(WSJ, 7/10/02, p.D8)
1953 Aug 1, Fidel Castro was arrested in Cuba. [see Jul 26]
Oct 16, Fidel Castro in Havana was sentenced to 15 years.
1953 Ibrahim Ferrer Planas (d.2005), singer, joined a group called Los
Bocucos, led by vocalist Pacho Alonso in Santiago, Cuba. In 1996 he recorded with Ry Cooder for the "Buena Vista Social Club" which was followed by his own solo album.
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB p.37)(SFEM, 10/3/99, p.31)
1953 Beny More (d.1963 at 44), popular Cuban singer, formed his 21-piece Banda Gigante.
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB p.39)
1955 Aug 8, Fidel Castro formed his "July 26th Movement."
Cuban musician Perez Prado recorded "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White." The mambo tune became a no. 1 hit.
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB p.39)
Ramon Barquin (1914-2008), a former Cuban military attache in Washington, DC, was imprisoned in Cuba after he led hundreds of soldiers in a coup that failed when someone tipped off the government. He gained his freedom three years later when Castro successfully toppled Batista, but he opposed Castro soon after.
1956 Nov 25, Fidel Castro and his 81 rebel exiles departed Mexico to liberate Cuba from the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencia Batista. Che Guevara had recently joined Fidel Castro and his band of Cuban rebel exiles as their
(SFC, 6/16/97, p.D3)
1956 Dec 2, Fidel Castro landed on coast of Cuba. Castro landed with a small armed force to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista. Che
Guevara was one of the few who survived the disastrous landing of the rebels’ boat, the Granma. Guevara kept a diary for the next 2 years and in 2011 it was published in Cuba as “Diary of a Combatant.”
(TOH, 1982, p.1956)(SFC,10/15/97, p.C2)(SFC, 6/15/11, p.A2)
1956-1958 Enrique Oltuski, Shell Oil executive and member of the July 26 Movement, helped orchestrate the overthrow of the government. In 2002 he authored “Vida Clandestina: My Life in the Cuban Revolution.”
1957 Mar 13, Bloody battles followed an anti-Batista demonstration in Havana, Cuba.
1957 Sep 1, Gloria Estefan, singer (Miami Sound Machine-Conga, 1-2-3), was born in Cuba.
1957 Sep 5, Cuban dictator Batista bombed the Cienfuegos uprising.
1957 The Cuban urban underground was led by
Frank Pais, an aspiring schoolteacher turned activist.
(WSJ, 7/10/02, p.D8)
1958 Mar 27, The Havana Hilton opened in
1958 Apr 3, Fidel Castro's rebels attacked Havana.
1958 Apr 9, A Cuban general strike was called but failed. Urban militias in Havana and Santiago were put down by the police.
1958 May 24, Cuba’s Pres. Batista opened an offensive against Fidel Castro's rebellion.
1958 Jun 27, Cuban rebel forces kidnapped 29 US sailors and Marines and held them until Jul 18.
1958 Aug 18, Fidel Castro made a speech on Cuban pirate radio Rebelde.
1958 Dec 31, Cuba’s dictator Juan Batista fled as Rebels under Fidel Castro marched into Havana.
1958 Graham Greene published his novel “Our Man in Havana.” It captured Cuba on the cusp of sweeping change.
(WSJ, 8/25/06, p.A1)
1958 Che Guevara commanded rebels in the capture of Santa Clara, Cuba.
1958 Johnny Weissmuller played in a celebrity golf tournament and saved himself from Castro’s guerrillas by beating his chest and performing his famous yell thereby invoking requests for autographs.
(SDUT, 6/6/97, p.E2)
1958-1998 See the reference for Cuban history over this period.
1959 Jan 1, Fidel Castro proclaimed the triumph of his revolution from the balcony of Santiago's city hall. Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to victory over Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic. American mafia scrambled to secure their cash and close casinos ahead of crowds that took
to the streets and trashed their businesses. In 2008 T.J. English Morrow authored “Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba …and Then Lost It to the Revolution.”
(AP, 1/1/98)(SFC, 1/28/00, p.A14)(WSJ, 8/5/06, p.A9)(AP, 3/26/12)
1959 Jan 3, Castro took command of the Cuban army.
Jan 7, The United States recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.
1959 Jan 8, Fidel Castro rolled into Havana a week after
Batista fled. In 2002 Julia E. Sweig authored “Inside the Cuban Revolution.”
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.F3)(WSJ, 7/10/02, p.D8)
1959 Feb 6, Fidel Castro was interviewed by
Edward R. Murrow.
1959 Feb 7, Castro proclaimed a new Cuban constitution.
1959 Feb 16, Fidel Castro took the oath as Cuban premier in Havana after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.
1959 Apr 15, Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrived in Washington, D.C., to begin a goodwill tour of the United States.
1959 Apr 26, The Panamanian gov't reported 'suppression' of attempted guerilla invasion from Cuba.
1959 Apr 27, US State Dept. announced small arms stored in Canal Zone will be provided to Panamanian forces to repel Cuban invaders.
1959 Apr 28, Organization of American States voted unanimously to send a commission to Panama.
1959 Apr 29, Premier Castro denied any Cuban role, direct or indirect, in a Panamanian invasion.
1959 May 1, Some 87 guerillas, mostly Cubans, surrendered without resistance to Panamanian troops at the village of Nombre de Dios in response to appeals by Castro.
1959 Jun 25, The Cuban government seized 2.35 million acres under a new agrarian reform law.
1959 Oct 21, Contra revolutionaries bombed Havana.
1959 Fidel Castro visited Argentina following his revolution in Cuba.
1959 The US forbade its servicemen from
entering Cuban territory.
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1959 The Dominican dictator Trujillo broke relations with Cuba soon after Castro took power.
1960 Feb 21, Havana placed all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.
1960 Mar 3, The French cargo ship "La Coubre," laden with Belgian weapons, exploded in Havana Harbor and killed 136  people. The blast was blamed on US agents.
(USAT, 10/8/97, p.8A)(SFC, 1/28/00, p.A14)
1960 Mar 4, Alberto Korda took a photo of Che Guevara at a rally where Castro blamed the US for the cargo ship disaster of the previous day. The photo later became famous as a
poster of Che and symbol for the Cuban revolution.
(USAT, 10/8/97, p.8A)
1960 Mar 17, Eisenhower formed anti-Castro-exile army under the
1960 Apr 2, Cuba bought oil from USSR.
1960 Apr, The US CIA began planning an invasion of Cuba that culminated in the Bay of Pigs disaster. The initial budget of $4.4 million grew to $46 million.
(SFEC, 2/22/98, p.A19)
1960 May 7, Fidel Castro announced Cuba’s resumption of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
1960 Jun 30, US stopped sugar imports from Cuba.
1960 Jul 1, Fidel Castro nationalized Esso, Shell & Texaco in Cuba.
1960 Jul 9, Khrushchev threatened to use rockets to protect Cuba from the US.
(PC, 1992, p.973)
1960 Jul 22, Cuba nationalized
all US owned sugar factories.
1960 Aug, The CIA recruited a former FBI agent to approach two of America's most-wanted mobsters and gave them poison
pills meant for Fidel Castro during his first year in power. This was only made public in 2007 in declassified papers. The CIA recruited ex-FBI agent Robert Maheu, then a top aide to Howard Hughes in Las Vegas, to approach mobster Johnny Roselli and pass himself off as the representative of international corporations that wanted Castro killed because of their lost gambling operations. From August
to May, 1961, CIA officials approved several plans to kill Fidel Castro.
(SFC, 7/2/97, p.A5)(AP, 6/27/07)
1960 Sep 17, Cuba nationalized US
1960 Sep 19, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in New York to visit the United Nations, angrily checked out of the Shelburne
Hotel in a dispute with the management. Castro accepted an invitation to stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem.
1960 Sep 26, Fidel Castro made the
longest speech in UN history, 4 hrs, 29 mins.
(WSJ, 8/5/06, p.A9)
1960 Oct 11, Bank president Ernesto Guevara offered sugar magnate Julio Lobo leadership of Cuba's
sugar industry in exchange for keeping one of his 14 mills and home. Mr. Lobo declined the offer.
(WSJ, 3/11/99, p.A1)
1960 Oct 13, Opponents of Fidel Castro were
executed in Cuba.
1960 Oct 14, Cuba nationalized all sugar assets and made itself custodian of all art and
(WSJ, 3/11/99, p.A1)
1960 Oct 19, US President Eisenhower imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and
certain food products.
1960 Oct 25, Cuba nationalized all remaining US businesses.
1960 Oct 28, In a note to the OAS (Organization of American States), the United States charged that Cuba had been receiving substantial quantities of arms and numbers of military technicians" from the Soviet
1960 Oct 30, Guatemala's "La Hora" reported a plan for the invasion on Cuba.
1960 Oct, Enrique Oltuski signed the order to nationalize the ITT owned telephone company.
1960 Nov 1, US Pres. Eisenhower announced that the US would take all steps necessary to defend its naval base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.
1960 Nov 14, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered U.S. naval units into the Caribbean after Guatemala and Nicaragua charged Castro with starting uprisings.
1960 Following the revolution Ramon Grau Alsina (d.1998 at 80) and his sister founded the underground Pedro Pan organization for Cuban parents to send their children to live in the
(SFC, 11/6/98, p.D5)
1961 Jan 3, The United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro announced he was a communist. The US Guantanamo Bay
base remained under US control.
(AP, 1/3/98)(HN, 1/3/99)(MC, 1/3/02)
1961 Apr 7, Tad Szulc (d.2001) wrote a front page NY times article on anti-Castro forces
training to fight at Florida bases and predicted a probable invasion on April 18. The invasion took place Apr 17.
(SFC, 5/24/01, p.C4)
1961 Apr 14, Cuban-American
invasion army departed Nicaragua.
1961 Apr 15, Anti-Castro Cuban pilots, under the hire of the US CIA, knocked out part of the Cuban air force. 54
people were killed in the attacks on 3 military bases including two airfields and the Antonio Maceo Airport. Two “defecting” B-26 bombers flew to Miami.
(SFEC, 2/22/98, p.A19)(AH, 4/07, p.18)
1961 Apr 16, Fidel Castro declared that Cuba is now a socialist state. Pres. Kennedy called off the CIA air strikes in Cuba. The message did not reach the 1,511 commandos headed for the Bay of Pigs.
(SFEC, 2/22/98, p.A19)(SFC, 2/202/08,
1961 Apr 17, About 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles, Brigade 2506, launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. The US clandestinely invaded Cuba in the Bay of Pigs
operation and the operation failed completely without any of the promised air support from the United States. Cuban forces killed 200 rebels and captured 1,197 in less than 72 hours. The command vessel Marsopa and supply ship Houston were sunk and an entire battalion was lost. 26 survivors were rescued after 3 days of fighting. A single copy of a CIA report written by inspector general Lyman
Kirkpatrick was made public in 1998. The operation, which had been devised during the Eisenhower Administration, was nonetheless endorsed by the new president, John F. Kennedy. In 1979 Peter Wyden wrote “Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story.” Portion of the 1961 Taylor Report was made public in 1977 and 1986. Most of the report was made public in 2000 and it showed that the CIA knew that the Soviets
knew the exact date of the attack. In 2009 Guadeloupe apologized to Cuba for allowing the CIA to train Cuban exiles on its soil.
(AP, 4/17/97)(SFEC, 2/22/98, p.A19)(HNQ, 4/11/00)(SFC, 4/29/00, p.A7)(AP, 2/18/09)(AH, 4/07, p.18)(SFC, 4/14/11, p.A5)
1961 Apr 18, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev sent a letter to Pres. Kennedy with an “urgent call” to end “aggression” against Cuba.
(SFC, 3/23/01, p.D5)
1961 Apr 19, Cuba’s air force by this time shot down 9 of the invader’s 16 aircraft and US invaders, with ad death toll of 114, began to surrender. Subsequently 36 died in Cuban prisons. Many survivors were released between 1962 and 1965 after private donors paid $53 million in food and medicine for
(AH, 4/07, p.18)
1961 Apr 19, Howard Anderson was executed in Cuba after being convicted of arms smuggling to anti-Communist rebels.
1961 Apr 19, Cuban forces shot down a B-26 bomber piloted by Captain Thomas Ray north of Larga beach, an area they controlled. Ray was flying the bomber from Nicaragua while on contract to the US CIA. In a 2004 trial in the US, forensics on Ray’s
body proved that the cause of his death was a small bullet entry thru the head.
(WSJ, 9/15/06, p.A1)(http://tinyurl.com/kzeh2)
1961 Apr 30, Premier Fidel Castro of
Cuba received the Lenin Peace Prize.
1961 May 1, Fidel Castro announced that there would be no more elections in Cuba. Radio Havana was
(HN, 5/1/98)(WSJ, 6/18/02, p.D9)
1961 May 17, Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to exchange prisoners captured in the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion
for 500 bulldozers.
(AP, 5/17/01)(MC, 5/17/02)
1961 Jul 24, A US commercial plane was hijacked to Cuba and began a
1961 Dec 2, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would lead Cuba to Communism.
1961 Dec 23, Fidel Castro announced Cuba would release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food and medical
1961 In Cuba construction began on a dance building designed by Italian architect Vittorio Garatti as one of five adjacent arts complexes
personally requested by Fidel Castro, who dreamed of building the world's finest art school on the golf course of a country club seized by his revolution. Work was abruptly halted in 1965, with the ballet school lacking only windows, doors and floors. In 2012 dancer Carlos Acosta pledged to rescue the dance school and turn it into an international center for culture and
1961 A cactus curtain was planted around the US Guantanamo Base to discourage Cuban defection.
1962 Jan 3, Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro.
1962 Jan 31, At the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS, held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, ministers suspended Cuba’s membership.
1962 Feb 3, President John F. Kennedy banned all trade with Cuba except for food & drugs.
1962 Feb 7, President Kennedy began the blockade of Cuba.
1962 Feb, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Defense Sec. Roswell Gilpatric approved a plan to “lure or provoke Castro, or an uncontrollable subordinate, into an overt hostile reaction against the US.”
1962 Mar 29, Cuba opened the trial of the Bay of Pigs invaders.
1962 Apr 8, Bay of Pigs invaders got thirty years imprisonment in Cuba.
1962 May, A memo from the CIA briefing for Attorney Gen’l. Robert Kennedy revealed that $150,000 was offered to the US mob for the assassination of Fidel Castro. The mob insisted on doing the job at no charge.
1962 Aug 29, A US U-2 flight saw SAM launch pads in Cuba.
1962 Oct 14, The CIA U-2 mission detected Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba. Air Force pilot Maj. Richard Heyser and CIA contract pilot James Barnes Jr. (d.1999 at 70) identified missile sites in separate flights.
9/17/97, p.A3)(SFC, 7/13/99, p.A19)
1962 Oct 16-1962 Oct 29, The Cuban missile crises. Russia under Khrushchev removed its missiles from Cuba. The 13-day missile crises was in part recorded by Kennedy on tape and published in 1997: “The
Kennedy Tapes,” ed. by Ernest R. May and Philip D. Zelikow.
(SFEC, 8/25/96, Parade p.6)(TMC, 1994, p.1962)(WSJ, 9/23/97, p.A20)
1962 Oct 22, President John F.
Kennedy announced that missile bases had been discovered in Cuba and they had the potential to attack the United States with nuclear warheads. Kennedy ordered a naval and air blockade on further shipment of military equipment to Cuba. The Russians had previously agreed not to bring new offensive weapons into Cuba, but after hearing Kennedy's announcement, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev refused
to cooperate with the quarantine. Following a confrontation that threatened nuclear war, Kennedy and Khrushchev agree on October 28 on a formula to end the crisis. On November 2 Kennedy reported that Soviet missile bases in Cuba are being dismantled.
(AP, 10/22/97)(HNPD, 10/22/98)(HN,
1962 Oct 23, US ambassador Adlai Stevenson spoke at UN about Cuba crisis.
1962 Oct 24, The U.S. blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis officially began under a proclamation signed by President Kennedy.
1962 Oct 25, U.S. ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson presented photographic evidence of Soviet missile bases in Cuba to the U.N. Security Council. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson demanded USSR and Zorin answer regarding Cuban missile bases saying "I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes
(AP, 10/25/97)(MC, 10/25/01)
1962 Oct 26, The USS Beale tracked and dropped practice depth charges on a Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine which was armed with a
nuclear torpedo. Running out of air, the Soviet submarine was surrounded by American warships and desperately needed to surface to recharge its batteries. An argument broke out among three officers on the B-39, including submarine captain Valentin Savitsky, political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and chief of staff of the submarine flotilla, Commander Vasiliy Arkhipov. A totally exhausted
Savitsky became furious and ordered that the nuclear torpedo on board be made combat ready. Accounts differ about whether Commander Arkhipov convinced Savitsky not to make the attack, or whether Savitsky himself finally concluded that the only reasonable choice left open to him was to come to the surface.
1962 Oct 27, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev offered to remove Soviet missile bases in Cuba if the U.S. removed its missile bases in Turkey. It was later learned that JFK had secretly
offered this option to Khrushchev.
(HN, 10/27/98)(MC, 10/27/01)(NPR, 2002)
1962 Oct 27, With its batteries running low, Soviet submarine B-59/C-19 was forced to surface and headed east. Although surrounded by US ships,
submarine captain Vitali Savitsky realizes that they are not in a "state of war; one of the destroyers has a lively band playing jazz. The Cony communicates with it via flashing lights; Savitsky identifies the submarine as "Ship X" ("Korablx") and declines assistance. B-59 identifies itself to other nearby ships as "Prinavlyet" (by the U.S.S. Murray), and "Prosnablavst" (by the Bache and the
Barry). Aircraft illuminate and photograph it.
1962 Oct 28, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev informed the United
States that he had ordered the dismantling of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. Radio Moscow reported nuclear missiles in Cuba deactivated. Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed on a formula to end the Cuban missile crisis: the Russians would dismantle their bases and the United States would publicly promise not to invade Cuba.
(AP, 10/28/97)(HN, 10/22/98)(HNPD, 10/22/98)(MC, 10/28/01)
1962 Nov 2, Pres. Kennedy reported that Soviet missile bases in Cuba were being dismantled.
1962 Nov 15, Cuba threatened to down U.S. planes on reconnaissance flights over its territory.
1962 Nov 19, Fidel Castro accepted the removal of Soviet weapons.
1962 Nov 20, USSR agreed to remove bombers from Cuba and US lifted its blockade.
1962 Dec 21, A US and Cuba accord released Bay of Pigs captives.
1962 Dec 23, Cuba started returning US prisoners
from Bay of Pigs invasion.
1962 Dec 25, The Bay of Pigs captives who were ransomed, vowed to return and topple Castro.
1962 Cuban bassist Israel Lopez (1918-2008), known as “Cachao,” left Cuba for Spain and soon relocated to NYC, where he performed with leading Latin
(SSFC, 3/23/08, p.A2)
1963 Feb 6, The United States reported that all Soviet offensive arms are out of Cuba.
1963 Feb 19, The Soviet Union informed President Kennedy it would withdraw "several thousand" of an estimated 17,000 Soviet troops in Cuba.
1963 Feb 22, Moscow warned the U.S. that an attack on Cuba would mean war.
1963 Feb 27, The USSR said that 10,000 troops would remain in Cuba.
1963 Apr 27, Cuban premier Fidel Castro arrived in Moscow.
1963 Jul 8, US banned all monetary transactions with Cuba.
Oct 4-1963 Oct 8, Hurricane Flora, killed some 7-8,000 people in Cuba and Haiti.
(SFC, 11/30/98, p.A2)
1963 Nov, Pres. Kennedy, just before his
murder, approved a probe to see whether relations with Fidel Castro could be improved. In 1999 Mark J. White edited "The Kennedy's and Cuba: The Declassified Documentary History."
(WSJ, 11/15/99, p.A48)
1964 Feb 6, Cuba blocked the water supply to Guantanamo Naval Base in rebuke of the United State's seizure of four Cuban fishing boats and fines on Cuban fishermen near Florida. The US imposed water rationing and built desalination plants in response.
(HN, 2/6/99)(SSFC, 1/20/02,
1964 Feb 18, The U.S. cut military aid to five nations in reprisal for having trade relations with Cuba.
1965 Apr 24, Che Guevara, his second-in-command Victor Dreke, and twelve of the Cuban expeditionaries arrived in the Congo. Guevara, Cuba’s head of the national bank and minister of industry, left Cuba to foment revolution in the
Congo. He spent most of 1965 and 1966 in Central Africa, helping anti-Mobuto revolutionaries in the Republic of Congo. This turned out to be a disaster and he went to Bolivia.
1965 Dec 1, An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the United States began in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland.
1965 Carlos Rafael Rodriguez (d.1997 at 84), “El Tio,” was a founding member of the Cuban Communist Party. From 1962-1965 he was the head of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform and became a deputy prime minister in charge of foreign affairs in
1966 The US Cuban Readjustment Act granted any Cuban who reached American soil the right to
(SFC, 12/2/99, p.A15)
1967 Jan, Ernesto "Che" Guevara began organizing the National Liberation Army in
(SFC, 5/12/96, Z1p.4)
1967 The Orquesta de Musica Moderna, a government sponsored group, was formed in Cuba. It was the basis for the later jazz group
(SFC, 6/16/96, BR p.42)
1968 Mar 12, A Miami-bound flight was commandeered to Cuba.
(SFC, 3/14/03, p.E8)
1968 Nov 23, Five Cubans hijacked a US B-727 jet, from Chicago to Cuba.
1968 Nov 24, Three Latins hijacked a US B-707 jet, from New York’s Kennedy Int’l. to Cuba. Pena Soltren, a US citizen, and two accomplices used weapons hidden in a diaper bag to hijack Pan Am
Flight 281. In 2009 Luis Armando Pena Soltren (66) voluntarily returned to the same airport to surrender and face prosecution. On Jan 4, 2011, Soltren was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
(http://cuban-exile.com/doc_176-200/doc0180.html)(AP, 10/12/09)(SFC, 1/5/11,
1968 Nov 30, Montesino Sanchez, a Cuban, successfully hijacked a B-720 from Miami to Cuba.
1968 Dec 5, Eduardo Castera, a Latin successfully hijacked a B-727 from Tampa to Cuba.
1968 Dec 11, Two blacks successfully hijacked a DC-8 from St. Louis to Cuba.
1969 Jan 27, Byron Vaughn Booth and fellow convict Clinton Robert Smith, also a robber, escaped from the California Institution for Men at Chino. The next day they bought a ticket for a flight
from Los Angeles to Miami with a connection in New Orleans. National Airlines Flight 64 was hijacked over the Gulf of Mexico after the plane left New Orleans. Booth was arrested in Nigeria in 2001 and returned to the US.
1969 Mar 6, Black Panther Anthony Garnet Bryant, aka Tony Bryant (d.1999 at 60), hijacked a National Airlines plane enroute from NY to Miami and directed it to Cuba. He was
arrested in Cuba and spent a year and a half in jail and was pardoned in 1980. His 1984 book "Hijack" described his experience in Cuban prisons.
(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.C10)(http://tinyurl.com/aopyo)
1969 Jun 4, A 22-year-old man sneaked into wheel pod of a jet parked in Havana & survived a 9-hr flight to Spain despite thin oxygen levels at 29,000 ft.
1969 Jun 17, Black Panther William Brent (1931-2006) became the 28th person this year to hijack a US airplane to Cuba. The Cubans put him in jail for two years. He published his memoir in 1996 titled "Long Time Gone."
6/3/96, BR p.3)(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.C10)
1969 Oct 5, Lieutenant Eduardo Guerra Jimenez, a Cuban defector, entered US air space undetected and landed his Soviet-made MiG-17 at Homestead Air Force Base near Miami, Florida, where the presidential
aircraft Air Force One was waiting to return President Richard M. Nixon to DC.
1969 Christmas was dropped as a
holiday by the Castro government.
1970 Jesus (Chucho) Valdez formed his jazz group Irakere in
(SFC, 6/16/96, BR p.42)
1972 Oct 29, Charles A. Tuller, his 2 sons and William White Graham hijacked an Eastern Airlines jet from Houston and flew to Cuba 4
days after an abortive bank robbery in Arlington, Va. The robbery left 2 people dead in Arlington and a ticket agent dead in Houston. This was the second-to-last successful hijacking from the United States to Cuba before the signing of an anti-hijacking agreement between the two countries in February, 1973.
1972 Nov 10, Three black men successfully hijacked a Southern Airways DC-9 after a stopover in Birmingham, Ala., and flew to multiple locations in the United States and one Canadian city
and finally to Cuba with $2 million (actual cash, Presidential "grant" totaled $10 million) and 10 parachutes. Co-pilot Halroyd was wounded; they threatened to crash the plane into one of the Oak Ridge nuclear installations; at McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando, the FBI shot out the tires; they forced pilot William Haas to take off. The plane finally landed in Havana; two were sentenced in Cuba to 20
years, one to 15 years. They returned to Alabama in 1980 and received 20-25 year sentences.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cuba-US_aircraft_hijackings)(USAT, 6/11/03, p.2B)(http://cuban-exile.com/doc_176-200/doc0180.html)
1973 Feb 15, The US and Cuba reached an anti-hijacking agreement.
(SFC, 7/9/96, p.A8)(www.historyofcuba.com/history/time/timetbl4.htm)
1973 Aug 6, Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar (b.1901), dictator Cuba (1940-58), died in Estoril, Portugal.
1975 Oct 23, A Battle between Cuban and South Africa troops took place in Angola.
1975 Nov 20, An interim report by the US Senate’s Church Committee said that the CIA failed to assassinated Fidel Castro at least 8 times. The report also covered CIA activity in Chile, the Congo, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere.
(WSJ, 8/5/06, p.A9)(http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Church_Committee)
1975 The first national congress of the Communist Party of Cuba elected Raul Castro as the 2nd in
(SFC, 10/12/97, p.)
1976 Feb 24, Cuba's revised socialist constitution went into effect. It defined the Communist Party as the “directing force of society
and the state.” Article 88 of this year’s Cuban Constitution said any citizen who collects the signatures of at least 10,000 registered voters can petition the National Assembly for a referendum on any subject.
(http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/news/aa041300a.htm)(WSJ, 5/13/02, p.A1)(Econ, 3/24/12, SR
1976 Aug 9, John Roselli (b.1905), Chicago mobster hired by the CIA to kill Castro, was found murdered. His decomposing body was found in a 55-gallon steel fuel drum floating in Dumfounding Bay near Miami, Florida. Roselli had been
strangled and stabbed and his legs were sawed off.
1976 Oct 6, A Cuban aircraft from Venezuela with 73 people onboard
was blown up on a flight over the Caribbean. Castro blamed the explosion on the US. Luis Posada Carriles, a veteran of the Cuban exile’s war against Castro, was charged and twice acquitted in the bombing. Venezuelan authorities kept him in jail for 9 years until his escape in 1985 when he settled in El Salvador. In April, 2005, Posada sought asylum in the US. In May, 2005, declassified documents
were made public that linked Posada to the bombing and indicated he was on the CIA's payroll for years.
(SFC, 7/9/96, p.A8)(SFC,11/17/97, p.A14)(AP, 4/15/05)(AP, 5/11/05)
Dec 3, Fidel Castro was elected president of Cuba.
(WSJ, 8/5/06, p.A9)
1977 Mar 9, Pres. Carter proposed an end to travel restrictions to Cuba,
Vietnam, N. Korea and Cambodia effective as of March 18.
1977 Somalia and Ethiopia engaged in battle. The Soviet
Union provided tanks to both sides. Somalia tried and failed to push into the Ogaden area of Ethiopia. The Somalis managed to reach the walled city of Harer, a center for Islam in Ethiopia. An Ethiopian counter-offensive backed by Cuban troops wrecked Somalia’s army and led to the 1991 of the Somali regime.
8/12/06, p.19)(Econ, 10/14/06, p.49)(Econ, 1/7/12, p.42)
1978 Jul 13, Walter Poenisch completed a "swim for peace" from Cuba to the US in 34 hours and 15 min. He used flippers and made the swim
(SFC, 5/13/97, p.A3)(http://www.swim4peace.com/)
1978 Oct 18, Jaume Ramon Mercader del Rio Hernandez (b.1914), aka Jacques Mornard, Spanish Communist and
murderer of Leon Trotsky, died in Cuba. Declassified archives showed that he was a Soviet agent. In 1940 Mercader fatally wounded Trotsky with an ice axe in his study at his home in Coyoacan, then a village on the southern fringes of Mexico City.
1978 The Cuban jazz band Irakere performed at the Newport Jazz Festival.
(SFC, 6/16/96, BR p.42)
1979 Apr 28, Carlos Muniz Varela, a Cuban travel agent and an activist for Puerto Rico's independence, was killed in Puerto Rico.
1979 The Soviet Union established a brigade in Cuba.
1980 Apr 15, The Mariel boatlift officially began. When it ended on Oct 31, some 207,000 refugees entered the US of which 125,00 were Cubans.
(NG, Oct. 1988,
1980 Apr 20, The first Cubans sailing to the United States as part of the massive Mariel boatlift reached Florida.
(SFC,12/13/97, p.A14)(AP, 9/26/97)(AP, 4/20/00)
1980 Sep 18, Cosmonaut Arnoldo Tamayo, a Cuban, became the first black to be sent on a mission in
1980 Sep 26, The Cuban government abruptly closed Mariel Harbor, ending the freedom flotilla of Cuban refugees that began the previous April. By
this time the danzon, “Cuba’s national dance,” had all but disappeared.
(AP, 9/26/97)(SFC,12/13/97, p.A14)
1981 Sebastian Arcos Bergnes (d.1997 at 65), a dentist,
helped found the Committee for Human Rights in Cuba. He was arrested in 1981 and imprisoned for 7 years in the Combinado del Este prison and again in 1992 on charges of disseminating “enemy propaganda.” In 1995 he left for the US for medical treatment.
1981 The Cuban-American national Foundation was founded in Florida by Jorge Mas Canosa (d.1997), as the voice of Cuban exiles dedicated to weakening the Castro regime through
(SFEC, 7/12/98, p.A21)
1981 Farmer’s markets emerged in Cuba but were closed by Castro in 1986.
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A10)
1981 Costa Rica under Pres. Rodrigo Carazo Odio broke off relations Cuba. Ties were restored in 2009.
1982 Sep 11, Wilfredo Lam (b.1902), Cuban artist, died in Paris, France. He is best known for “The Jungle” (1943), later acquired by NYC’s MOMA.
1982 The US State Dept. added Cuba to its terror list following US accusations that the Castro government was aiding Colombian guerrillas.
1982 Robert Lee Vesco (1935-2007), who fled the US in 1971 to avoid charges of bilking mutual fund investors of $224 million, moved to Cuba.
1982 The cow named Ubre Blanca (10), crossed from a Holstein and a Zebu, produced 241 pounds of milk in a single day. The town of Nueva Geron, Cuba, erected a marble statue for her after her death in
(WSJ, 5/21/02, p.A1)
1984 Eriberto Mederos, aka El Enfermero (the Nurse), joined the Cuban boat lift to America. He became a US citizen in 1993. He had worked
as the administrator of electric shock therapy to political opponents of the Castro regime. In 2001 he was arrested and faced deportation for lying about his former occupation. In 2002 Mederos (79) was convicted in Florida for concealing his past.
(SFC, 11/16/01, p.E3)(SFC, 8/2/02,
1985 May 20, US began broadcasts to Cuba on Radio Marti.
1985 Castro gave a series of interviews to Frei Betto, a Brazilian friar, that were later published as “Fidel and Religion.”
(SFC, 1/22/98, p.B3)
1986 Fidel Castro closed the farmer’s markets that had emerged in 1986 and promised to wage a battle against private farmers.
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A10)
1986 Cuba defaulted on a $12 billion debt owed mainly to European and Latin American governments.
(Econ, 4/16/05, p.34)
1986 Tad Szulc (d.2001) authored “Fidel: A Critical Portrait.”
(SFC, 1/18/00, p.A9)(SFC, 5/24/01, p.C4)
1987 An Ikea subsidiary in Berlin and an East German company contracted for Cuban prison labor to build 45,000 tables and 40,000 sofa groupings. The deal blossomed into a scandal in 2012 following reports of the deal by a German newspaper.
(SFC, 5/11/12, p.A7)
1988 Mar 22, In Angola the battle of Cuito Cuanavale changed the region's political landscape, accelerating the independence of Namibia and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. While the Cuban and
Angolan forces claimed victory, South Africa claimed it lost only 31 soldiers against 4,785 who fell on the other side.
1988 Jul, The apartheid regime
in South Africa, having entered into discussions with the ANC, agreed to elections in Namibia in exchange for the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola.
The Grand Master of The Order of St. John (Knights of Malta) died. Fidel Castro declared a national day of mourning in Cuba.
(WSJ, 12/30/94, p.A6)
Jan 10, Cuba began withdrawing its troops from Angola, more than 13 years after its first contingents arrived.
1989 Apr 2, Soviet
leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev began a visit to Cuba amid differences with President Fidel Castro over the type of reforms Gorbachev was instituting in the Soviet Union.
1989 Jul 13, Cuba executed four military officers for conspiring to smuggle drugs to the United States. Antonio de la Guardia, a colonel in the Interior Ministry, was executed along with army general Arnaldo Ochoa and 2 other officers in a drug trafficking case. Gen’l. Patricio de la Guardia, Antonio’s twin, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Patricio was
released in 1997. Patricio had led an int’l. para-military brigade in Chile during the Allende years that was estimated at 15,000 men.
(SFC, 3/19/97, p.A14)(WSJ, 10/30/98, p.A19)(AP, 7/13/99)
1989 Sep 3, A Cubana de Aviacion jetliner crashed after takeoff in Havana, killing all 126 aboard and 26 people on the ground.
Fidel Castro Inaugurated the National Botanical Gardens, located just south of Havana. The 1,500-acre park fell on hard times after Cuba's 1990s economic crisis precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
1990 Mar 27, The U.S. began test broadcasts of TV Marti to Cuba, which promptly jammed the signal.
1990 Rainaldo Arenas (b.1943), gay writer, took his own life in the US after suffering from AIDS. He left Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. His books included “Before Night Falls” (1993) and “The Color of Summer” the 4th of 5 called the “Pentagonia” a “secret history of Cuba.” In 2000 the film
version of Before Night Falls was directed by Julian Schnabel
(SFEC, 7/30/00, BR p.4)(SSFC, 12/17/00, DB p.49)
1990-1991 Cuba was producing 90 million cigars
(SFC, 7/13/96, p.A9)
1991 May 21, Cuban composer Julian Orbon (b.1915) died in exile in Miami. Mr. Orbon was not recognized by Cuba's musical establishment
after he left the country permanently in 1960. He contributed to the adaptation of the famous Guantanamera tune with the verses of the Cuban poet Jose Marti (1853-1895).
1991 May 23, Last Cubans troops left Angola.
1991 Jun 19, Five Cubans stole and flew a Russian-made Antonov AN-2 biplane to Miami.
1991 Aug 3, The Pan Am games opened in Havana.
11, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced the Kremlin would withdraw thousands of troops from Cuba, a move bitterly denounced by the Havana government.
Cuba’s Fidel Castro declared a national emergency, dubbed “The Special Period in Peacetime.” This represented an extended period of economic crisis following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, by extension, the Comecon.
(Econ, 3/24/12, SR
1991 The organization Brothers to the Rescue was founded in Florida to conduct search and rescue missions for Cubans fleeing Cuba in the Florida Straits.
1991 Haitian refugees fled to the US base at Guantanamo. Hundreds were refused further passage to the US, many because of HIV infection.
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1992 Feb 2, The U.S. Coast Guard shipped home 250 more Haitian refugees from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, a day after repatriating a shipload of about 150 Haitians.
1992 Feb 28, La Lupe (53), Cuban singer, died of a heart attack in the Bronx.
1992 Feb, An execution was held for a Cuban exile who tried to infiltrate the island.
(SFC, 8/21/96, p.A8)
1992 May 25, A 7.0 earthquake on the Caribbean Plate hit Cuba.
(WSJ, 1/21/97, p.A18)(http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/sig_1992.html)
1992 Cuban poet Dulce Maria Loynaz (d.1997 at 94) won the prestigious Cervantes Award. She wrote the novel “Garden” between 1928 and 1935 in a style considered a precursor to “magical realism.” It wasn’t published until the 1950s. Other works included “Lyric Works” (1935); “Verses” (1920-1938); “Love
Letter for King Tutankhamen” (1953), “Collected Poems” (1984); “Bestiary” (1985) and “A Summer in Tenerife” (1987).
(SFC, 4/29/97, p.A20)
1993 Dec 20, Alina
Fernandez Revuelta, a daughter of Cuban President Fidel Castro, flew to Spain, where she was granted political asylum by the U.S. Embassy.
Robert Quirk authored "the biography: Fidel Castro."
(SFC, 1/18/00, p.A9)
1993 The autobiography of Marita Lorenz was published. Lorenz at age 19 had been Fidel
Castro's mistress and was suspected to have been involved in a plot to assassinate him. A 1999 American TV movie, "My Little Assassin," was roughly based on her life.
(WSJ, 10/8/99, p.W11)
1993 Cuba allowed limited freedom for small private businesses in 157 spheres of activity.
(Econ, 10/16/04, p.33)
1993 In Cuba
the dollar stores were opened in large part to fight a growing black market in which goods were traded in dollars without passing through the state's hands.
Pernod Ricard SA acquired the Cuban Rum Havana Club in a 50-50 joint venture with the Cuban government.
(Econ, 4/16/05, p.34)(WSJ, 9/7/05, p.B2)
May, Francisco Chaviano, president of the Cuban National Council for Civil Rights, was arrested. He was sentenced behind closed doors by a military court about a year later for allegedly revealing state secrets while documenting the cases of rafters who disappeared or died trying to leave Cuba. Chaviano was released in 2007, 2 years shy of his 15-year
1994 Jun 29, US reopened Guantanamo Naval Base to process refugees.
1994 Aug 5, Some desperate Cubans invaded foreign embassies to demand asylum. Others hijacked Havana harbor ferries and tried to take them to the United States. Hundreds of Cubans spilled onto
Havana's seaside Malecon boulevard, picked up rocks and debris from crumbling buildings and hurled them at police. Fidel Castro arrived in an army jeep to quiet the disturbance. His appearance prompted some demonstrators to drop their stones and applaud. In summer of 1994, food and fuel were scarce and islanders sweated through hours-long blackouts that stilled fans, air conditioners and water
1994 Aug 19, President Clinton abruptly halted the nation's three-decade open-door policy for Cuban refugees.
1994 Aug 20, President Clinton slapped new sanctions on Cuba that included prohibiting payments by Cuban-Americans to their relatives in
1994 Aug 27, The US State Department said the US and Cuba had agreed to resume talks on Cuban migration, with the hope of stemming the flow of
refugees headed toward Florida.
1994 Sep 7, After a brief meeting, the United States and Cuba temporarily suspended talks on stemming the Cuban
1994 Sep 9, The United States agreed to accept at least 20,000 Cuban immigrants a year in return for Cuba's promise to halt the flight
1994 Oct 15, A Cuban exile took part in a commando raid during which Arcilio Rodriguez Garcia, a local official, was shot dead. Humberto
Real Suarez and six others were captured several hours after landing by boat. He was sentenced to death in 1996 and the others were sentenced to 30-years in prison. In late 2010 Cuba's Supreme Court commuted the death sentence against Humberto Real Suarez, the last person remaining on death row in Cuba.
1994 Nov 8-1994 Nov 21, Hurricane Gordon caused 1,137 deaths in the Caribbean and eight in the United States. The storm hit Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti before striking
1994 Adam Kufeld, photographer, had his book “Cuba” published by
1994 Private farmer’s markets returned to Cuba following huge food shortages due to the collapse of the Soviet
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A10)
1994 Oakland, Ca., adopted a friendship agreement with Santiago, Cuba.
(SFC, 7/22/00, p.A17)
1994 UNESCO introduced the Marti prize on the initiative of Cuba to recognize an individual or institution contributing to the unity and integration of countries of Latin America and the
1995 May, In Cuba Robert Lee Vesco was arrested on charges of marketing Trixolane, a cancer and arthritis drug, without the
(SFC, 8/21/96, p.A8)(Econ, 5/31/08, p.91)
1995 Cuban cigar production dropped to 50 million per
(SFC, 7/13/96, p.A9)
1995 Pres. Castro and his ministers celebrated a deal with York Medical Inc. for a joint venture to develop Cuban
(SFC, 3/17/99, p.A14)
1996 Feb 23, Juan Pablo Roque, Cuban defector and author of "The Deserter," vanished from Miami and returned to Cuba. In 1999
his wife sued the Cuban government for sexual battery.
(SFEC, 8/15/99, p.A5)
1996 Feb 24, Cuban war planes shot down two unarmed private planes flown by a refugee
group in Florida. Cuba claimed the planes violated its airspace. 4 men were killed including 3 US citizens. In 2001 Gerardo Hernandez (36) was convicted of conspiracy in the deaths of the aviators. Antonio Guerrero (43), convicted for spying while working a Navy base in Florida, was sentenced to life in prison on Dec 27. In 2009 Guerrero’s sentence was reduced to 20
(WSJ, 2/23/96, p.A-1)(SFC,12/18/97, p.A6)(AP, 2/24/98)(WSJ, 12/13/01, p.A1)(SFC, 10/14/09, p.A4)
1996 Feb 26, President Clinton moved to step up economic
sanctions on Cuba in response to Cuba’s downing of two unarmed airplanes belonging to the Cuban-American exile group Brothers to the Rescue.
12, Pres. Clinton signed the Helms-Burton Act. It shut off visas to executives and shareholders of firms doing business in Cuba on property confiscated from Americans. This stripped the3 White House of the power to end the Cuban embargo.
(SFC, 8/22/96, p.E4)(http://tinyurl.com/lgpgt)(Econ, 3/24/12, SR
1996 May 1, Cubans began paying income taxes for the first time in decades.
(SFC, 5/18/96, p.A-9)
1996 Jun 3, The Chilean State Bank granted an additional $15 mil credit to the Nat’l. Bank of Cuba for financing Chilean exports to the island.
(WSJ, 8/8/95, p. A10)
1996 Jun 6, Cuba announced plans to create free trade zones on the island.
(SFC, 6/7/96, p.A15)
1996 Jun 12, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said he has sent a team to Cuba to study the country’s health and education systems. He praised the Castro regime for the virtual elimination of illiteracy.
1996 Aug 26, Robert Vesco was sentenced in Cuba to 13 years in prison for economic crimes against the state.
1996 Aug, Walter Van Der Veer (52), an American, was arrested for promoting armed action against Cuba. He went on closed trial in 1997. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in
(SFC, 10/3/97, p.B2)(SFC,11/27/97, p.B2)
1996 Oct 21, An American crop duster flew over Cuba on its way to Bogota, Columbia. In 1997 Cuba claimed before the
UN that the plane dusted Cuban fields with a biological pest, thrips palmi.
(SFC, 8/26/97, p.A4)
1996 Oct 24, A UN report said Hurricane Lili destroyed 5,460 homes
and damaged over 78,000. The Clinton administration waived a ban on air service and approved a charter flight for relief aid.
(SFC, 10/24/96, p.D5)
1996 The Buena
Vista Social Club, a Cuban recording group organized by Ry Cooder and Nick Gold, recorded its debut album (released in 1997), at EGREM studios in Havana. The group featured Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, Compay Segundo, Omara Portuondo, Ry Cooder and others. In 1999 the documentary film “Buena Vista Social Club” was made by Wim Wenders.
(SFC, 5/29/99, p.B1)(SFEM, 10/3/99, p.31)
1997 Jan 21, The construction of 2 Russian style VVER-440 nuclear reactors was continuing at Juragua despite structural
(WSJ, 1/21/97, p.A18)
1997 Jan 22, Canada and Cuba announced a 14-point agreement. They pledged cooperation on human rights and sought to shield foreign
investors targeted for punishment by Washington.
(SFC, 1/23/96, p.A8)
1997 Feb 12, The Clinton administration gave permission to 10 U.S. news organizations to open
bureaus in Cuba.
1997 Apr-1997 Sep, In Cuba terrorist bombings during this period were carried out by a ring of Salvadoran car thieves hired by
Cuban exiles in Miami for $15,000. The money was raised by Luis Posada Carriles. Posada at first acknowledged and then denied a role in the attacks.
(SFC,11/17/97, p.A14)(SFC, 5/18/05, p.A9)
1997 May 5, Farmers in Loma del Gato founded a work cooperative named Transicion and announced that they would no longer do business with the government. The government responded with harassing tactics.
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A10)
1997 Jul 11, A Cuban An-24 passenger plane with 44 people plunged into the sea after take-off from Santiago de Cuba enroute to Havana.
(SFC, 7/12/97, p.A14)
1997 Jul 16, In Cuba Vladimiro Roca, Martha Beatriz Roque, Felix Bonne, and Rene Gomez Manzano were detained for issuing a document "La Patria es de Todos," criticizing the political system. They were scheduled for a trial on charges of sedition in 1999. The Prosecution recommended a 6 year sentence
for Roca and 5 year sentences for the others after the 4 rejected a government offer to go into exile. Roca was sentenced to 5 years, Manzano and Bonne to 4 years, and Roque to 3 ½ years.
(USAT, 10/9/98, p.13A)(SFC, 2/27/99, p.A17)(SFC, 3/3/99, p.A10)(SFC, 3/16/99,
1997 Jul 23, Elio Reve Matos, salsa musician, died in a road accident. He developed the rhythm known as “charangon,” a combination of salsa styles that included “changui” and
(SFC, 7/26/97, p.A24)
1997 Aug 3, On Feb 8, 2011, Otto Rene Rodriguez (52) told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview that he received powerful C-4
explosives and $2,000 in cash directly from Luis Posada Carriles to carry out an Aug 3, 1997, bombing at Havana's Melia Cohiba hotel. He was captured trying to enter the country on a subsequent trip with 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of C-4 that Posada had given him.
1997 Aug 4, In Cuba a small explosion damaged a lobby in a Havana hotel. US-based groups were blamed for this and a pair of bombings from 3 weeks ago. Otto Rene Rodriguez Llerena confessed to the explosion at the Melia Cohiba Hotel,
which caused no injuries and little damage. He was sentenced to death in 1999.
(WSJ, 8/5/97, p.A1)(SFC, 4/2/99, p.D2)
1997 Sep 4, In Cuba an explosion shook 3
tourist hotels and one Italian tourist was killed. Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon (25) of Salvador was arrested and accused of carrying out a half-dozen hotel attacks. He worked for Luis Posada Carriles, who was supported by the Cuban-American National Foundation. Cruz was sentenced to death in 1999. In 2010 Cuba's Supreme Court commuted the death sentence ruling that he should serve 30 years in prison
instead. Francisco Chavez Abarca of El Salvador was later arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison for planting some of the bombs.
(SFC, 9/5/97, p.A12)(SFEC, 7/12/98, p.A21)(WSJ, 3/24/99, p.A1)(AP, 12/3/10)(SFC, 5/24/11, p.A2)
1997 Sep 10, A former Salvadoran soldier was arrested and confessed to carrying out a series of bomb attacks. A statement said that Raul Ernesto Cruz was paid $4,500 for each bomb he planted and that he had been trained in El Salvador.
(SFC, 9/11/97, p.A12)
1997 Oct 10, Fidel Castro was re-elected president at the close of the 5th national congress. His brother Raul was re-elected as 2nd in
(SFC, 10/12/97, p.A19)
1997 Oct 17, The remains of revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara (1928-1967) were laid to rest in his adopted Cuba in Santa Clara, 30
years after his execution in Bolivia.
(SFC,10/18/97, p.A10)(AP, 10/17/98)
1997 Oct 22-1997 Oct 28, Fidel Castro was hospitalized for hypertensive
(SFEC, 7/20/98, p.A9)
1997 Oct 27, The US Coast Guard arrested 3 Cuban American men on a yacht with sniper rifles, ammunition, night-vision goggles
and satellite navigation equipment. They were stopped off Puerto Rico and were headed for Margarita Island where Fidel Castro was to attend a summit. The men and 2 others were acquitted in 1999 of plotting to kill Castro.
(SFC, 12/9/99, p.A5)
1997 Nov 6, In Cuba a train-bus crash killed at least 56 people at Urbano Rey in the eastern sugar province of Holguin.
(WSJ, 11/7/97, p.A1)
1997 Nov 23, Jorge Mas Canosa, Cuban exile leader and head of MasTec, died in Miami. He helped create Radio Marti and TV Marti and served as chairman of the US Information Agency stations that beamed uncensored news to Cuba.
1997 Dec 14, Cuban President Fidel Castro declared Christmas 1997 an official holiday to ensure the success of Pope John Paul II's upcoming visit in January.
(SFC,12/15/97, p.B1)(AP, 12/14/98)
1997 Dec 17, A US court ordered Cuba to pay $187.6 million for three men killed when their planes were shot down Feb 24, 1996 by MiG
(WSJ, 12/18/97, p.A1)
1997 Dec 20, Pope John Paul II sent Christmas greetings to the Cuban people in advance of his visit to the island.
1997 Joseph Scarpaci co-authored "Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis."
(SFC, 5/17/99, p.A8)
1997 The film “Guantanamera” was directed by Tomas Gutierrez and Juan Carlos Tabio. it was about contemporary life in Cuba.
(WSJ, 8/19/97, p.A17)
1997 The US launched a Cuban democracy program. It sought to evade the country’s “information blockade” by sneaking in computers, cell phones, DVD players and other communications equipment to the island. Since 1997 USAID
grantees have worked with solidarity committees around the world to call for international support for Cuba's peaceful activists.
(SFC, 12/26/09, p.A8)(www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/congress/2003_hr/19708.htm)
1998 Jan 17, It was reported that the US military had begun to clear away over 50,000 land mines around Guantanamo Naval base. The base was defended by 400 marines.
1998 Jan 21-1998 Jan 25, Pope John Paul II was scheduled to visit Cuba.
(SFC, 1/8/98, p.B2)
1998 Jan 22, On the first full day of his visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass, preaching the message, "Be not afraid."
1998 Jan 23, Pope John Paul II condemned the US embargo against Catholic Cuba.
1998 Jan 24, Pope John Paul II, delivering blunt political messages during his visit to Cuba, called for the release of "prisoners of conscience" and respect for freedom of expression, initiative and association.
1998 Jan 25, In Cuba Pope John Paul II spoke in Revolution Square on his final day in the country. He urged Castro to respect human rights.
1998 Feb 12, The Cuban government announced that over 200 inmates held on political and other charges would be released.
1998 Mar 12, Manuel Pineiro (b.1934), the leader of Cuba’s intelligence apparatus, died in a car crash at age 63.
1998 Mar 19, Pres. Clinton eased US restrictions on humanitarian aid and travel to Cuba. Cuban-American households would be allowed to send back $1,200 a year.
(WSJ, 3/20/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 27, Two oil tankers collided and spilled heavy crude into Matanzas Bay, 60 miles east of Havana.
1998 Apr 8, Cuba restored relations with the Dominican Republic.
(WSJ, 4/9/98, p.A1)
1998 Apr 26, Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada, visited Cuba and with Fidel Castro inaugurated a new $40 million terminal at the Havana airport.
(SFC, 4/20/98, p.A10)(SFC, 4/27/98,
1998 Apr 27, Canada’s PM Chretien urged Fidel Castro to release four leading dissidents. It was reported that about 350 political prisoners were currently held.
(SFC, 4/28/98, p.A6)
1998 Jul 2, From California the Oakland Youth Orchestra performed at the Gran Teatro de la Habana in Cuba. The group had already performed in Mexico City, Toluca and
(SFC, 7/11/98, p.B6)
1998 Jul 15, Direct flights between the US and Cuba resumed after 2 years. US authorities expanded a “security zone” to include most
of the Florida coast to prevent anti-Castro protestors from entering Cuban waters.
(SFC, 7/16/98, p.A10)
1998 Aug 20, Fidel Castro (72) visited the Dominican
Republic for a regional meeting on trade negotiations with Europe. He was greeted by Pres. Leonel Fernandez (44).
(SFC, 8/21/98, p.A15)
1998 Aug 29, In Quito,
Ecuador, a Cuban plane with 90 people onboard crashed. 80 people were killed including 5 children playing on the ground. At least 8 people survived the crash of the Russian-made Tupelov-154.
(SFEC, 8/28/98, p.A15)(SFC, 8/31/98, p.A10)(AP, 8/29/08)
1998 Sep 14, In Miami ten suspected Cuban spies were arrested for trying to penetrate the military and exile groups. Five men later pleaded guilty to lesser charges; the trial of the other five has been postponed until May 2000. The 5 remaining men were convicted in June, 2001, for acting as
unregistered agents and conspiracy to commit crimes against the US. In 2009 a federal judge lowered the life sentence of Ramon Labanino to 30 years. The 19-year sentence against Fernando Gonzalez was reduced to about 18 years.
(WSJ, 9/15/98, p.A1) (WSJ, 9/15/98, p.A1)(AP, 9/14/99)(SSFC, 8/5/07,
1998 Sep 15-1998 Oct 1, Hurricane Georges caused 602 deaths in the Caribbean and four in the United States. The storm hit the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla and British
and U.S. Virgin Islands before striking Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida.
1998 Sep 23, The death toll from hurricane
Georges reached 110. 17 people were killed in Haiti and 17 in the Dominican Republic as the storm hit Cuba.
(SFC, 9/24/98, p.A12)(WSJ, 9/24/98, p.A1)
1998 Sep 24,
The death toll from Hurricane Georges reached 6.
(SFC, 9/25/98, p.A16)(SFC, 10/3/98, p.A11)
1998 Sep, Two Italian tourists, Fabio Usubelli and Michelle Niccolai,
were killed during a robbery. In 1999 Sergio Antonio Durate Scull and Carlos Rafael Pelaez Prieto were convicted and sentenced to death.
(SFC, 1/29/99, p.E9)
Oct 14, The UN for a 7th year called for an end to the US economic embargo against Cuba. Only the US and Israel cast negative votes.
(SFC, 10/15/98, p.C4)
7, Japan offered more than $9 million in aid to Cuba with most of the money as a direct donation to buy rice. A 5 month drought followed by Hurricane Georges caused heavy agricultural losses.
(SFEC, 11/8/98, p.A28)
1998 Nov 22, Rolando Laserie, Cuban vocalist, died at age 75 in Florida. He was known as El Guapachoso, or the Ebullient One.
(SFC, 11/25/98, p.B4)
1998 Dec 1, Granma, the only daily newspaper, recommended that Christmas be re-established as a permanent holiday.
(SFC, 12/2/98, p.A10)
1998 Dec 17, A boatload of Cubans capsized off Elliot Key, Fla., during an immigrant-smuggling attempt and at least 8 people were drowned.
(SFC, 12/19/98, p.A7)
1998 The Latin American School of Medical Science opened in Cuba. It was created as a regional initiative after two hurricanes devastated Caribbean and Central American nations. The first class of 1,500 students graduated in 2005.
(AP, 8/21/05)(Econ, 1/27/07, p.35)
1999 Jan 1, President Fidel Castro, marking 40 years as Cuba's leader, portrayed his socialist nation as a defender of humanity against rapacious capitalism.
1999 Feb 6, The Health Ministry said 14 people died from food poisoning in Manguito. They had all eaten products from a food vendor who also
(SFC, 2/8/99, p.A11)
1999 Feb 25, Cuba cut phone service to AT&T and MCI WorldCom for unpaid bills. The phone companies were withholding payments
pending a lawsuit by relatives of 4 Cuban Americans, whose aircraft were shot down in Feb 1996.
(SFC, 2/26/99, p.A14)
1999 Mar 18, A US federal judge ordered US
telephone companies to pay $6.2 million owed to Cuba to the families of 3 Cuban Americans killed in 1996.
(SFC, 3/19/99, p.A12)
1999 May 3, In Baltimore the Cuban
baseball team beat the Baltimore Orioles 12-6. 7 members missed the departure the next day and one coach, Rigoberto Betancourt Herrera, was reported to have defected, as the others over slept. The 6 stragglers departed May 5.
(SFC, 5/5/99, p.A1,6)(SFC, 5/6/99,
1999 May 11, In Cuba 2 tornadoes killed 5 people.
(WSJ, 5/12/99, p.A1)
1999 May 14, Cuba and Russia agreed on a joint venture to complete a nuclear reactor at the Juragua power station in Cuba.
(SFC, 5/15/99, p.A14)
1999 May 28, In Cuba Pres. Castro replaced Roberto Robaina (43) as foreign minister with Felipe Perez Roque (34). Robaina had served in the office for 6 years.
1999 Jun 1, Cuba filed a $181.1 billion compensation claim against the US for deaths and injuries in what it called a 40 year "dirty war" against Pres. Castro's government.
(SFC, 6/2/99, p.A12)
1999 Jun 7, In Cuba some 25 dissidents, led by Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, went on a hunger strike and demanded the release of scores of people described as political
(SFC, 6/8/99, p.A12)(SFC, 6/15/99, p.C5)
1999 Jun 20, The Cuban Evangelical Celebration, billed as the first Protestant gathering of its kind, was held in
Havana's Plaza of the Revolution with Castro present.
(SFC, 6/21/99, p.A10)
1999 Jul 3, A boat smuggling 11 people out of Cuba capsized and one person was killed.
Joel Dorta Garcia (27) and David Garcia Capote (33) were arrested and accused of charging $8,000 for smuggling each passenger.
(SFC, 8/28/99, p.A11)
Marta Beatriz Roque began a liquids only hunger strike after she was imprisoned in Cuba for her role in writing "The Homeland Belongs to All."
(WSJ, 8/27/99, p.A9)
Aug 4, Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomajor was stripped of his gold medal from the Pan American Games after he tested positive for cocaine.
(WSJ, 8/5/99, p.A1)
Oct 11, Israel confirmed that some 400 Jews from Cuba were brought to Israel over the last 5 years in a secret operation.
(SFC, 10/12/99, p.A8)
Oct 14, Hurricane Irene drenched Cuba and proceeded to the Florida keys.
(SFC, 10/15/99, p.D4)
1999 Nov 6, The UN General Assembly approved for
the 8th time in 8 years a resolution condemning the US embargo of Cuba.
(SFC, 11/27/99, p.A14)
1999 Nov 16, A 2-day Ibero-American summit for heads of state from
Latin America, Spain and Portugal met in Havana. Int'l. finance and the effects of economic globalization on developing countries was the central theme. The 18 heads of state signed a Havana Declaration.
(SFEC, 11/14/99, p.A22)(SFC, 11/17/99, p.A20)
1999 Nov 25, A 5-year-old boy, one of 14 escapees from Cuba, was saved by sport fisherman off Florida while 9 people drowned. The fate of Elian Gonzalez was in question after his father called for his return to Cuba. This set off an international custody battle between relatives in Miami and Elian's
father in Cuba.
(SFC, 11/26/99, p.A3)(SFC, 12/1/99, p.A7)(AP, 11/25/06)
1999 Dec 3, Regular but restricted passenger service from NY to Havana was resumed for the
1st time in nearly 4 decades with a flight by Marazul Charters.
(SFC, 12/4/99, p.A6)
1999 Dec 13, In Louisiana 8 Cuban nationals at the St. Matin Parish jail in St.
Martinville took as hostage Warden Todd Louvierre, 2 deputies, and 5 inmates. They demanded either freedom or deportation. 2 Cubans surrendered on Dec 17 and freed 3 female hostages. An agreement was reached Dec 18 for the Cubans to return to Cuba.
(SFC, 12/15/99, p.A3)(SFC, 12/18/99, p.A3)(SFEC, 12/19/99,
1999 Dec 25, A Cuban airplane, Russian-made YAK-42, with 22 people crashed just before landing in the northern Venezuelan state of Carabobo.
2000 Jan 5, Touching off angry protests by Cuban-Americans in Miami, the US government decided to send six-year-old Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba. After a legal battle, and the seizure of Elian from the home of his US relatives, the boy
was returned to Cuba in June.
(SFC, 1/6/00, p.A1)(AP, 1/5/01)
2000 Jan 12, US Attorney General Janet Reno said that the Florida court order granting temporary
custody of Elian Gonzalez to his great uncle had no force or effect on the INS decision that the boy should be returned to his father in Cuba.
(SFC, 1/13/00, p.A3)
Jan 14, In a massive demonstration demanding the return of Elian Gonzalez, tens of thousands of Cuban women marched to the U-S mission in Havana, waving Cuban flags and chanting, “Bring back our son!”
2000 Feb 26, Jose Imperatori, vice consul at the Cuban interests section in Washington, was expelled from the US after he refused to leave voluntarily under charges of spying.
2000 Feb 27, Jose Imperatori, the Cuban diplomat expelled from the US for spying, took refuge in the Cuban embassy in Ottowa.
2000 Mar 21, A US Federal Judge ruled that Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father in Cuba.
2000 Apr 6, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, the father of Elian Gonzalez, arrived in Washington DC with his wife and baby son to press his case for the return of his son from relatives in
(SFC, 4/7/00, p.A1)
2000 Apr 12, Attorney General Janet Reno met in Miami with the US relatives of Elian Gonzalez, after which she ordered them to bring the
six-year-old boy to an airport the next day so he could be taken to a reunion with his father in Washington. Elian was seized by federal agents ten days after Reno’s order to turn him over.
(SFC, 4/13/00, p.A1)(AP, 4/12/01)
2000 Apr 14, Leaders of developing nations called for a “New Global Human Order’ to spread the world’s wealth and power. The Group of 77, expanded to 133, made the call during a 3 day summit in Havana.
2000 Jun 17, In Cuba, more than 300,000 people turned out to protest the continued stay of Elian Gonzalez in the United States; it was the largest such demonstration since the previous December, when Cuba launched a national campaign of
mass gatherings demanding the boy’s return.
2000 Jul 26, In Cuba over 1 million protestors marched in Havana against the US trade
(SFC, 7/27/00, p.C3)
2000 Jul 27, In Cuba Oakland’s Mayor Jerry Brown signed an agreement with Mayor Nicolas Carbonell Igarza of Santiago, Cuba, for
people-to-people exchanges as sister cities. The next day Brown met and lunched with Pres. Castro.
(SFC, 7/29/00, p.A17)
2000 Sep 19, Nine Cubans were rescued at sea
after their Antonov AN-2 biplane plunged into the Gulf of Mexico. The cargo ship Chios Dream pulled found the survivors and a 10th body. Immigration officials soon granted their legal entry to the US.
(SFC, 9/20/00, p.A12)(SFC, 9/22/00, p.A9)
2000 Sep 25, In Cuba thousands of protestors joined Fidel Castro to protest US immigration policies.
(SFC, 9/26/00, p.A14)
2000 Oct 26, In Venezuela Pres. Chavez greeted Fidel Castro and they planned an accord for oil shipments to Cuba in exchange for bartered products and services.
2000 Oct, Cuba imposed a new telephone tax in response to the US decision to use $58 million in frozen Cuban assets to pay the families of Cuban American pilots shot down by Cuban fighter jets in
(SFC, 12/16/00, p.A21)
2000 Oct, Pres. Clinton signed into law the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA), which for the first time allowed US companies to sell agricultural products, medical supplies,
and processed foods on a cash basis directly to Cuba.
2000 Nov 17, In Panama Luis Posada, an
anti-Castro terrorist, was arrested along with other Cuban-Americans associated with anti-Communist groups, after Fidel Castro arrived for a regional summit.
(SFC, 11/22/00, p.A19)
2000 Dec 8, Fidel Castro spoke in Havana at the unveiling of a statue to John Lennon of the Beatles.
(WSJ, 6/14/01, p.A18)
Dec 13, Russia’s Pres. Putin traveled to Cuba for business and rest. There was a $20 billion debt owed by Cuba to the former Soviet Union.
(SFC, 12/14/00, p.C8)(SSFC, 12/17/00, p.D2)
2000 Dec 14, Vladimir Putin, the first Russian president to visit Cuba since the collapse of the Soviet Union, held talks with Fidel Castro in Havana.
2000 Dec 17, Cuba and Russia agreed to abandon the nuclear power plant at Juragua. Pres. Putin pushed Castro to recognize a small portion of the Soviet-era debt, estimated at $20 billion.
(SFC, 12/18/00, p.E6)
2000 Dec 24, Heavy weekend rains swamped Havana and left 2 people dead.
(SFC, 12/27/00, p.C4)
2000 Dec 24, Alberto Vazquez (17)
and Maikel Fonseca (16) died from freezing temperatures after they climbed into the wheel well of a British Airways Boeing 777 destined for London.
(SFC, 1/18/01, p.A14)
Feb 5, Cuba freed 2 prominent Czechs held for over 3 weeks for attempting to meet with dissidents.
(WSJ, 2/6/00, p.A1)
2001 Apr 19, A US cargo
ship departed from Jacksonville, Fla., for Cuba, the 1st scheduled ship in 40 years. 2 days later the ship failed to dock in Cuba.
(SFC, 4/20/01, p.A13)(WSJ, 4/23/01, p.A1)
May 15, Fidel Castro arrived in Syria from Qatar for a 2-day visit.
(SFC, 5/16/01, p.D14)
2001 May 31, A group of journalists led by Raul Rivero
formed an independent association, the 1st under Castro’s rule.
(SFC, 6/1/01, p.D3)
2001 Jun 8, Five Cuban men were convicted in the US for operating as unregistered
foreign agents. Gerardo Hernandez (36) was sentenced to life in prison on Dec 12 for conspiracy in the deaths of 4 aviators shot down by Cuba in 1996. Antonio Guerrero (43), convicted for spying while working a Navy base in Florida, was sentenced to life in prison on Dec 27. In 2009 Guerrero’s sentence was reduced to 20 years. Rene Gonzalez was released in
(SFC, 12/13/01, p.A4)(SFC, 12/28/01, p.A5)(SFC, 10/14/09, p.A4)(AP, 10/15/11)
2001 Jul 13, Pres. Bush ordered toughened enforcement of the sanctions against
Cuba and promised to expand support for human rights activists there.
(SFC, 7/14/01, p.A11)
2001 Aug 1, A boatload of Cubans capsized off Key West and at least 2
people died. 4 were missing and 22 were rescued.
(WSJ, 8/2/01, p.A1)
2001 Aug 17, Gen. Raul Menendez Tomassevitch, a founding member of the Communist Party of Cuba,
(SFC, 8/18/01, p.E3)
2001 Aug 23, Frank Emilio Flynn, blind pianist and Latin jazz pioneer, died at age 80 in
(SFC, 8/30/01, p.C2)
2001 Sep 21, Ana Belen Montes, an employee of the US Defense Intelligence Agency since 1985, was charged with spying for Cuba. She
pleaded guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to 25 years in jail.
(SFC, 9/22/01, p.A20)(WSJ, 3/20/02, p.A1)(SFC, 10/16/02, p.A9)
2001 Nov 4, Hurricane Michelle hit Cuba
and forced the evacuation of 750,000. At least 5 people were killed.
(SFC, 11/5/01, p.A1)(SFC, 11/6/01, p.A13)
2001 Nov 20, A speedboat, believed to be carrying 30
smuggled Cubans, capsized in the Florida Straits and all were believed drowned.
(SFC, 11/21/01, p.A17)
2001 Dec 12, Gerardo Hernandez, the leader of a Cuban spy
ring, received a life sentence in federal court in Miami for his role in the infiltration of US military bases and the deaths of four Cuban-Americans in 1996.
Dec 14, The US shipped a load of corn to Cuba, the 1st American food shipment there since 1963.
(SFC, 12/15/01, p.A8)
2001 Dec 16, The first U.S.
commercial food shipments since 1963 arrived in communist Cuba. The Mexican freighter N.V. Ikon Mazatlan arrived in Cuba with 26,400 tons of American corn a day after 500 tons of American frozen chicken parts were received.
(SFC, 12/17/01, p.A3)(AP, 12/16/02)
2001 Dec 18, Cuba reported that attackers killed a visiting Florida couple, their 8-year-old grandson and 2 others during a highway robbery in Matanzas province.
(SFC, 12/19/01, p.A4)(WSJ, 12/19/01,
2001-2003 Cuba ran up an oil debt to Venezuela of some $752 million.
(WSJ, 2/2/04, p.A1)
2001-2004 Activists of Oswaldo Paya’s Christian Liberation Movement gathered 25,000 signatures in a vain attempt to persuade Cuba’s National Assembly to change the constitution to allow multi-party democracy.
2002 Jan 4, George and Marisol Gari, members of the Wasp network Cuban spy ring, were sentenced in Florida to 7 and 3.5 years.
2002 Jan 6, Construction began to expand Camp X-Ray at the US Guantanamo base in Cuba to house detainees from Afghanistan. The 1st prisoners arrived Jan 11. As the number of prisoners rose Camp Delta was
(WSJ, 1/26/05, p.A10)
2002 Jan 10, A US military transport took off carrying al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners to the US Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.
Prisoners were set up in an area called Camp X-Ray. In 2004 David Rose authored “Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights.”
(SFC, 1/11/02, p.A5)(SFC, 1/26/02, p.A10)(SSFC, 11/21/04, p.E6)
2002 Jan 27, Honduras restored diplomatic ties with Cuba just before Ricardo Maduro took office.
(WSJ, 1/28/02, p.A1)
1, Mongo Santamaria (81/85), Cuban-born Latin jazzman, died in Miami.
(WSJ, 2/3/03, p.A1)(SFC, 2/5/03, p.A22)(SSFC, 12/28/03, p.E4)
2002 Feb 3, In Havana Fidel
Castro met with Pres. Fox of Mexico.
(SFC, 2/4/02, p.A4)
2002 Feb 4, In Havana Pres. Fox of Mexico met with 7 prominent
(SFC, 2/5/02, p.A7)
2002 Feb 27, In Havana 21 Cubans took refuge in the Mexican Embassy after plowing through its gates in a stolen bus. Mexican
diplomats found the Cubans to be economic refugees and requested a raid. A Cuban special unit arrested the asylum seekers on Mar 1.
(SFC, 3/1/02, p.A16)(SFC, 3/2/02, p.A8)
Mar, In Cuba Anthony Boadle began working as Reuters' bureau chief and continued through 2008. He published reports favoring local counterrevolutionaries and the interests of the United States and the European Union. In 2011 Cuban state-television accused Boadle of working as a CIA operative.
2002 May 5, In Cuba Fidel Castro freed Vladimiro Roca (59), jailed 5 years ago for sedition, ahead of Pres. Carter’s visit.
2002 May 10, In Cuba activists of the Varela Project delivered 11,000 petitions for greater freedom to Pres. Castro. Oswaldo Paya created the project based on Article 88 of the 1976 Constitution. The regime responded with a
counter-referendum in which 8 million citizens were persuaded to vote for a June 27 constitutional amendment that declared socialism “irrevocable.”
(SFC, 5/11/02, p.A9)(WSJ, 5/13/02, p.A1)(Econ, 3/24/12, SR p.9)
2002 May 12, Former US Pres. Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba and Castro offered him an unfettered access. He was the 1st US president, in or out of office, to visit since the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in power.
(WSJ, 5/13/02, p.A1)(AP, 5/12/03)
2002 May 13, In Cuba former US Pres. Carter challenged US government conservatives to prove charges that Cuba has developed biological weapons and shared such technology with renegade
(SFC, 5/14/02, p.A9)
2002 May 14, Former Pres. Carter addressed the Cuban people and said the US should end its embargo and that Cuba should become more
(SFC, 5/15/02, p.A1)
2002 May 16, Jimmy Carter met with over 20 dissidents and urged them to continue fighting for democratic change and human
(SFC, 5/17/02, p.A14)
2002 May 17, Former President Jimmy Carter ended a historic visit to Cuba sharply at odds with the Bush administration over how to deal
with Fidel Castro, saying limits on tourism and trade often hurt Americans more than Cubans.
2002 May 20, Pres. Bush marked Cuban Independence Day with
a speech that offered Cuba greater economic and political ties in exchange for free and transparent elections and an open economy.
(WSJ, 5/20/02, p.A3)(SFC, 5/21/02, p.A3)
Jun 12, Fidel Castro led hundreds of thousands of people in support of a constitutional amendment declaring Cuba's socialist state "untouchable." It was a protest to President Bush's policies toward Cuba and defiance for democratic reforms of his one-party system. A proposed amendment outlined Cuba as a socialist state of workers… organized with all and for the good of
(AP, 6/12/02)(SFC, 6/12/02, p.A13)
2002 Jun 27, Cuba's one-party socialist state was engraved in the constitution as "irrevocable" after Fidel Castro's
communist parliament followed his lead and rejected domestic and foreign efforts to introduce democratic reforms.
2002 Jul 8, Ralph Nader attended a
dinner with Cuban leader Fidel Castro as the consumer advocate began a three-day visit to the communist nation.
2002 Jul 8, Cuban poet and writer Cintio Vitier was named winner of Mexico's Juan Rulfo Prize for
2002 Jul 22, North Dakota's Gov. John Hoeven headed to Cuba to promote trade of peas, wheat and other foods to the communist island from his
state. It was only the 2nd visit to Cuba by a sitting American governor in some 40 years.
2002 Jul 29, In Canada at least 23 young Cubans from a group
who traveled to see Pope John Paul II decided not to return to the communist-ruled island.
2002 Aug 29, Assailants entered a home in Artemisa, a
village in western Cuba and killed five people, including four members of a family, apparently by cutting their throats.
2002 Sep 29, Cuba struck deals
to buy more than $66 million of American food during a mammoth agribusiness show aimed at bringing more U.S. farm products to the communist island. More contracts were expected.
2002 Oct 21, Millions of Cubans went to the polls to choose new municipal officials, the men and women charged with solving all manner of neighborhood problems, from lack of water to deteriorating buildings.
2002 Oct 23, The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents announced that it chose Oswaldo Paya of Cuba for the prestigious 2002 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
2002 Nov 11, A two-seat crop sprayer crammed with eight members of a Cuban family, including a baby, landed at the Key West airport in an apparent bid for asylum by those
2002 Nov 26, Cuban musician Polo Montanez (47), born as Fernando Borrego, died from head injuries suffered in a Nov 20 car crash. His
country-style music was hugely popular throughout Latin America.
(AP, 11/27/02)(SFC, 11/29/02, p.A27)
2002 Dec 10, A train accident at Coliseo, Cuba, killed 14
people and injured more than 70.
(AP, 12/11/02)(SFC, 12/12/02, p.A20)
2003 Jan 19, In Cuba more than 97 percent of voters showed overwhelming support for the
nation's socialist system by electing 609 candidates who ran uncontested for parliament.
2003 Feb 27, In Cuba America’s top diplomat said that
the Castro government had seized some 5,101 books shipped in by the US government.
(SFC, 2/28/03, A13)
2003 Mar 2, Fidel Castro offered to mediate with North
Korea over its nuclear program, though he acknowledged Cuba’s ability to stem the growing crisis was limited.
2003 Mar 6, Pres. Fidel Castro was
elected a sixth term and he wasted no time in criticizing the US, warning that Cuba doesn’t need its foreign office.
2003 Mar 10, The European
Union opened a new office in Cuba.
2003 Mar 19, A Cuban airliner was hijacked to Key West. 6 hijackers took control of the plane without telling the 25
passengers and six crew members about their asylum plans. The six were later convicted of federal hijacking charges.
(SFC, 3/20/03, p.A15)(AP, 3/19/04)
2003 Mar 20,
Fidel Castro's agents arrested some of the government's leading critics in a crackdown that has netted at least 65 dissidents accused of working with US diplomats to undermine Cuba's socialist system.
2003 Apr 1, In the second hijacking of a Cuban plane in as many weeks, a hijacker claiming to have two grenades surrendered an hour after forcing the aircraft to land in Florida with 32 people aboard.
2003 Apr 3, Cuban security forces arrested the hijackers of a passenger ferry, rescuing nearly 50 hostages.
2003 Apr 4, A standoff between Cuban troops and the hijackers of a small ferry who had tried to sail to Florida ended as soldiers stormed the boat and hostages jumped overboard to
2003 Apr 7, Cuba handed down sentences of 15-27 years to the 1st 7 of 80 recently rounded dissidents. Activists of Oswaldo Paya’s Christian
Liberation Movement made up more than two-thirds of those arrested. In response the EU imposed diplomatic sanctions and Cuban officials boycotted embassy functions in what came to be called the “cocktail war.” The sanctions were suspended in 2005 and lifted in 2008.
(AP, 4/8/03)(Econ, 12/17/05, p.38)(Econ, 6/28/08,
2003 Apr 11, Fidel Castro's government executed three men who hijacked a ferry by firing squad in a chilling message to anyone else who tries to commandeer a boat or plane to the United
2003 Apr 17, In central Cuba a bus and a semi truck collided on a highway, killing at least 30 people and injuring
2003 Jul 10, Cuba signed an operating agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi, an agreement that could help erode the long-standing US embargo of
2003 Jul 11, The Canadian government gave Air Canada the right to operate scheduled passenger flights to Cuba.
2003 Jul 13, Compay Segundo (95), a once-forgotten Cuban musician who gained worldwide fame with the "Buena Vista Social Club," died in
2003 Jul 16, Celia Cruz (77), Cuban-born Latin music singer, died in Fort Lee, NJ.
(SFC, 7/17/03, p.A21)
2003 Jul 26, Cuba celebrated the 50th anniversary of the start of Fidel Castro's revolution against Fulgencio Batista.
2003 Sep 26, In Cuba Brazil's Pres. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed business accords with Castro that included an agreement to renegotiate Havana's $40 million debt with
2003 Sep 27, Brazil and Cuba signed $200 million in new business deals in Cuba by private Brazilian
2003 Sep 28, Cuba's foreign minister made an impassioned appeal for the lifting of the trade embargo against his country, saying the
blockade has cost the Caribbean nation $72 billion in the last 42 years.
2003 Oct 3, Oswaldo Paya, top democracy activist, launched a new challenge to
Fidel Castro's government as part of the Varela Project, turning in more than 14,000 signatures of people seeking a human rights referendum just six months after a crackdown on the opposition.
2003 Nov 2, In Havana, Cuba, 71 American firms from 18 states and Puerto Rico opened trade fair displays under an exception in a 42-year US trade embargo.
2003 Dec 8, Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez (84), who found new fame in the mid-1990s playing with Compay Segundo's Buena Vista Social Club band, died in Havana.
2003 Dec 13, More than 250 US agribusiness representatives traveled to Cuba for sales talks, marking the 2nd anniversary of the first US commercial food shipments to the
2004 Jan 21, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in Cuba to consecrate St. Nicholas Cathedral on Jan. 25, said Metropolitan
Athenagoras of Panama and Central America. There were 1,200 practicing Orthodox Christians in Cuba.
2004 Feb 26, President Bush tightened U.S. travel
restrictions against Cuba.
2004 Feb, UNESCO awarded its press freedom prize to Cuba's jailed independent reporter Raul
2004 Mar 15, The U.S. military said it released 23 Afghan and three Pakistani citizens from the U.S. Navy prison for terrorist suspects in
Cuba, leaving about 610 still in detention.
2004 Apr 13, Cuba agreed to buy $13 million in food from American companies and reached a tentative deal
for up to $10 million in farm goods from California.
2004 Apr 29, Thousands of Cubans, young and old, played their favorite game into the night to
break the world record for most people playing chess simultaneously.
2004 May 11, Cuba’s dollar-only stores “closed for inventory.” Cuba blamed new US
measures aimed at squeezing the island’s economy.
(SFC, 5/12/04, p.A9)
2004 May 17, Cuba’s dollar-only stores were ordered to mark up their prices 10-30% for
2004 May 27, Cuba and Mexico agreed to return their respective ambassadors following a dispute earlier this
(WSJ, 5/28/04, p.A1)
2004 Jun, The US Treasury Dept. imposed restrictions requiring that academic trips to Cuba be at least 10 weeks long. This eliminated
popular 1-2 week visits offered by US universities.
(SSFC, 4/9/06, p.F4)
2004 Jul 18, Mexico and Cuba said they will reinstate ambassadors in each other's countries
at the end of the month.
2004 Jul 22, The Cuban government released political prisoner Martha Beatriz Roque from a hospital where she was serving a
20-year sentence. She is the seventh and best-known person let out of jail in three months.
2004 Aug 13, Hurricane Charley roared across Cuba, ripping
apart roofs, downing power lines and yanking up huge palm trees on its way to Florida. Charley hit Florida with winds at 145mph. It flattened oceanfront homes, killed 23 people and left thousands more homeless.
(AP, 8/13/04)(AP, 8/14/04)(AP, 8/14/04)(AP, 8/16/04)(WSJ, 8/20/04,
2004 Aug 26, Cuba broke diplomatic ties with Panama after the outgoing Panamanian president Mireya Moscoso pardoned four Cuban exiles, including Luis Posada Carriles, the communist government accuses of trying to assassinate President
(AP, 8/27/04)(SFC, 5/18/05, p.A9)
2004 Sep 14, Hurricane Ivan whipped western Cuba with 160 mph winds. The hurricane knocked some 25 million barrels of
oil off world markets by causing undersea mudslides in the Gulf of Mexico.
(AP, 9/14/04)(WSJ, 10/27/04, p.A1)
2004 Sep 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met
with President Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders as the countries worked on re-creating more modest versions of political and economic alliances that unraveled after the Soviet Union's collapse.
2004 Oct 22, Rosa Elena Simeon (61), Cuba's minister of science, technology and environment, died.
2004 Oct 25, Cuba said that dollars will no longer be accepted at island businesses and stores in a dramatic change in how commercial transactions have been done here in more than a decade.
2004 Oct 28, For the 13th straight year, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly urged the United States to end its more than four decade trade embargo against Cuba.
2004 Nov 8, The U.S. dollar was eliminated from circulation in Cuba.
2004 Nov 14, Religious figures and Cuban government officials in Havana laid down the first stone of what will become the island's first-ever Russian Orthodox church.
2004 Nov 15, In Las Vegas 43 members of “Havana Night Club” revue, a Cuban dance troupe, asked for asylum. In 2005 the US granted asylum to 49 members of the
(SFC, 11/16/04, p.A2)(SFC, 7/22/05, p.A8)
2004 Nov 19, Cuba and Panama agreed to restore consular relations, taking a step toward renewal of full diplomatic
ties at a meeting on the sidelines of an Ibero-American summit.
2004 Nov 22, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Fidel Castro in Havana for talks
focusing on the broadening ties between Cuba and China.
2004 Nov 30, Cuba's communist government freed dissident writer Raul Rivero from prison. Cuba
unexpectedly released three political dissidents for health reasons: economics writer Oscar Espinosa Chepe, who has a liver ailment, Marcelo Lopez, who has a neurological disorder, and Margarito Broche, who suffered a heart attack in prison.
2004 Dec 14, The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) began with the Cuba-Venezuela Agreement.
2004 Dec 17, Three days of trade talks ended in Havana. Cuba agreed to buy about $125 million in farm goods from attending U.S.
2004 Dec 25, President Fidel Castro said a 100-million-barrel crude oil deposit had been discovered off Cuba by Canadian firms. Cuba
imports about half the petroleum it needs.
2005 Jan 4, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said the island nation was renewing contacts with
France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Portugal and Sweden after an EU panel recommended that member states stop inviting dissidents to their National Day celebrations at their embassies in Havana.
2005 Jan 10, Cuba said it was resuming formal ties with all of Europe, ending a deep freeze in relations following a 2003 crackdown on dissidents and the firing-squad executions of three men who tried to hijack a ferry.
2005 Jan 18, Cuba's National Gazette published a new resolution by the Commerce Ministry that beginning on Feb. 7, smoking will be prohibited in theaters, stores, buses, taxis and other enclosed public
2005 Jan 31, EU foreign ministers agreed to restore normal diplomatic relations with the Cuban government while pledging to increase contacts
with critics of Pres. Fidel Castro.
2005 Feb 7, Cuba began an island-wide ban on smoking in public places such as stores, theaters, and office
2005 Mar 17, President Fidel Castro announced a 7 percent revaluation of Cuba's national currency, giving Cubans slightly more buying power
as the communist-run island moves to reassert greater control over its economy.
2005 Mar 24, In a move to further strengthen Cuba's national currency,
Cuban President Fidel Castro announced that one of two types of money accepted on the island will no longer be automatically traded 1-1 to the US dollar. Beginning April 9, the exchange rate for the Cuban convertible peso will no longer be on par with the American dollar and instead will be tied to several foreign currencies, initially marking an 8 percent revaluation. The move will also help
raise the value of the regular peso.
2005 Apr 17, Millions of Cubans elected municipal assemblies across the communist-run island Sunday in local
elections Pres. Castro defended as "the most democratic in the world."
2005 May 4, It was reported that Cuba and Venezuela agreed to start a joint
shipyard in Venezuela, the latest sign of strengthening economic ties between the Latin nations.
2005 May 13, A senior Chinese official met with
President Fidel Castro during a visit aimed at cementing political and economic ties between the two communist nations.
2005 May 21-2005 May 22, Some
160 delegates from Cuba’s opposition movement held an assembly in Havana without government interference.
(Econ, 5/28/05, p.40)
2005 Jun 19, Local Cuban media
reported that the communist government has revoked some 2,000 licenses from self-employed workers across the island, part of a campaign to reassert state control over the economy.
2005 Jun 23, UN human rights experts said they have reliable accounts of detainees being tortured at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
2005 Jun 28, Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a surprise visit to Venezuela for what he described on arrival as an ''historic encounter'' with his top ally, Pres. Hugo Chavez, and a 2-day summit with Caribbean leaders. This was his 4th trip to Venezuela since 1999 and his first outside of Cuba since late
2005 Jul 8, Hurricane Dennis slammed Cuba, sweeping away coastal homes and sending waves crashing
over Havana's seawall. At least 10 people were killed.
2005 Jul 10, Hurricane Dennis swamped homes, ripped off roofs and felled power lines and trees
when it hurtled into northwest Florida and Alabama with 120-mph (190-kph) winds. The storm left at least 16 dead in Haiti. Dennis killed at least 16 people in Cuba, damaged or destroyed 15,000 homes and caused an estimated $1.4 billion in property damage.
(Reuters, 7/11/05)(WSJ, 7/11/05, p.A1)(AP,
2005 Aug 6, Ibrahim Ferrer Planas, Cuban singer, died. In 1996 he recorded with Ry Cooder for the "Buena Vista Social Club" which was followed by his own solo album.
(Econ, 8/20/05, p.68)
2005 Aug 9, A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ordered a new trial after agreeing with defense attorneys who challenged the 2001 convictions five Cuban intelligence
agents. All five acknowledged being Cuban agents but said they were spying on "terrorist" exile groups opposed to Castro, not the U.S. government.
Aug 16, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman secured a deal for his state to export $17 million in agricultural goods to communist Cuba. The first US shipment of great northern beans to the island since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
2005 Aug 20, Cuba and Panama restored diplomatic ties, one year after they were broken off in a dispute sparked by the decision by Panama's previous president to pardon four Cuban exiles accused of trying to assassinate Cuban President Fidel
2005 Aug 20, In Cuba the Latin American School of Medical Science, created as a regional initiative in 1998 after two hurricanes devastated Caribbean and Central American nations, graduated its first
class of 1,500 students.
(AP, 8/21/05)(Econ, 1/27/07, p.35)
2005 Aug 21, A merchant vessel rescued 3 people north of Matanzas, Cuba, after 5 days at sea. No one else
was found. 31 people were believed killed in the Florida Straits in their attempt to reach the US.
2005 Sep 10, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
arrived in Cuba, criticizing the International Monetary Fund, even though the organization a day earlier deferred a decision for six months on whether to expel the African nation.
2005 Oct 13, At the Ibero-American Summit in Spain, foreign ministers from Latin America, Spain and Portugal backed Cuba on in two of its battles against the US, calling for an end to the US embargo and the expulsion from the U.S. of a Cuban militant wanted for a 1976 plane bombing.
2005 Oct 26, A group of woman who have held a weekly march the last two years to protest the Cuban government's jailing of their activist husbands were gratified to learn they will share the EU's top human rights prize,
something they hope will draw attention to their cause.
2005 Oct 31, Farmers brought California vegetables, North Carolina turkeys and Arkansas rice
to Cuba's annual trade fair, showing that Americans are still hungry for the communist country's market despite U.S. rules that make trade difficult.
Nov 2, In Florida 2 men pleaded guilty to organizing a Cuban smuggling trip that ended when their speedboat capsized and a 6-year-old boy drowned on Oct 12.
2005 Nov 23, Cuba announced a major increase in government salaries saying that it wanted to reward workers with high productivity and advanced university degrees.
2005 Nov 30, In Cuba Panama's President Martin Torrijos greeted dozens of his compatriots as they arrived in Havana for free eye operations, the latest sign of warming relations between the two countries.
2005 Dec 7, Some 25 American anti-war activists marched from the eastern Cuban city of Santiago toward the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay to protest treatment of terror suspects
2005 Dec 15, The US government denied permission to Cuba to participate in the inaugural World Baseball Classic to be held in March
(SFC, 12/15/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 16, Exploratory peace talks between Colombia and its second-largest rebel group began in Cuba with help from the Nobel
Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez and facilitators from Spain, Norway and Switzerland.
2005 Dec 22, Cuba announced it had turned a corner in
its recovery from severe financial crisis, reporting 11.8 percent growth in 2005 using its own method for calculating gross domestic product.
30, In Florida 87 Cubans reached shore in a series of landings that made police suspect smugglers.
(WSJ, 12/31/05, p.A1)
2005 Eric Saar and Viveca Novak authored
“Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier’s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantanamo.”
(Econ, 6/11/05, p.80)
2005 Cuba’s population reached 11.2 million.
2005 Venezuela’s government gave Cuba a contract to modernize Venezuela’s identity card system.
(Econ, 2/13/10, p.40)
2006 Jan 9, The US sent 15 migrants back to Cuba after officials concluded that the section of the partially collapsed bridge where they landed did not count as dry land under the government's policy because it was no longer connected to any of the
2006 Jan 18, President Fidel Castro announced a long-awaited renovation of Cuba's energy system to combat blackouts that have afflicted the
island nation for the past two summers.
2006 Jan 20, The US Treasury Department issued a license allowing the Cubans to participate in the 16-team
World Baseball Classic.
2006 Jan 24, Fidel Castro accused the US of seeking to rupture the minimum remaining diplomatic ties with his country,
addressing tens of thousands of Cubans before starting a march outside the American mission in Havana.
2006 Feb 3, Some 200,000 Cubans crowded
Revolution Plaza for a ceremony granting Hugo Chavez UNESCO's 2005 Jose Marti International Prize. President Castro himself handed over the framed certificate to Venezuela’s Pres. Chavez. UNESCO introduced the Marti prize in 1994 to recognize an individual or institution contributing to the unity and integration of countries of Latin America and the
2006 Feb 4, A three-day energy meeting in Mexico City wrapped up after moving to a Mexican-owned hotel. It was the first private-sector oil
summit between Cuba and the US. The meeting between Cuban officials and US energy executives was moved to another hotel after the Hotel Maria Isabel Sheraton asked the Cubans to leave. On Feb 6 Mexico launched an investigation into whether the US government pressured the American-owned hotel into expelling Cuban guests.
2006 Feb 27, US District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami ordered US federal officials to "use their best efforts" to help the Cubans return to the United States. Moreno wrote that "those Cuban refugees who reached American soil in
early January 2006 were removed to Cuba illegally."
2006 Mar 2, It was reported that Cuban academics hoping to attend a gathering of Latin America
experts in Puerto Rico had been denied visas by the American government, marking the latest in the current US administration's trend of shutting out Cubans.
Mar 10, Cuba said it will open embassies in four more Caribbean countries, a move that will give it a diplomatic presence in all 15 Caribbean Community nations.
2006 Mar 18, In Cuba the wives and mothers of about two dozen political prisoners marched along several of the city's main avenues, singing hymns and carrying signs reading "amnesty" to commemorate the third anniversary of the crackdown that put their husbands behind bars.
2006 Mar 24, A group of Cuban migrants who reached an abandoned bridge in the Florida Keys only to be sent back to Cuba received official confirmation from American officials that they can return to the US for good on humanitarian
2006 Apr 5, Cuban coast guard officials fatally shot a suspected migrant smuggler and arrested two others after confronting them in an apparent
operation to ferry 39 migrants out of the country on a US-registered speedboat. State television later said that the migrant smuggler who was fatally shot had left the island as a migrant himself three weeks earlier, but returned as a crew member on the same boat to repay a debt.
2006 Apr 10, Cuba and Venezuela signed agreements for a joint venture to revamp an unfinished Soviet-era refinery in Cuba and supply it with oil from Venezuela.
(WSJ, 4/12/06, p.A7)
2006 Apr 14, Cuba ordered the expulsion of a Czech diplomat, accusing him of spying for the United States. Stanislav Kazecky, who was in charge of political, cultural and media affairs for the Czech
embassy, was given 72 hours to leave.
2006 Apr 19, Cuba agreed to buy another $30 million in food from Nebraska, strengthening trade relations with the
US farm state already selling corn, wheat, soybeans and other products to the communist island.
2006 Apr 28, Representatives of the Colombian
government and that nation's second largest rebel group wrapped up four days of talks in Cuba without resolution, but agreed to meet again after their country's May 28 elections.
2006 Apr 29, Bolivia's new left-leaning president, Evo Morales, signed a pact with Cuba and Venezuela on rejecting US-backed free trade and promising a socialist version of regional commerce and cooperation. Bolivia became the 3rd member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).
(AP, 4/29/06)(Econ, 5/6/06, p.38)
2006 May 5, Forbes Magazine in an article titled, "Fortunes Of Kings, Queens And Dictators," put Fidel Castro in 7th place in a group of 10 world leaders with "lofty positions and vast
fortunes." The magazine estimated Castro's personal wealth to be $900 million, nearly double that of the $500 million of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and just under Prince Albert II of Monaco's estimated $1 billion. Forbes said it assumed Castro has economic control over a web of state-owned companies including a convention center, a retail conglomerate and an enterprise that sells Cuban-produced
pharmaceuticals. On May 15 Castro and Cuba’s Central Bank President Francisco Soberon denied the claims. Soberon said that all the money made from those companies is pumped back into the island's economy, into sectors including health, education, science, security, defense and solidarity projects with other countries.
2006 May 9, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia won seats on the new UN Human Rights Council despite their poor human rights records. Two rights abusers, Iran and Venezuela, were
2006 May 10, A Cuban pro-democracy activist presented a proposal for a new constitution with expanded freedoms for Cubans, calling for the
right to criticize the government and operate private businesses.
2006 May 19, The UN panel that monitors compliance with the world's anti-torture
treaty said the United States should close its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and avoid using secret detention facilities in the war on terror.
Jun 1, Bolivian doctors staged a 1-day strike to protest the presence of 600 Cuban physicians providing free care as Pres. Morales cultivates links to Castro.
(WSJ, 6/2/06, p.A1)
Jun 12, US officials said that the Cuban government had cut off electricity to the US diplomatic mission in Havana on June 5 and that requests for power to be restored have gone unanswered. Power was restored the next day.
2006 Jun 21, Juan Carlos Robinson Agramonte (49), a Communist official long held up as an example of Cuba’s future leadership, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for
2006 Jun 30, Cuban librarians criticized attempts by the Miami-Dade County school board to ban a children's book that presents a
positive depiction of life on the communist-run island.
2006 Jul 10, A US presidential commission urged Washington to spend $80 million to help
nongovernmental groups hasten change in Cuba, but some dissidents here said the move would do them more harm than good.
2006 Jul 31, Cuban President
Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power to his brother, Raul, after gastrointestinal surgery. In 2011 Fidel Castro said he resigned five years ago from all his official positions, including head of Cuba's Communist Party.
(AP, 7/31/07)(AP, 3/22/11)
2006 Aug 1, Fidel Castro remained out of sight after undergoing intestinal surgery and temporarily turning over power to his brother Raul. He released a statement in which he sought to reassure Cubans that his health was stable after intestinal
(AP, 8/1/06)(AP, 8/1/07)
2006 Aug 8, Gustavo Arcos Bergnes (79), who fought alongside Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution but was later imprisoned as a
dissident, died in Havana.
2006 Aug 13, On his 80th birthday, Fidel Castro cautioned Cubans that he faced a long recovery from surgery and advised them
to prepare for "adverse news," but he urged them to stay optimistic.
2006 Aug 14, Cuban state television aired the first video of Fidel Castro since he
stepped down as president to recover from surgery, showing the bedridden Cuban leader talking with his brother Raul as well as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Aug 28, Tropical Storm Ernesto hit Cuba west of the US naval air base at Guantanamo after killing 2 people in Haiti.
(AP, 8/28/06)(AP, 8/29/06)
Sep 8, The Miami Herald reported that 10 South Florida journalists, including three with the Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, received thousands of dollars from the federal government for their work on radio and TV programming aimed at undermining Fidel Castro's communist regime. The Herald fired 3 of the
2006 Sep 10, In Cuba leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of 116 developing nations began gathering for a 6-day summit (Sep 11-16).
NAM was founded in 1961.
2006 Sep 11, In Cuba a weeklong summit of the Nonaligned Movement began with poverty, health care and the Middle East at
the top of the agenda. It will culminate with the meeting of 50 heads of state, including anti-American leaders from Iran and Venezuela.
2006 Sep 15,
Cuba took over the leadership of the Nonaligned Movement from Malaysia, with Defense Minister Raul Castro standing in for his ailing brother Fidel.
Sep 16, In Cuba representatives of 118 Nonaligned Movement nations condemned Israel's attacks on Lebanon and supported a peaceful resolution to the US-Iran nuclear dispute in the final declaration.
Sep 16, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian PM Manmohan Singh held "historic" talks on the disputed Kashmir region, on the sidelines of a developing-world summit in Havana. They also agreed to restart peace talks suspended since train bombings killed more than 200 people in Mumbai in July.
(AFP, 9/16/06)(AP, 9/16/06)
2006 Sep 28, Russia agreed to grant Cuba credit worth $350 million and restructure some of its recent debt during a visit by PM Putin. The two countries also signed a military cooperation
2006 Nov 4, William Lee Brent (75), a Black Panther who hijacked a passenger jet to communist Cuba in 1969 and spent 37 years in exile, died
in Cuba. A decade ago, Times Books published his memoirs, "Long Time Gone," which told of his coming of age on Oakland's streets and of joining the Black Panthers when he was 37, rising to become a bodyguard for leader Eldridge Cleaver.
2006 Nov 8, The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to urge the United States to end its 45-year-old trade embargo against Cuba after defeating an amendment calling on Fidel Castro's government to free political prisoners and respect human
2006 Dec 6, Hector Palacios, a well-known dissident jailed in a Cuban government crackdown on the opposition three years ago, was unexpectedly
released from prison.
2006 Dec 15, Ten US legislators, the largest congressional delegation in years, arrived in Cuba to push for an end to over 4
decades of hostility.
(SFC, 12/16/06, p.A6)
2006 Dec 22, Cuban finance officials acknowledged in an unusually critical year-end report that the country's economy is
still suffering the affects of the severe crisis of the 1990s but nevertheless grew 12.5 percent in 2006.
2007 Jan 6, Cindy Sheehan, American "peace
mom," called for the closure of the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She and other activists arrived to draw attention to the nearly 400 terror suspects held at the remote site.
2007 Jan 10, Cuban dissident Manuel Valdes Tamayo (50) died. He was one of 75 activists jailed in a massive crackdown in 2003 and released a year later for health reasons.
2007 Feb 6, Church officials said The Episcopal Church has named a woman as bishop in Cuba, the first such appointment by the church in the developing world.
2007 Feb 8, Cuba deported reputed drug kingpin Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante to Colombia, which plans to extradite him to the United States to face trafficking and money laundering
2007 Feb 23, It was reported that Cuban press authorities have told certain Havana correspondents for the Chicago Tribune, the BBC and a major
Mexican newspaper that they can no longer report from the island.
2007 Feb 24, Mario Chanes de Armas (80), both companion and prisoner of Fidel Castro,
died in Miami. He had accompanied Castro in the 1956 revolutionary invasion of Cuba. Chanes de Armas was later arrested under “counter-revolution” charges and spent almost 30 years in prison at the Isle of Pines before receiving permission to leave for Miami.
2007 Feb 25, State news media reported that Cuba has opened an experimental wind farm, hoping alternative energy sources can one day ease occasional power shortages while reducing the island's dependence on
2007 Feb 28, Honduras named its first ambassador to Cuba in 45 years, completing the restoration of diplomatic ties with communist-run island that
were severed during the Cold War.
2007 Mar 27, In Cuba Faustino Oramas (95), a popular traditional singer and among the last original members of the
Buena Vista Social Club, died of cancer.
2007 Apr 6, In Florida US District Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled that Luis Posada Carriles could be released on
$250,000 bond. He is being held at the Otero County jail in New Mexico on charges he lied to immigration authorities in a bid to become a naturalized citizen. Posada, a former CIA operative, is wanted in Cuba in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people, a charge Posada denies. Castro has repeatedly accused the US government of protecting
2007 Apr 12, Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Cali to protest the bombing of the city's police barracks, blamed on
Colombia's largest leftist rebel group.
2007 Apr 13, An Austrian bank recently bought by a US-led consortium acknowledged it told a Cuban-born client
to take her business elsewhere and suggested that Washington's ban on commerce with Cuba was behind the decision.
2007 Apr 16, Most of Cuba's leading
opposition groups issued a joint statement declaring they were united in their struggle for peaceful change toward democracy on the island.
19, In Cuba the Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the Apr 13 arrest and sentencing of Oscar Sanchez Madan (44), an independent Cuban journalist, who wrote critical articles about dissident groups and the hardships of island life.
2007 Apr 19, Luis Posada Carriles (79), an anti-Castro exile wanted in Cuba for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, was freed from a New Mexico jail after he posted $250,000 bond and his family put up another $100,000. He must wear an electronic monitoring device while under house arrest at his wife's home in Miami pending his May 11 trial on immigration
fraud charges. Posada's immigration case was later thrown out by a federal judge, but the government appealed.
(AP, 4/20/07)(AP, 4/19/08)
2007 Apr 22, Jorge Luis
Garcia Perez, a veteran dissident leader who wrote a book about Cuban prison conditions while behind bars, was freed after serving his entire 17-year sentence.
Apr 28, President Hugo Chavez said that Venezuela is ready to become the sole energy supplier to Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Haiti, presenting the countries with his most generous offer yet of oil-funded diplomacy in the region.
2007 Apr, Yoani Sanchez (32) began posting her Generacion Y blog from Havana.
(WSJ, 12/22/07, p.A1)(www.desdecuba.com/generaciony)
2007 May 3, A pair of heavily armed Cuban soldiers seized a city bus, killed an army officer and triggered a gun battle in a foiled bid to hijack a charter flight bound for the United States.
2007 May 8, Cuba released Roberto de Jesus Guerra Perez, a journalist who served 22-months in prison for participating in an anti-government rally. Guerra has been a contributor to Miami's Payolibre and Nueva Prensa Cubana, as well as
the US government-funded Radio Marti.
2007 May 8, The US hired a Florida firm to build a Guantanamo camp by next May to house fleeing Cubans should there be an exodus when Castro
(WSJ, 5/9/07, p.A1)
2007 May 30, Cuba agreed to buy $118 million in US food products ranging from pork and corn to soybeans and Spam, and said it was
negotiating deals that could bring the total to nearly $150 million.
2007 Jun 1, Vietnam became Cuba's latest partner in oil exploration and drilling
in the Gulf of Mexico under one of several agreements signed during a visit by Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh.
2007 Jun 6, President
Hugo Chavez called for the creation of a common defense pact between Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia. The leftist Latin American bloc announced the creation of a development bank to finance joint projects.
2007 Jun 10, New Episcopal Bishop Nerva Cot Aguilera, the church's first female bishop in Cuba and the developing world, was consecrated at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Havana.
2007 Jun 11, Cuba's largest foreign investor, Canada’s Sherritt International Corp., saw business running smoothly under acting President Raul Castro and will push ahead with a $1.2 billion expansion in nickel mining, and oil and
2007 Jun 18, Vilma Espin Guillois (77), a guerrilla warrior and women's rights pioneer, died. She was the first lady of
the Cuban revolution and wife of acting Pres. Raul Castro.
2007 Jul 23, Fidel Castro suggested that a two-time Cuban Olympic boxing champion and his
teammate had defected, blaming their disappearance at the Pan American Games in Brazil on American money.
2007 Aug 5, Two boxers (Guillermo Rigondeaux
(25), Cuba's top boxer and a two-time Olympic bantamweight champion, and Erislandy Lara (24), an amateur welterweight world champion) deported by Brazil were back in Cuba after they disappeared during the Pan American Games last month and were arrested at a resort where officials said they partied and ran up an exorbitant bill.
2007 Oct 6, In eastern Cuba a bus collided with a train, killing at least 28 people and injuring another 73.
2007 Oct 21, Cubans opened an election cycle that will lead to a decision next year on whether ailing leader Fidel Castro will remain atop the communist-run island's supreme governing
2007 Oct 24, Pres. Bush denounced Castro’s regime and called on the Cuban people to shed his
(WSJ, 10/25/07, p.A1)
2007 Oct 26, The head of the Cuban national ballet implored American artists, writers and intellectuals to
denounce Washington's 45-year-old embargo against the communist-run island, saying that cultural exchanges between both countries should not be considered crimes.
Oct 30, The UN General Assembly voted for the 16th straight year to urge the United States to end its trade embargo against Cuba, whose foreign minister accused the US of stepping up its "brutal economic war" to new heights.
2007 Nov 15, Gen. Sergio del Valle Jimenez, a doctor in Fidel Castro's rebel army in the late 1950s and army chief of staff during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, died.
2007 Nov 23, In Cuba Robert Vesco (b.1935), a fugitive financier, died of lung cancer. He had been wanted in the US for crimes ranging from securities fraud and drug trafficking to political bribery. News of this death was not
publicly reported for another 5 months.
(SFC, 5/3/08, p.A6)(Econ, 5/31/08, p.91)
2007 Dec 3, In Cuba a human rights leader said that police have detained 29
anti-government activists in less than two weeks and seven remain jailed, including a man who called for the communist-run island to tolerate independent universities.
2007 Dec 10, Cuba said it would sign an international agreement on civil and political rights while a few blocks away government supporters shoved and shouted down activists calling for improved human rights on the communist-run island.
2007 Dec 21, Caribbean leaders gathered in Cuba for a regional oil summit. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez presided at a regional petroleum summit, pressing his efforts to counter US influence in Latin America and the Caribbean by
suggesting more of his neighbors could pay for cheap oil with goods or services in lieu of cash.
2008 Jan 7, Philip Agee (72), a former CIA agent who
became an outspoken critic of Washington's Cuba policy, died in a Havana hospital following ulcer surgery. Agee quit the CIA in 1969 after 12 years working mostly in Latin America at a time when leftist movements were gaining prominence and sympathizers. His 1975 book "Inside the Company: CIA Diary," cited alleged CIA misdeeds against leftists in the region that included a 22-page list of
purported agency operatives.
2008 Jan 15, Brazil signed accords with Cuba offering economic aid and sealed a deal to drill for oil off the island’s
coast. Brazil’s Pres. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Trade with businessmen in tow signed trade and investment deals totaling some $1 billion.
(WSJ, 1/16/08, p.A1)(Econ, 6/28/08, p.45)
Jan 20, Some 8.4 million Cubans ratified a slate of parliamentary candidates that included the ailing Fidel Castro (81).
(SFC, 1/21/08, p.A3)
Feb 4, Tata Guines (b.1930), Cuban conga drummer, died. His six decade career helped popularize Afro-Cuban rhythms worldwide.
2008 Feb 19, An ailing,
81-year-old Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when parliament meets Feb 24.
Feb 24, In Cuba Raul Castro became the new president. The island's parliament tapped revolutionary leader Jose Ramon Machado (77) for the government's No. 2 spot.
2008 Feb 28, Cuba's government signed two key international human rights treaties that Fidel Castro long opposed, but said it had reservations about some provisions and accused the United States of impeding the Cuban people's enjoyment of their rights.
2008 Mar 13, Cuba and Mexico declared their once-chilly relations fully restored, and Cuba's foreign minister said he will soon deliver a formal invitation for Mexico's president to visit the
2008 Mar 20, Cuba issued what appears to be the first public report on prices and inflation in the private sector, in an unusually realistic
acknowledgment of the key role the informal economy plays in island life.
2008 Mar 28, President Raul Castro's government said it is allowing cell
phones for ordinary Cubans, a luxury previously reserved for those who worked for foreign firms or held key posts with the communist-run state.
Mar 31, New President Raul Castro's government has lifted a ban on Cubans staying at hotels previously reserved for foreigners, ending another restriction that had been especially irksome to citizens.
2008 Apr 2, Cubans snapped up DVD players, motorbikes and pressure cookers for the first time as Raul Castro's new government loosened controls on consumer goods and invited private farmers to plant tobacco, coffee and other crops on unused state
2008 Apr 2, Norberto Collado Abreu, the helmsman of the Granma yacht that carried Fidel Castro from Mexico to Cuba to launch his revolution in 1956, died in
2008 Apr 11, In Cuba new regulations allowed thousands of Cubans to get title to state-owned homes, a step that might lay the groundwork for
broader housing reform.
2008 Apr 14, In Cuba lines stretched for blocks outside phone centers as the government allowed ordinary Cubans to sign up for
cellular phone service for the first time.
2008 Apr 17, A government spokesman said South Africa has waived Cuban debt totaling more
than 100 million dollars.
2008 Apr, According to the US Coast Guard 36 Cubans died at sea this month while attempting to reach the US. Some 3,846
Cubans had made the trip over the last 8 months with about 40% intercepted at sea.
(Econ, 6/14/08, p.50)
2008 May 1, Cuba announced a major shake-up of its troubled
farm sector on May Day, shifting control of the island's farms from officials at the Agriculture Ministry to more than 150 local councils.
2008 May 2,
In Cuba computers went on sale to the general public and potential consumers were lining up outside store windows to gawk and consider buying.
18, Cuban officials said they have documented proof that US officials on the island are delivering private funds to political dissidents in order to undermine the communist government.
2008 Jun 6, An official said Cuba has authorized sex-change operations and will offer them free for qualifying citizens.
Jun 13, Leonard B. Auerbach (61), an American fugitive, was deported from Cuba to face federal charges in California of sexually abusing a Costa Rican girl and possessing child pornography. He was arrested on May 7, about a month after his arrival.
2008 Jun 16, Smugglers fleeing from Cuba's Coast Guard overturned a boat loaded with US-bound migrants to distract pursuers, killing a woman and an 11-year-old boy. The smugglers, who were charging US$10,000 a head to take 20 people
to the United States, escaped in their speedboat after being surprised by the Coast Guard.
2008 Jun 19, The EU agreed to lift its 2003 diplomatic
sanctions against Cuba, but imposed tough conditions on the communist island to maintain sanction-free relations.
(AP, 6/20/08)(Econ, 6/28/08, p.44)
2008 Jun 24,
Cuba's Roman Catholic Church protested the communist government's growing support of gay rights, including a daylong event raising awareness against homophobia and a law allowing sex-change operations.
2008 Jul 11, President Raul Castro warned Cubans to prepare for a "realistic" brand of communism that is economically viable and does away with excessive state subsidies designed to promote equality on the island.
2008 Jul 18, Cuba’s Communist officials decreed that private farmers and cooperatives can use up to 100 acres (40 hectares) of idle government land, as President Raul Castro works to revive the floundering agricultural
2008 Aug 23, In Beijing Angel Matos, a Cuban taekwondo athlete, and his coach Leudis Gonzalez were banned for life after Matos kicked the
referee in the face following his bronze-medal match disqualification.
2008 Aug 24, The Beijing Olympics, played out against a background of political
intrigue and featuring 16 days of compelling and controversial action, drew to a spectacular close. China's haul of 51 gold medals was the largest since the Soviet Union won 55 in Seoul in 1988. The US won 36 gold medals and Russia came in 3rd with 23. Jamaica ended up with 11 medals including 6 gold. Cuba took home 24 medals, but only 2
(AP, 8/24/08)(Econ, 8/30/08, p.38)
2008 Aug 28, It was reported that Cuba had notified at least 2 foreign governments that it could not meet debt
(WSJ, 8/28/08, p.A8)
2008 Aug 30, Gustav swelled to a fearsome Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph (195 kph) as it shrieked toward the heartland of
Cuba's cigar industry on a track to hit the US Gulf Coast, three years after Hurricane Katrina. 78 people were already left dead in the Caribbean.
Aug 31, Cubans returned from shelters to find flooded homes and washed-out roads, but no deaths were reported after a monstrous Hurricane Gustav roared across the island and into the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico.
2008 Sep 6, Cuba politely declined a US offer to send a disaster assessment team to the island after Hurricane Gustav, saying it would rather Washington suspend restrictions on travel and the sale of food and other materials it needs to
2008 Sep 8, Deadly Hurricane Ike roared across Cuba, blowing buildings to rubble and sending waves surging over homes. Some 900,000 Cubans
evacuated from its path, which forecasters said could take it to Louisiana or Texas later this week.
2008 Sep 9, Hurricane Ike roared south of Havana,
Cuba, after tearing across the island nation, ravaging homes, killing at least four people and forcing 1.2 million to evacuate.
2008 Sep 10, Hurricane
Ike barreled across the warm, energizing waters of the Gulf of Mexico on its way toward the Texas coast after crashing through Cuba's tobacco country and toppling aging Havana buildings. Ike had already killed at least 80 people in the Caribbean.
2008 Sep 15, Cuba said hurricanes Gustav and Ike together delivered the worst hurricane-related blow in Cuba's storm-battered history, causing "around US$5 billion" in collective damage.
2008 Oct 20, Our Lady of Kazan, Cuba's first Russian Orthodox cathedral, was consecrated amid church bells and the presence of President Raul Castro, in a sign of goodwill toward the island's former chief benefactor. Cuba's Russian
community has dwindled to several hundred as most returned home following the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
2008 Oct 20, Mexico agreed to deport Cubans who sneak illegally through Mexican territory
to reach the US, a step toward cutting off an increasingly violent and heavily used human trafficking route. 21 prisoners died in a fight between inmates at a prison across the border from McAllen, Texas. Police said two soldiers and a security guard were found stabbed to death at a housing construction site in the village of Las Margaritas, northern Mexico. The body of a federal policeman was
found riddled with gunshot wounds in Tijuana.
2008 Oct 23, Cuba and the European Union ended a five-year standoff by signing an agreement that calls
for EU members to send the island euro2 million (US$2.6 million) in immediate hurricane recovery aid and up to euro30 million (US$38.8 million) more in financing next year.
2008 Oct 29, The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging the US to repeal its trade embargo against Cuba, and the island nation's foreign minister said he expects the next American president to respond positively.
2008 Oct 31, Brazil's state-run oil company signed an agreement to explore for oil in deep Caribbean waters north of Cuba that officials in Havana say could contain 20 billion barrels of
2008 Nov 9, Hurricane Paloma leveled hundreds of homes along Cuba's southern coast before rapidly losing steam over land, weakening from a
dangerous Category 4 storm into a tropical depression in less than a day.
2008 Nov 19, Chinese President Hu Jintao promised Cuba at least $78 million
in donations, credit and hurricane relief. Hu also met with a thin-looking Fidel Castro before leaving for the Asia-Pacific economic summit in Peru. China agreed to donate $8 million to Cuba and extend the second, $70 million phase of $350 million in previously agreed-upon credit to renovate Cuban hospitals.
2008 Nov 28, In Cuba Russia's president Medvedev met with Fidel Castro, discussing Guantanamo Bay and hopes for a multipolar world with Cuba's former leader during a tour of Latin America aimed at raising Moscow's presence in the
2008 Dec 13, Cuban President Raul Castro arrived in Venezuela on his first international visit as Cuba's
2008 Tom Gjelton, NPR correspondent, authored “Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba,” a history of Bacardi
(SFC, 9/9/08, p.E3)
2009 Jan 12, Cuba published new regulations encouraging classic car owners to apply for taxi licenses and set their own prices for the first
time in nearly a decade as the communist government turns to the free market to improve its woeful transportation system.
2009 Jan 28, Cuba’s President
Raul Castro began the first visit to Russia by a Cuban leader since the end of the Cold War, the latest sign of reviving ties between the two countries.
Jan 30, Russia moved to rebuild ties with Cold War ally Cuba, granting it loans and signing deals on energy and industrial cooperation.
Feb 9, In Cuba Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez (b.1933), considered the "heartbeat" of Cuba's legendary Buena Vista Social Club for his internationally acclaimed bass playing, died of complications from prostate surgery.
2009 Feb 11, Officials in Uruguay said a Cuban long-distance runner and track coach have disappeared and apparently intend to defect. Aguelmis Rojas and Rafael Diaz had arrived in January on a sports exchange program in Maldonado.
2009 Mar 2, Cuban President Raul Castro's ousted powerful officials close to his brother Fidel in the biggest government shakeup since he took power a year
2009 Mar 11, Pres. Obama signed a bill rolling back the Bush administration restrictions on Cuban Americans visiting relatives in
(SFC, 3/12/09, p.A8)
2009 Mar 18, Costa Rica said it will re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba, and El Salvador's new president-elect, Mauricio Funes,
promised to do the same after he takes office.
2009 Mar 31, The US Government Accountability Office released a report saying 4 countries designated a
terrorism sponsors received $55 million from a US supported program promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation program. Between 1997 and 2007 Iran received over $15 million, $14 million went to Syria, while Sudan and Cuba received over $11 million each.
2009 Apr 7, Cuba’s President Raul Castro met with six visiting members of the Congressional Black Caucus for more than four hours, his first face-to-face discussions with US leaders since he became president last year. A "very healthy,
very energetic" Fidel Castro asked visiting Congressional Black Caucus members what Cuba could do to help President Barack Obama improve bilateral relations during his first meeting with US officials since falling ill in 2006.
(AP, 4/7/09)(AP, 4/8/09)
2009 Apr 8, The US Justice Dept. filed terrorism-related charges against Luis Posada Carriles (81), a prominent Cuban exile wanted by the Castro government for involvement in several 1997 hotel bombings in Cuba.
2009 Apr 13, Pres. Obama eased curbs on Cuba travel and money transfers. A broader economic embargo introduced by Pres. Kennedy in 1962 remained in
(WSJ, 4/13/09, p.A1)
2009 Apr 15, In Washington, DC, the FBI arrested Walter Kendall Myers (72) and his wife, Gwendolyn (71), for spying. For three decades,
Myers and his wife had shuffled secrets to their Cuban contacts. Kendall Myers first worked for the State Department as a lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute and later as a European analyst in the department's intelligence arm, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, from 2000 until his retirement in October 2007. On Nov 20 Myers and his wife pleaded guilty to serving as covert agents
since 1979. Myers agreed to serve life in prison and his wife agreed to serve 6-7½ years.
(AP, 6/6/09)(SFC, 11/21/09, p.A4)
2009 Apr 29, In Cuba a
statement published in state newspapers said that effective midnight, flights from Cuba to Mexico would be grounded due to swine flu. After that, airlines can fly presumably empty planes to the island and pickup Mexico travels. This amended a blanket 48-hour ban on flights between Mexico and Cuba announced a day earlier.
2009 May 6, Spanish authorities said they have arrested 29 people suspected of forging credit cards to finance an elaborate scheme to smuggle Cubans into the US from
2009 May 12, The US won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the first time along with Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia, four countries
accused of serious human rights violations.
(SFC, 5/13/09, p.A2)
2009 May 16, In Cuba President Raul Castro's daughter led hundreds of Cuban gays in a street dance
to draw attention to gay rights on the island.
2009 May 29, Cuba criticized Microsoft for blocking its Messenger instant messaging service on the
island and in other countries under US sanctions, calling it yet another example of Washington's "harsh" treatment of Havana.
2009 May 30, Cuba agreed
to resume negotiations with the US over immigration and mail service between the two countries. Cuba also expressed a willingness to cooperate with the US on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, and on hurricane disaster preparedness.
2009 Jun 1, In El Salvador Mauricio Funes, a journalist from a party of former Marxist guerrillas, became the country's first leftist president, immediately restoring ties with Cuba while promising to remain friendly with the United States.
2009 Jun 3, The Organization of American States (OAS), meeting in Honduras, cleared the way for Cuba's possible return to the group by lifting a 1962 ban on the communist-run country, a move backed by Washington
despite initial objections.
2009 Jun 8, Cuba formally rejected an offer to rejoin the Organization of American States (OAS), echoing the sentiments of
Fidel Castro who has long maintained his island has no use for the group.
2009 Jul 13, In Cuba the body of Rev. Mariano Arroyo Merino (74) was
discovered in his room at the parish he served in the coastal neighborhood of Regla, situated on Havana Bay across from the capital. Authorities were still investigating the death of another Spanish priest, the Rev. Eduardo de la Fuente Serrano, whose body was found in a remote, sparsely populated area just outside the capital in
2009 Jul 15, In Egypt the two-day Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) opened in Sharm-El-Sheik. 50 leaders from the 118-nation grouping of mostly
of African, Asian and Latin American nations gathered for their 15th meeting to address the world's biggest problems, such as terrorism and financial instability. Cuba's Pres. Raul Castro called for an international financial system that better takes into account developing countries interests.
2009 Jul 29, Cuban state media said Russia and Cuba have signed agreements to search for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Moscow extended the island $150 million in credit for construction materials and farm
2009 Jul 31, Cuba suspended plans for a Communist Party congress and lowered its 2009 economic growth projection from 2.5% to 1.7%, as the
island's economy struggled through a "very serious" crisis.
2009 Aug 1, Raul Castro announced that Cuba will cut spending on education and health care,
potentially weakening the building blocks of its communist system in a bid to revive a foundering economy.
2009 Aug 10, In Cuba 14 people were killed
and at least 33 hospitalized after two trucks loaded with passengers collided in the central Cuban province of Ciego de Avila.
2009 Aug 25, New Mexico
Gov. Bill Richardson met with Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's parliament, as well as members of the island's chamber of commerce as he headed a trade mission there this week.
2009 Sep 11, In Cuba Juan Almeida Bosque (b.1927), a comrade-in-arms of Fidel Castro since the start of his guerrilla struggle more than a half-century ago, died of a heart attack. Almeida was the only black commander among the rebel leaders.
2009 Sep 20, Cubans in their multitudes flocked to sprawling Revolution Plaza for a massive open-air "peace concert" headlined by Colombian rocker Juanes, an event criticized by some Cuban-Americans who say the performers are lending
support to the island's communist government simply by showing up.
2009 Sep 21, Bisa Williams, senior US diplomat in Cuba for the highest level talks
in decades, met with opposition activists in Havana. Williams led a delegation with the USPS that held talks September 17 in a first round of talks aimed at restarting bilateral mail service which was cut off in 1963.
2009 Oct 12, Yoani Sanchez, a Cuban blogger, was denied government permission to travel to New York to receive a top journalism prize. She has become an international sensation for offering frank criticism of her country's communist
system. In May Cuban authorities had denied Sanchez permission to fly to Madrid to accept the Ortega y Gasset Prize in digital journalism for creating her Generation Y blog (2007), which gets more than 1 million hits a month. Around the same time, Time magazine deemed Sanchez one of the world's 100 most influential people.
2009 Nov 6, In Cuba Yoani Sanchez, acclaimed dissident blogger, was forced into an unmarked car, beaten, threatened and dumped onto a street..
(Econ, 11/21/09, p.40)
2009 Nov 20, In Cuba Reinaldo Escobar, the husband of acclaimed dissident Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez, was punched and shouted down by a pro-government mob after he challenged the presumed state
agents who earlier roughed up his wife, to a street corner debate.
2009 Dec 3, In Cuba activists from 32 little-known organizations opposed to the
communist government issued a call for an end to social repression on the island at a gathering in the home of a prominent human rights activist.
Dec 11, Mexico's foreign minister met with Cuban President Raul Castro for three hours, the latest sign her country and the island have repaired recently chilly relations.
2009 Dec 12, It was reported that Cuba has detained an American government contractor and accused him of distributing cell phones, laptops and other communications equipment to political opposition groups on the island.
2009 Juanita Castro 76 authored "Fidel and Raul, My Brothers, the Secret History." It was co-written with Mexican journalist Maria Antonieta Collins. From 1961-1964 she collaborated with the US CIA against her brothers' rule before going
into exile in Miami.
2009 Max Marambio authored, "Las Armas de Ayer" (The Weapons of Yesteryear), which Fidel Castro praised in one of his frequent opinion pieces. Marambio was the former head bodyguard of
Chilean socialist President Salvador Allende, who was toppled in a 1973 military coup. Marambio sought refuge in Cuba after the coup and took part in secret military missions before becoming one of Cuba's wealthiest business leaders.
2010 Jan 19, In Cuba Mariela Castro, the daughter of pres. Raul Castro and head of the Center for Sex Education, said Cuba has begun performing state-sponsored sex-change operations. The government had lifted a longtime ban on the procedure in
(SFC, 1/20/10, p.A2)
2010 Jan, In Cuba a cold spell left 26 patients dead at the Havana Psychiatric Hospital. On Jan 31, 2011, over a dozen employees and
officials at the hospital were convicted of negligence and sentenced from 5 to 15 years in prison.
(SFC, 2/1/11, p.A2)
2010 Feb 1, It was reported that Cuba has
declared a two-month amnesty for citizens to register unlicensed guns. Starting Feb. 12, Cubans will have the "exceptional and one-time only" chance to register their guns with police, and will be allowed to keep them provided they are over 18 and have passed the proper tests administered at police stations.
2010 Feb 23, In Cuba Orlando Zapata Tamayo (42), an opposition political activist imprisoned since 2003, died after a lengthy hunger strike. His 3 year prison sentence for disrespecting authority had been lengthened to 25 years, in
part because of his political activism while behind bars. The next day Cuban President Raul Castro issued an unprecedented statement of regret over the death of Tamayo.
(AP, 2/24/10)(AP, 2/24/10)
2010 Mar 9, In Switzerland a senior Google executive welcomed a US decision to relax restrictions on exporting Internet communications services to Iran, Sudan and Cuba.
2010 Mar 17, Uniformed Cuban security agents prevented the mothers and wives of dissidents from marching on the outskirts of Havana to demand release of their loved ones, shoving them into a bus when they lay down in the street in protest.
2010 Apr 1, In Cuba some small state-run barber shops and beauty salons were turned over to employees on a trial basis, a significant step toward loosening strict controls on the state-run retail
(SFC, 4/14/10, p.A2)
2010 Apr 13, A top Chilean executive, Roberto Baudrand (59), was found dead in his Havana apartment after being detained by Cuban
authorities investigating his company, which is owned by a revolutionary-turned-businessman and friend of Fidel Castro. Baudrand was general manager of Alimentos Rio Zaza SA and served as point man in Cuba for business leader Max Marambio.
2010 Apr 15, In Cuba historian Esteban Morales posted an article on a state Web site saying corruption at the highest levels of government posed the greatest threat to Cuba’s communist government.
2010 Apr 17, Cuban tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina (b.1919), an international symbol of the island's cigar-making prowess, died.
2010 Apr 19, Winners of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prizes, known as the "green Nobels," were honored in San Francisco. Sereivathana Tuy of Cambodia won for his efforts in stopping farmers from killing elephants. Randall Arauz of
Costa Rica won for his campaign to halt the maiming and killing of sharks for their fins. Humberto Rios Labrada (47) of Cuba won for his campaign to shift farming practices toward increasing diversity and reducing chemical use. Malgorzata Gorska of Poland won for her fight to stop a highway through the Rospuda Valley, one of Poland’s last vestiges of untouched wilderness. Thuli Makama of
Swaziland won for her efforts in getting citizen participation on the Swaziland board in charge of the environment. She helped prompt investigations into allegations of private park rangers killing suspected poachers in sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarchy. Lynn Henning of the USA won for exposing polluting practices of livestock ranches in
(AP, 4/19/10)(SFC, 4/19/10, p.A1)
2010 Apr 25, Cuba held elections to fill municipal assemblies across the island in a vote the communist government says
belies criticism in Washington and Europe that Fidel Castro's half-century old revolution is not democratic.
2010 May 1, Cuba quietly began requiring
foreign tourists and Cubans who live overseas to hold travel insurance approved by island authorities, while making those who don't have coverage buy a local policy that can cost over $3 a day.
2010 May 2, Cuba allowed a small group of dissidents to hold a protest march after the country's top Roman Catholic clergyman negotiated with authorities, ending three straight weeks of ugly confrontations.
2010 May 5, Cuba reported its worst sugar harvest since 1905.
(SFC, 5/6/10, p.A2)
2010 May 15, In Cuba hundreds of gay and lesbian activists, some dressed in drag and others sporting multicolored flags representing sexual diversity, marched and danced through the streets of Havana along with the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro as part of a celebration aimed at eliminating
homophobia around the world.
2010 May 16, In Cuba the government said private farmers will purchase supplies directly in future instead of having them
allocated by the state, in the latest concession to their demands for more autonomy.
2010 Jun 3, Cuba urged people to save water amid what it is
calling a "critical" and "tense" drought that has left reservoirs at 40 percent capacity.
2010 Jun 11, Roman Catholic leaders announced that Cuban
authorities have agreed to free Ariel Sigler, an ill political prisoner, and transfer six others to jails nearer home, the latest in a rare series of concessions from a government not known for its tolerance of dissent.
2010 Jun 28, In Cuba President Bashar Assad of Syria sat down with Raul Castro as part of his first tour of Latin America, a trip that is taking him to meetings with many of the region's left-leaning governments.
2010 Jun 30, Amnesty International released a report saying Cuba uses repressive laws, a well-oiled state security apparatus and complicit courts to stifle political dissent as it harasses, spies on and imprisons those who openly
oppose its communist system.
2010 Jul 1, Francisco Chavez Abarca of El Salvador, was arrested in Venezuela, traveling on a false passport, and quickly
flown to Cuba to face charges in a 1990s bombing campaign. On Sep 27 Abarca said on state TV that he was hired to plant bombs by Luis Posada Carriles, an 80-year-old anti-Castro militant and former CIA operative.
2010 Jul 6, Venezuela announced plans to extradite a Salvadoran man wanted by Cuba as a suspect in a series of bombings. Cuba believes Chavez Abarca placed an explosive that damaged a hotel disco on April 2, 1997, and another bomb later that month that failed to explode on the 15th floor of the same
hotel. Cuban officials also suspect him in a 1997 bombing of a Cuban government office.
2010 Jul 7, Cuba promised the Roman Catholic Church it will free
52 political prisoners, slashing the number held by nearly a third in what would be the communist-led island's largest release of dissidents since Pope John Paul II visited in 1998.
2010 Jul 8, Cuban opposition activist Guillermo Farinas ended his 134-day hunger strike, following signs the communist government is making good on its promise to release 52 political prisoners. The court also reduced Manuel Contreras' life sentence to just 20 years in prison, reflecting a compromise between the right and left over how to punish "dirty war"
2010 Jul 10, Cuban church officials released the names of 12 more political prisoners who will be freed and sent into exile in the coming days
under a landmark agreement with President Raul Castro's government, bringing to 17 the total number of jailed dissidents who have accepted asylum in Spain.
Jul 13, Seven former political prisoners from Cuba smiled and gave victory signs after they and their families arrived in Madrid, the first of 52 dissidents the Cuban government has promised to free in a historic policy shift.
2010 Jul 16, Kendall Myers (73), a retired US intelligence analyst and great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, was sentenced to life in prison for spying for Cuba. His wife was sentenced to 5½ years.
2010 Jul 18, Spain said 9 more Cuban political prisoners will fly this week to freedom in Madrid along with around 50 of their relatives.
2010 Aug 1, President Raul Castro said more Cubans will be allowed to work for themselves and hire their own workers as the government tries to create more productive
2010 Aug 23, President Raul Castro ordered Max Marambio, a Chilean businessman, to return to Cuba for questioning about bribery and
fraud at Rio Zaza, which was shut down earlier this year. For years the company had enjoyed a near monopoly on sales of packaged fruit juice and milk. Marambio declined the offer.
(Econ, 8/28/10, p.29)
2010 Aug, In Cuba Manuel Garcia, the public face of the Cuban cigar industry, was jailed for masterminding graft on a grand scale.
(Econ, 4/30/11, p.40)
2010 Sep 7, The Rev. Lucius Walker (b.1930) died of a heart attack in New York. He headed the nonprofit Pastors for Peace, which since 1992 has brought tons of supplies to Cuba via Mexico and Canada in defiance of Washington's nearly half-century-old trade embargo.
2010 Sep 13, The Cuban Workers Federation said Cuba will lay off more than 500,000 state employees by March and expand private employment to give them work in the biggest shift to the private sector since the
2010 Sep 17, Cuba's Roman Catholic Church revealed the names of four more political prisoners to be released into exile in Spain, bringing
to 36 the number freed and sent off the island under an agreement with President Raul Castro's government.
2010 Oct 4, A Cuban human rights leader
revealed the names of nine inmates apparently offered early release by the government in exchange for accepting exile, including some convicted of violent crimes such as hijacking, assault and piracy.
2010 Oct 6, In Cuba a resolution from the Foreign Relations Ministry was published into law making the guayabera Cuba's official formal dress garment and mandating that government officials wear them at state functions.
2010 Oct 9, It was reported that Cuba will release into exile in Spain a lawyer jailed for allegedly revealing state security secrets and two hijackers, none of whom were on a list of 52 political prisoners the government has agreed
to free in a deal with the Roman Catholic Church.
2010 Oct 21, In Cuba the office of Havana Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega announced the names of
five more Cuban inmates who have accepted exile in Spain in return for freedom, though none are among a group of 52 political prisoners jailed in a 2003 roundup of dissidents.
2010 Oct 21, The European
Parliament awarded its annual human rights prize to Guillermo Farinas (48), the Cuban dissident whose 134-day hunger strike helped draw attention to the plight of political dissidents jailed in a 2003 crackdown on dissent.
2010 Oct 26, The Czech Republic became the second European Union country after Spain to grant asylum to a Cuban political prisoner. Jimenez Posada, a lawyer, arrived with his wife, brother, son and niece. He was arrested in 2003 and received a 12-year prison term three years later for
2010 Oct 26, The UN General Assembly voted 187-2 to end US sanctions against Cuba. Only the US and Israel voted in favor.
(SFC, 10/27/10, p.A2)
2010 Nov 1, In Cuba Roman Catholic officials announced the names of three more Cuban prisoners who have accepted exile in Spain in return for
2010 Nov 3, Cuban President Raul Castro joined an American archbishop and other Roman Catholic leaders to open a national seminary on the
outskirts Havana, the first religious construction on the communist-run island in more than a half century.
2010 Nov 4, In Cuba all 68 people on board
an Flight 883 of Aero Caribbean were killed when their plane crashed in the central mountains after issuing an emergency call. The plane was a 15-year-old ATR-72-212 twin turboprop built by ATR, a joint venture of Europe's EADS and Italian group Finmeccanica.
2010 Nov 7, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Cuban television that Colombia will extradite Walid Makled, known as "The Turk," a businessman accused of being a major drug kingpin back to his native Venezuela to face justice.
Makled has said in a television interview that he poured $2 million into a 2007 Chavez political campaign and in return got a concession at Venezuela's Puerto Cabello, his alleged shipping point for drugs.
2010 Nov 13, In Cuba the first of 13 remaining Cuban dissidents jailed since 2003 was released from prison and returned to his home in the capital, a strong signal the government intends to release all of the men despite their refusal to go into
2010 Dec 6, Cuba’s Supreme Court, for the second time this month, commuted the death sentence of a Salvadoran man convicted of plotting a
series of Havana hotel bombings in 1997, leaving just one person left on the island's death row. Otto Rene Rodriguez Llerena's sentence was reduced to 30 years in prison.
2010 Dec 8, South African President Jacob Zuma announced a 210 million rand ($30 million) credit package for Cuba and forgave Cuba's debt to South Africa during a state visit to the island nation, a decision his opponents criticized.
2010 Dec 14, EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said that Guillermo Farinas, whose 134-day hunger strike helped draw attention to the plight of Cuban political dissidents, would be represented by an empty chair at the midweek
ceremony to award the Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought.
2010 Dec 15, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas (48) used a video address at today’s
award of the EU's main human rights prize, to call for the release of political prisoners in his homeland and for the government to end attacks on the opposition. Farinas was not allowed by Cuba to travel to receive the prize in Strasbourg, France.
2010 Dec 18, Cuban President Raul Castro told legislators that the future of the country's revolution is at stake as the government tries to institute sweeping economic reforms, adding that the changes are meant to strengthen
socialism — not replace it.
2010 Dec 21, In Cuba Francisco Chavez Abarca of El Salvador was handed a 30-year prison sentence for his role in a string
of bombings at tourist hotels in the 1990s. The bombings killed an Italian tourist in 1997.
2010 Dec 28, Cuba's Supreme Court commuted the death
sentence against a Cuban-American who was the last person remaining on death row in the island nation. The court sentenced Humberto Eladio Real to 30 years in prison instead. On Oct. 15, 1994, Real and six other members of a Florida-based exile group came ashore in northern Cuba, armed with assault rifles and other weapons. A man was killed, and the group was captured shortly
2010 Dec 29, Cuba’s official Gazette said that effective January 1, personal cleanliness products will be cut from ration books that
islanders have come to rely on as part of a small supply of basic goods.
(SFC, 12/30/10, p.A2)
2011 Jan 14, US Pres. Obama issued a directive relaxing the rules on
travel and remittances to Cuba. It allowed Americans to send up to $2000 a year to ordinary Cubans.
(Econ, 1/22/11, p.47)
2011 Jan 21, Cuba suspended indefinitely
all mail service to the United States, extending a ban announced in November and expanding it to cover letters as well as packages. Deliveries were suspended in November following a US decision to increase security measures following last year's failed terror threat involving packages mailed from Yemen.
2011 Feb 4, Cuba freed Guido Sigler, a prominent political prisoner, and the Roman Catholic Church said another, Angel Moya, would be released soon and allowed to stay in the
2011 Feb 8, Cuban officials celebrated the arrival of a 1,600km fiber optic cable from Venezuela, whose government put up the $70 million cost.
It was expected to become operational this summer.
(SFC, 2/10/11, p.A2)(Econ, 3/5/11, p.42)(http://tinyurl.com/4zgampd)
2011 Feb 11, Cuba agreed to release 2
prominent dissidents who have refused for months to accept exile in Spain. Hector Maseda and Angel Moya said they wanted to remain in jail until other opposition leaders were freed and other demands were met. Jail officials the next day simply tossed the men out, saying they could no longer stay behind bars.
2011 Mar 8, The US government gave permission to eight more airports to offer direct charter flights to and from Cuba in the latest small opening in the 49-year-long trade embargo against the communist
2011 Mar 11, One of Cuba's leading dissidents, Oscar Elias Biscet (49), was freed from prison. He vowed to keep protesting against the
government that had just released him. He was one of 52 who had been jailed since a 2003 government crackdown on opponents known as Cuba's "Black Spring" that strained the communist-led island's international relations.
2011 Mar 12, A Cuban court found US contractor Alan Gross guilty of crimes against the state and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, a verdict that brought a swift and strongly worded condemnation from Washington.
2011 Mar 23, Cuba released the last two of 75 dissidents jailed in a 2003 crackdown, closing a controversial chapter in the long battle between the island's communist-led government and its
2011 Mar 28, Former US President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba to discuss economic policies and ways to improve Washington-Havana
2011 Mar 29, In Cuba former US President Jimmy Carter and President Raul Castro discussed US-Cuba relations in a meeting in which Castro
repeated an offer to hold talks with the United States on any issue.
2011 Mar 30, Cuban state media said the government has authorized state banks
to offer credit to farmers and small-business owners.
(SFC, 3/31/11, p.A2)
2011 Mar 30, Former President Jimmy Carter left Cuba without gaining the release of Alan Gross, a US government contractor jailed the past 16
2011 Apr 7, Spain said around 30 former Cuban political prisoners and 200 relatives will be brought to Madrid, the largest group yet to arrive
since the two countries agreed to the transfers.
2011 Apr 8, A total of 37 Cuban ex-political prisoners and more than 200 relatives arrived in Madrid in
the largest and last such exodus since Spain started accepting dissidents last summer.
2011 Apr 16, Cuba kicked off a crucial 4-day Communist Party
congress with a big military and civilian parade to mark 50 years since the defeat of CIA-backed exiles at the Bay of Pigs. Pres. Raul Castro (79) proposed term limits for Cuba's leaders, admitted that errors have left the country with no obvious successor and promised to rejuvenate the island's political class.
2011 Apr 18, Cuban delegates at a Communist Party summit approved about 313 “guidelines” for economic reforms in a unanimous vote, including a measure that apparently recommends the legalization the buying and selling of
(AP, 4/19/11)(Econ, 3/24/12, SR p.3)
2011 Apr 19, Cuban delegates to a key Party Congress picked Raul Castro (79) to replace his ailing brother at
the helm, while weathered veterans moved up to the No. 2 and 3 positions. Raul acknowledged the lack of fresh faces, saying the country had failed to develop young leaders because of errors committed in the past.
2011 May 1, Hundreds of thousands of Cubans marched through Havana and other cities to mark May Day.
2011 May 5, A Cuban court sentenced Chilean revolutionary-turned-businessman Max Marambio, long a friend of Fidel Castro, to 20 years in prison for fraud and bribery following a trial in absentia. Communist Party newspaper Granma also said a 15-year sentence was handed down to Alejandro Roca Iglesias,
who was removed as food minister in March 2009.
2011 May 8, Cuban dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto (46) died in Santa Clara. He was detained May 5 during an
anti-government protest. Government opponents accused police of beating him and provoking his death. A medical examiner and relatives of a late Cuban dissident later concluded that Soto died of natural causes and showed no signs of being beaten.
2011 May 14, Cubans held a short but colorful parade celebrating sexual diversity to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.
2011 Jun 10, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had surgery in Cuba for an abscess in his pelvis. A government spokesperson said the operation was successful and he would remain in Cuba for several more days, while he
2011 Jul 15, Cuban authorities shut down Canadian firm Tri-Star Caribbean and
arrested company president Sarkis Yacoubian. The company, considered a competitor of Tokmakjian Group, did around $30 million in business with Cuba. Ontario-based Tokmakjian Group, one of the top Canadian companies doing business on the communist-run island, was shut down in September.
2011 Aug 8, Cuban state media reported that Cuba and Angola, long-standing allies, have boosted military cooperation during a visit to the communist-run Caribbean island by Angolan defense
2011 Aug 13, In Cuba a gay man and a woman whose sex-change operation was paid for by the state were married in
(SSFC, 8/14/11, p.A5)
2011 Aug 22, Cuba succeeded North Korea as chair of the world's main forum against nuclear arms that has been stalemated since it wrote
the nuclear test ban treaty in 1996. The leadership role rotates through the body's members alphabetically (in French).
2011 Sep 3, Cuba’s Gen. Julio
Casas Regueiro (b.1936), the defense minister since 2008, died. The former accountant fought in Cuba's revolution, then used his training to run the military's lucrative economic enterprises for two decades before becoming defense minister.
2011 Sep 28, Cuba legalized the sale and purchase of automobiles for all citizens.
(SFC, 9/29/11, p.A2)
2011 Sep 29, Cuba announced the elimination of its Ministry of Sugar in a sign of how far the symbolic crop has fallen since its heyday.
2011 Oct 7, Rene Gonzalez (55), a dual US-Cuban citizen, left a federal lockup in the Florida Panhandle. He was the first member of a Cuban spy ring to walk free from prison in the US after spending 13 years behind bars.
2011 Oct 11, In Cuba Amado Fakhre, a British citizen and head of the Coral Capital investment fund, was detained by security agents. His company owned Havana’s poshest hotel in partnership with the government and hoped to win a $400
million contract to build homes around a golf course.
(Econ, 11/12/11, p.46)
2011 Oct 14, Cuban dissident Laura Pollan (63) died. She had founded the
opposition group Ladies in White in 2003 following the arrest of her husband. For nearly a decade the group staged weekly protest marches with other wives of political prisoners to press for their release.
(AP, 10/14/11)(Econ, 10/29/11, p.110)
2011 Dec 23, Cuba's supreme governing body pardoned 2,900 prisoners, including some convicted of political crimes, though no mention was made of Alan Gross, a jailed American whose case has become a sticking point between Havana and
2011 Dec 24, A boat carrying Haitian migrants sank off Cuba's eastern coast. 38 migrants were killed and 87 others rescued by Cuban civil
2012 Jan 1, In Cuba Rene Cobas, a common criminal not jailed for political reasons, died of an apparent heart attack in the Boniato
prison near Santiago. He had launched a hunger strike because he was not part of a large prison amnesty.
2012 Jan 11, Cuba and Iran highlighted the
"right of all nations to the peaceful use of nuclear energy" during a visit by Iranian Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the communist-ruled island. Ahmadinejad slammed capitalism as bankrupt and called for a new world order.
2012 Jan 17, In Cuba a decaying residential building collapsed in a densely packed area of Havana, killing three people and injuring six.
2012 Jan 19, In Cuba Wilman Villar (31), an imprisoned dissident who went on a hunger strike to protest his four-year sentence, died of pneumonia in the eastern city of Santiago. His widow acknowledged on Jan 30 that his legal troubles stemmed from a domestic violence incident and that he aligned
himself with the opposition only after he was detained for that.
(AP, 1/19/12)(AP, 1/30/12)
2012 Jan 27, Cuba convicted six people of cutting down African mahogany
trees in the National Botanical Gardens and sentenced them to eight and 10 years in prison.
2012 Jan 29, Cuba’s Communist leaders ended a 2-day
closed-door party conference. They vowed not to cede any ground to "the enemy," pledged to fight corruption and continue overhauling the island's listing Marxist economy with an injection of free market reform. Raul Castro reiterated a pledge to institute term limits for Cuban officials.
(AP, 1/29/12)(SFC, 1/30/12,
2012 Feb 3, In Cuba Fidel Castro (85) spent six hours presenting a two-volume memoir to an audience at a Havana convention center. His two-tome memoir, "Guerrilla of Time," fills nearly 1,000 pages and covers Castro's life from childhood
until December 1958, the eve of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. It is based on interviews with journalist Katiuska Blanco.
2012 Feb 23, Fifteen
Cuban migrants were rescued and one died after the group tried to swim to two tiny islands just west of Puerto Rico. The migrants had jumped into the water as federal agents and Dominican Navy officers approached a makeshift boat that had departed from the Dominican Republic.
2012 Feb 25, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba for urgent surgery to remove a tumor he says is probably malignant.
2012 Feb 28, Cuban doctors successfully extracted a tumor from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's pelvic region and he was stable and recovering with family at his side.
2012 Mar 15, Cuban police evicted 13 dissidents from a church they had been occupying for two days demanding that Pope Benedict XVI air a list of grievances during his upcoming trip to the island. Cuba’s
Cardinal Jaime Ortega called for the ouster.
(AP, 3/15/12)(SFC, 3/17/12, p.A2)
2012 Mar 23, Pope Benedict XVI departed for Mexico as part of a pilgrimage that will
also take him to Cuba. He denounced the drug-fueled violence wracking Mexico and urged Cubans to use dialogue to find new models to replace Marxism.
Mar 25, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was in Cuba to begin radiation therapy treatment one month after undergoing surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.
2012 Mar 26, Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Santiago, Cuba, in the footsteps of his more famous predecessor, gently pressing the island's longtime communist leaders to push through "legitimate" reforms their people desire, while also criticizing the excesses of capitalism.
2012 Mar 28, In Cuba tens of thousands of people massed in Havana's Revolution Plaza for Pope Benedict XVI's Mass on the final day of his visit. The Pope demanded more freedom for the Catholic Church in Cuba and preached against
"fanaticism" in an unusually political sermon. Shortly after the Mass, Benedict met for about half an hour with Fidel Castro.
2012 Mar 31, Cuba said it
will honor an appeal by Pope Benedict XVI and declared next week's Good Friday a holiday for the first time since the early days following the island's 1959 Revolution, though a decision on whether the move will be permanent will have to wait.
2012 Mar 31, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez traveled to Cuba for another round of cancer treatment.
2012 Apr 6,
In Cuba Good Friday was an official holiday for the first time in a half century, but few Roman Catholics on the island seemed to be using the day off to attend Mass. The Communist government declared the holiday to honor a request that Pope Benedict XVI made during last week's visit.
2012 May 18, Spanish company Repsol said an exploratory oil well off the northern coast of Cuba has proved a failure and will be capped and abandoned, a disappointment for a cash-strapped nation hoping for an economic
2012 Jun 9, In Cuba Garcia Perez was beaten and arrested by police after testifying about opposition harassment before a US Senate committee
via a video hookup from the US Interest section in Havana.
(SFC, 6/14/12, p.A5)
2012 Jul 5, China pledged financial aid to Cuba as it undertakes historic economic
reforms, promising visiting President Raul Castro a new credit line as well as help in health care and technology. During Raul Castro's four-day visit to China he met President Hu Jintao and secured pledges from Beijing for financial aid, among other measures, to help the country in sectors such as technology and healthcare.
(AFP, 7/5/12)(AFP, 7/8/12)
2012 Jul 8, In Vietnam Cuban President Raul Castro met with state leaders following a visit to China, as Havana looks to old communist allies while it attempts to push through historic economic
2012 Jul 11, Cuban public health officials said confirmed cholera cases have risen from 85 to 110, with the worst hit area in the province of
Granma. Cholera had been eradicated in Cuba over 100 years ago. Haiti was suspected as the source of the new outbreak.
(SFC, 7/12/12, p.A2)(Econ, 7/14/12, p.32)
Jul 22, Cuban activist Oswaldo Paya (60) died in a car crash in La Gavina. Fellow activist, Harold Cepero Escalante, was also killed. Paya had spent decades speaking out against the communist government of Fidel and Raul Castro and became one of the most powerful voices of dissent against their half-century rule. Cuba later charged Angel Carromero, a Spanish citizen and the driver of the car,
with homicide while driving a vehicle on public roads. On Dec 14 Spain's Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that Carromero would be returning to Spain to complete his 4-year sentence, but did not give an exact date.
(AP, 7/23/12)(AP, 7/31/12)(AP,
2012 Jul 26, Cuban President Raul Castro said that his government is willing to mend fences with bitter Cold War foe the United States and sit down to discuss anything, as long as it is a conversation between
2012 Aug 21, Cuba said it has sentenced 12 people to prison for corruption, including high-ranking government officials and employees of a
jointly run Cuban-Canadian nickel operation.
2012 Sep 3, Cuba raised import duties on cargo shipments, as well as on many bulk goods brought in by
airline passengers. The steep hike in customs duties took effect, catching many air travelers unaware and leaving some shocked at the new fees.
8, Another prisoner died at the US Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was apparently found unconscious in his cell at the isolated, high-security prison. He was the ninth detainee to die at the facility since it was opened in January 2002. He was identified on Sep 11 as Adnan Latif of Yemen, a man with a history of mental illness who battled guards inside the prison and challenged his
confinement all the way to the Supreme Court. An autopsy revealed that Latif died from an overdose of psychiatric medication.
(AP, 9/10/12)(AP, 9/11/12)(AP, 11/29/12)
Sep 9, In Cuba an evening blackout cut the lights in much of western Cuba, including the capital Havana. Power was restored by the next day.
Oct 6, Cuban authorities released noted blogger Yoani Sanchez more than a day after she was taken into custody near the eastern city of Bayamo, where she traveled for a Spanish man's trial over a car crash that killed another prominent dissident.
2012 Oct 16, The Cuban government announced that it will no longer require islanders to apply for an exit visa, eliminating a much-loathed bureaucratic procedure that has been a major impediment for many seeking to travel overseas.
Effective Jan. 13, and beginning on that date islanders will only have to show their passport and a visa from the country they are traveling to.
Oct 25, Hurricane Sandy crossed mountainous eastern Cuba as a Category 2 storm. 11 people were killed in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces as its howling winds and rain toppled houses and ripped off roofs. About 30% of Cuba’s coffee crop was reportedly lost.
(AP, 10/25/12)(AP, 10/26/12)(Econ, 11/3/12,
2012 Oct 26, In Cuba Eloy Gutierrez-Menoyo (b.1934)), a moderate, pro-dialogue dissident, died. He went from rebel commander fighting alongside Fidel Castro to a foe launching commando raids against the island before settling inside
Cuba. Gutierrez-Menoyo spent 22 years in Cuban prisons, losing vision in one eye and hearing in one ear. He was freed in 1986.
2012 Nov 3, Cuba
denounced the American diplomatic mission on the island for what it called subversive activities designed to undermine the government of Raul Castro. US officials acknowledged that the US Interests Section in Havana does regularly offer free courses in using the Internet to Cubans who want to sign up.
2012 Nov 13, The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the US commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba for the 21st year in a row. The final tally was 188-3, with Israel and Palau joining the United
2012 Nov 19, In Cuba the rebel former seminarian known as Ivan Marquez and government representative Humberto de la Calle, a sage veteran of
Colombian politics, sat down in Havana to negotiate in earnest an end Colombia's stubborn five-decade-old conflict. Their talks were inaugurated in Norway last month.
2012 Dec 11, Cuba formally authorized the creation of the first non-agricultural cooperatives, a measure expected to permit the growth of midsize businesses as part of President Raul Castro's plan to open the economy to some liberalization.
2012 Dec 11, Doctors in Cuba operated on Venezuelan President Hugo for cancer, after the illness reappeared despite a year and a half of surgeries and treatments.
2013 Jan 7, An island doctor said Cuba is eliminating longstanding restrictions on health care professionals' overseas travel as part of a broader migration reform that takes effect next
2013 Jan 14, In Cuba long lines formed outside travel agencies, migration offices and the US Interests Section in Havana on the first day of a new
law easing travel restrictions on Cubans.
2013 Jan 14, Cuba reportedly began using the ALBA-1 cable to Venezuela, but only for incoming traffic. Outgoing data still travelled via satellite, according to an
Internet analysis firm.
(SFC, 1/22/13, p.A2)
2013 Jan 15, Cuba's Public Health Ministry acknowledged 51 new cases of cholera in Havana amid growing concerns about
the illness' spread and disappointment in the diplomatic community over the government's lack of transparency.
2013 Jan 28, In Santiago, Chile, Cuban
Pres. Raul Castro assumed the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
(SFC, 1/29/13, p.A2)
Subject = Cuba
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