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Time Line I: 1492 - 1900

AfroCuban History: a Time Line II
1900 - the present

Here we continue with the time line of Cuban history from Part I, which covers 1492 to 1899.

1901 Platt Amendment to Cuba's new constitution gives the U.S. the unilateral right to intervene in the island's internal political affairs as well as the right to oversee Cuba's international commitments and  economy and to establish a naval base in Guantanamo Bay.
1902 May 20. U.S.-supported Tomás Estrada Palma is elected president, and the Cuban flag is finally allowed to fly over Havana.

Estrada's government launches a campaign against cultural expressions of African origins, especially Abakuá and Congo. Estrada was educated in the US and is considered to have been an annexationist.
1906 After electing himself to an unprecedented and very unpopular second term, president Tomás Estrada Palma invokes the Platt amendment and asks the U.S. to intervene. He later resigns.

September 29. U.S. Secretary of War, William Howard Taft, heads a provisional government of Cuba.

October 13. American citizen Charles Magoon replaces Secretary of War Taft as head of the provisional government of Cuba. The U.S. military openly rules "independent" Cuba for more than two years. On two additional occasions, in 1912 and 1917, U.S. military forces take control of the Cuban government in order to "protect American interests."

Blanceamiento: active efforts made to bring in more European immigrants in order to offset large black Cuban populations.
1908 The first independent black political party in the hemisphere, the Partido Independiente de Color, is founded in Havana by Evaristo Estenoz, Pedro Ivonet, the black journalist Gregorio Surín, and a group of followers.

José Miguel Gómez is elected President.

1909 January 28. The second U.S. military occupation of Cuba ends.

The AfroCuban integrationist Martin Morúa Delgado is elected speaker of the Cuban Senate. He later helps make the Partido Independiente de Color illegal.
1910 AfroCuban Martin Morúa Delgado proposes a law, the Morúa Amendment, which bans the Independiente de Color as a political party because it is said to be based on race.  He argued that since African born Cubans had been given citizenship and could vote, racial privileges had disappeared and a party based on color was unconstitutional: the Cuban myth of racial equality comes to the fore!  He was supported in this by the miguelista newpaper El Triunfo which initiated the strong anti-black line that the Independientes were rapists favoring a Haitian style revolution.

Death of AfroCuban Martin Morúa Delgado days after being named minister of agriculture. In the midst of the repression of the Partido Independiente de Color, he is given a state funeral to show blacks that those who are integrationists are acceptable.

Widespread repression of blacks, even those not in the Independientes de Color, but for example in the Sociedades de Color. Purge of blacks from security forces.

1912 "The Little Black War" - a pogrom of los Independientes de ColorEvaristo Estenoz is killed. The Cuban Army, deployed by President Miguel Gomez after an intense demonization campaign carried out by the plantocracy media, massacres upwards of 12,000, including party leaders, across Cuba.  Precisely Marti's son, José Francisco Martí y Zayas-Bazán, who had been a captain in the Mambi Army, turns on his comrades and leads a band of vigilante "volunteers" to exterminate them.  AfroCuban culture and religion as well as political aspirations are all severely repressed. After the massacre, the government and big business holds a celebratory banquet in Central Park, Havana, which is presided over by Marti's son and attended by many of the troops involved.. The event was rarely spoken of again until Aline Helg's book and Gloria Rolando's film opened up the discussion in recent years.

US Marines garrison 26 towns and guard railroads in Oriente, freeing Cuban troops to pursue their genocide.
1919     Captain Joshua Cockburn piloted the Black Star steamer "FREDERICK DOUGLAS", into Sagua La Grande, Las Villas, before continuing to Havana in early December 1919.
1921     Marcus Garvey arrived in Cuba in March, along with HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS, and JOHN SIDNEY DE BOURG (UNIA’s international organizers).
1924 Dictator Gerardo Machado is elected thanks to a half a million dollars campaign contribution from the US-owned electric company. Machado became Cuba's first real dictator, ruling by means of martial law, torture and assassination.
1925 Julio Antonio Mella founds the Cuban Communist Party and serves as its first Secretary General. AfroCubans such as Carlos Balino, Lazaro Pena and Blas Roca rise to the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party and the labor movement in Cuba. Inocencia Valdés, "La Niñita," a former Mambi fighter and union organizer, joins its ranks.
1927     Fifty (50) Cuban chapters’ are registered with Marcus Garvey's UNIA parent body in New York, U.S.A, the most chapters outside Jamaica.
1929 Julio Antonio Mella is assassinated in 1929 by agents of Machado in Mexico City.  He had been arrested on a trumped up bomb plot in Cuba, jailed and then exiled to Mexico.
1933 August 9. President Machado resigns after a general strike closes down the city of Havana and then spreads throughout the island. US ambassador Summer Welles (known to Cubans as "eso-me-huele" or "something smells bad") replaces Machado with conservative Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the son of Cuba's legendary leader and described by Cubans as a man having "the backbone of a lettuce leaf". Several days later, the unity of students and workers forged by Communist Party General Secretary Julio Antonio Mella, aided by rank and file soldiers, deposes Cespedes and installs Dr. Grau San Martin, a professor at the University of Havana, as president of the Republic.  Grau's partner, Antonio Guiteras, is credited with keeping this government together.

This government lasts 100 days, but engineers profound changes in Cuban society. It nullifies the Platt Amendment (except for the Guantanamo naval base lease) and sets up an 8-hour working day, establishes a Department of Labor, opens the university to the poor, grants peasants the right to the land they are farming, gives women the right to vote, and reduces the electric rates by 40 percent. Roosevelt's adviser, Sumner Welles, calls these changes "communistic" and "irresponsible."  The U.S. government does not recognize the Grau-Guiteras government.  US President Franklin Roosevelt, who thought of Grau as a "communist", orders Summer Welles to have Grau removed from power.

Meyer Lansky, from Byelorussia and New York, meets with a sergeant named Fulgencio Batista, and they forge a friendship and business relationship that lasts three decades. Batista also forms a relationship with Sumner Welles who encourages his political ambition.

September 4.  Grau, a liberal, ruling Cuba for only 120 days, falls victim to an army plot (the Revolt of the Sergeants) hatched by Seargeant Batista. Batista personally rules Cuba, intermittently or under stooges, on behalf of US interests until January 1, 1959.

1934 January 14. Guiteras announces the nationalization of American-owned Electric Bond and Share Company. It is his last governmental act.

January 15. Batista, with the blessing of the US, forces the resignation of the Grau-Guiteras government.

January 20. The U.S. government recognizes the Batista-installed government.

May 29. Cuba and the U.S. sign the "Treaty on Relations," which eliminates the Platt Amendment but allows the U.S. to continue leasing Guantanamo Bay.

1935 May 8. While preparing to leave Cuba and organize an armed invasion, Guiteras is killed by the army.
1936 Civil war breaks out in Spain. Around one thousand Cubans fight with the International Brigades to defend Spanish democracy.  Those familiar with that period in Spain can be heard to say, upon visiting Cuba, "But here, the other side won!"  There is a certain cultural continuity between both sides of the Spanish Civil War and Havana and Miami.
1940 The Constitution of 1940 is established by a national assembly that includes Blas Roca, a young shoemaker who helped found the Communist Party and organize the Revolution of 1933. The document strikes a balance between the rich and the working class, it protects individual and social rights, supports full employment and a minimum wage, extends social security, calls for equal pay for equal work and outlaws the huge plantations known as latifundias.   It is a remarkably progressive document considering the times.

General Batista is elected as Cuba's fourteenth president.

1943 Batista legalizes Cuba's Communist Party, established in 1925.
1946 Famed mobster Lucky Luciano calls a summit in Havana. Attendees at the Hotel Nacional meeting include: Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Tommy Lucchese, Vito Genovese, Joe Bonanno, Santo Trafficante Jr. and Moe Dalitz. Among the topics discussed is the assasination of Bugsy Siegel. Frank Sinatra makes his singing debut in Havana.

The West Indian Welfare Society formally founded, after decades of informal activity.  This self help organization has its roots in the Caribbean immigration into Cuba early this century and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996. Their headquarters in Guantanamo still has a poster featuring Marcus Garvey on its wall.

1947 May 15. The Cuban People's Party (Partido Del Pueblo Cubano) is formed. It becomes known as the Orthodox Party (Partido Ortodoxo).
1948 June 1. Carlos Prío Socarrás is elected president.  He and his people are later involved in the Lake Ponchartrain training camp outside of New Orleans in the early 60's.
1952 March 10. Batista personally takes power in a coup.
March 27. Washington recognizes Batista's government.
1953 July 26. Fidel Castro leads a revolt in which 100 men and women attack the Moncada army barracks near Santiago de Cuba. The attack is a failure and Castro is arrested. Most of his men are tortured and killed, but he is saved thanks to the actions of an AfroCuban lieutenant, Pedro Sarria.

October 16. At his defense trial Castro delivers a historic statement that ends with the phrase "la historia me absolverá" (history will absolve me). He is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

1955 May 15. Castro and the revolutionaries are released from prison in a general amnesty.

June 24. Castro leaves for Mexico.

1956 December 2. On a 60-foot yacht named "Granma," 81 men, under the leadership of Castro, set sail for Cuba and land in the province of Oriente. But poor communications between the expeditionaries and the Cuban underground, bad weather and government knowledge of their arrival prompts a counterattack by Batista's forces. The majority of the revolutionaries are killed or captured, but a few escape to the Sierra Maestra, including the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida, Calixto García and a handful of others.
  January 14. The war opens with a successful rebel attack on a small army garrison at the mouth of the La Plata River.

March 13. Student leader José Echeverría and a small group take over a radio station in Havana. He is machine-gunned to death while retreating to the university.

May 28. The first major battle of the war is a rebel attack on the El Uvero garrison, in a small town south of the Sierra Maestra range. "For us," writes Guevara, "it was a victory that meant that our guerrillas had reached full maturity. From this moment on, our morale increased enourmously, our determination and hope for victory also increased, and though the months that followed were a hard test, we now had the key to the secet of how to beat the enemy."

July 30. Chief of police, Colonel José Salas Cañizares guns down Frank País, a 23-year-old leader of the July-26-Movement and a Castro ally. Almost the entire city of Santiago comes out for the funeral, and the crowds are too large for the police to control. The city closes down for three days.

September. Members of the July-26-Movement in Cienfuegos attack the naval police headquarters and the garrison of the Rural Guards.

October. Ex-president of the Cuban Medical Association, Dr. Augusto Fernandez Conde, denouces the atrocities of the Batista regime at the World Medical Association meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

A weekly news magazine, Revista Carteles, reports that twenty members of the Batista government own numbered Swiss bank accounts, each with deposits of more than $1 million.

American firms make profits of $77 million from their Cuban investments, while employing little more than 1 percent of the country's population.

By the late 1950’s, American capital control:

90% of Cuba’s mines
80% of its public utilities
50% of its railways
40% of its sugar production
25% of its bank deposits

1958 Early in the year Batista receives $1,000,000 in military aid from the U.S. All of Batista's arms, planes tanks, ships, and military supplies come from the U.S., and his army is trained by a joint mission of the three branches of the U.S. armed forces.

February 24. On the 63rd anniversary of the beginning of Martí's War of Independence, Radio Rebelde begins transmission from "the free territory of Cuba."

March 1. Raúl Castro leaves the Sierra Maestra with a column of sixty-seven men to open a second front in the mountains north of Santiago-the Sierra Cristal.

In March, forty-five civic institutions sign an open letter supporting the July-26-Movement, including the national organizations of lawyers, architects, public accountants, dentists, electrical engineers, social workers, professors, and veterinarians.

Mid July. The Battle of Jigüe begins. It lasts about ten days.

Among the first moves by the Revolutionaries upon coming down from the Sierra Maestra is to shut down all the sociedades de color, which had actually experienced some slight advances under mixed race Batista. This is due to the Republican ideals Cuba inherited from the French, where only citizenship matters and ethnic identities are repressed, saved for the dominant one.

October 31. U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his wife dine with the Cuban Ambassador at the Cuban Embassy in Washington to commemorate Teddy Roosevelt, who had prevented the largely black Cuban Liberation Army from entering Santiago in 1898.

December 10. Hotel Riviera opens. It costs $14 million, most of it supplied by the Cuban government for Meyer Lansky. The floor show in the Copa Room is headlined by Ginger Rogers. Lansky complains that Rogers "can wiggle her ass, but she can't sing a goddam note."

An estimated 11,500 Cuban women earn their living as prostitutes by the end of 1958.

1959 January 1: the Revolution triumphs against Batista, a corrupt dictator allied to the Mafia.  Batista is mixed race and uses this to play against the revolutionaries, claiming they will harm blacks.  However, formal segregation only ends in Cuba after his departure.

The largely white Cuban exiles start flooding into Miami, where they carry out an ethnic cleansing of what had been vibrant and successful Black and Bahamian communities.
1960 Reynaldo Peñalber, an AfroCuban journalist at Prensa Latina, arranges a meeting between Castro and Malcom X.
1961 African American journalist William Worthy travels to Cuba without State Department endorsement and without a passport. In October he is charged and convicted for violating federal law that prohibits a citizen from leaving or entering the U.S. without a valid passport. On Feb 20, 1964, the conviction is overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals which declares the law unconstitutional.

Robert F. Williams, later the first president of the Republic of New Afrika, takes refuge in Cuba after fleeing trumped up charges in North Carolina.  He founds Radio Free Dixie, which broadcasts across the South, and returns to the US in 1969, after Mao makes this a precondition for resuming China US relations.

April 17 - Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron

1963 Socialization of agriculture, the Cuban government takes over 70% of agricultural lands
1965 Creation of the Comunist Party Central Comittee.
1967 Che Gueverra killed in Bolivia.  CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, who spent most of his career working with George Bush, is in on the kill. He later manages the Coca-Contra resupply effort out of Ilo Pango airport, el Salvador.
1968 From MacArthur Causeway in Miami, pediatrician Orlando Bosch fires a bazooka at a Polish freighter. City of Miami later declares "Orlando Bosch Day." Bosch goes on to shoot down a Cubana airline in 1976, killing all 73 passengers on board.
1974 September 11. OMEGA 7, an anti-Castro terrorist group, is founded in the U.S

November. Assistant Secretary of State William Rogers and Assistant to the Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger conduct secret normalization talks with Cuban officials in Washington and New York. The talks end over Cuban involvement in Angola.

Exile leader José Elias de la Torriente murdered in his Coral Gables home after failing to carry out a planned invasion of Cuba.

Bomb blast guts the Miami office of Spanish-language magazine Replica. Several small Cuban businesses, citing threats, stop selling Replica.

1975 "In January 1975, leaders of the three [Angolan] movements met under Portuguese arbitration and signed the Alvor Accord in which they agreed to compete peacefully in elections that would be held in October. November 11 was fixed as the anticipated date of independence. Within a week, the National Security Council met in Washington D.C. and allocated $300,000 for the [Holden Roberto's] FNLA's use in the political campaign. The FNLA had sufficient arms from the Chinese and from Zaire and a record of bloody violence against the Portuguese and the MPLA. The CIA station chief in Kinshasa urged Roberto to move his FNLA forces inside Angola. His men went in armed and soon attacked and killed a team of MPLA organizers. At that moment the Alvor Accord was effectively sabotaged and the fate of Angola sealed in blood." - The Praetorian Guard by John Stockwell

Luciano Nieves murdered in Miami after advocating peaceful coexistence with Cuba. Another bomb damages Replica's office.

1976 Holden Roberto's FNLA defeated by the MPLA.  Roberto spends the next 15 years in exile, mostly in Miami and Washington, DC. where he is sometimes accompanied by Carlos Moore.

October 6. Cuban airliner crashes after an explosion near Barbados, killing 78 people, most of them teenagers. Luis Posada Carrilles, an anti-Castro activist trained by the CIA, and Orlando Bosch are charged with the bombing. In 1998, Carrilles admits to (and later denies) over a decade of anti-Castro terrorist activities funded by the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), a Miami-based non-profit organization and the most powerful lobby in Washington, headed by Jorge Mas Canosa until he died in 1997.

Car bomb in Miami blows off legs of WQBA-AM news director Emilio Milian after he publicly condemns exile violence.

1977 "In May 1977 [FRANK] STURGIS told an FBI source he is now associated with "Afro-Cuban Committee" to train men in Angola and Zaire. In June 1977 STURGIS flew to England and conferred with individuals interested in overthrowing the pro-Castro Government of Angola. In August 1977 source of Miami Field Office of Domestic Collection Division met with STURGIS on June 5, 1977, regarding plans to establish Cuban Government in exile on Angolan soil "with the help of Holden Roberto (FNLA)." [STURGIS Chronology assembled by Fonzi]" Frank Sturgis was one of the Watergate burglars and was also CIA chief of staff in Angola at the time.
1978 February 27. U.S. Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, states that he does not foresee the normalization of relations with Cuba due to the presence of Cuban troops in Africa.
1979 Bomb discovered at Miami's Padron Cigars, whose owner helped negotiate release of 3600 Cuban political prisoners.  Later this year, bomb explodes at Padron Cigars.
1980 April. 10,000 Cubans storm the Peruvian embassy in Havana seeking political asylum. A flotilla of refugees begins an exodus from the port of Mariel to the U.S. The Mariel Boatlift continues on until September, and brings about 125,000 new refugees, more of whom are AfroCubans than was the case with earlier exiles. who were almost all of Spanish Cuban origin.

September 11. An attache of the Cuban Mission to the United Nations is assassinated by anti-Castro terrorists.

Another bomb explodes at Padron Cigars. Powerful anti-personnel bomb discovered in Miami at American Airways Charter, which arranges flights to Cuba.

1980s Over 300,000 Haitians come to Cuba, fleeing the Haiti dictatorship, whose economic base relies in no small part on drug trafficking.  Cuba accepts and helps the Haitian refugees: there is no turning back of Haitian boats as is the case with the US Coast Guard. See Haiti in Cuba.
1981 January. Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as U.S. president, and institutes the most hostile policy against Cuba since the invasion at Bay of Pigs. The U.S. announces a tightening of the embargo.

Jorge Mas Canosa founds the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), which quickly becomes the most influential proponent of a hard-line policy against Cuba and is heavily funded by the Reagan administration.

Bomb explodes at Miami's Mexican Consulate on Brickell Avenue in protest of relations with Cuba. Replica's Miami office again damaged by a bomb.

1982 Two outlets of Miami's Hispania Interamericana, which ships medicine to Cuba, attacked by gunfire.  Bomb explodes at Venezuelan Consulate in downtown Miami in protest of relations with Cuba. Bomb discovered at Nicaraguan Consulate.

Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre defends $10,000 grant to exile commando group Alpha 66 by noting that the organization "has never been accused of terrorist activities inside the United States."
1983 Miami: another bomb explodes at Padron Cigars. Bomb explodes at Miami's Paradise International, which arranges travel to Cuba. Bomb explodes at Miami's Little Havana office of Continental National Bank, one of whose executives, Bernardo Benes, helped negotiate release of 3600 Cuban political prisoners.

Miami City Commissioner Demetrio Perez seeks to honor exile terrorist Juan Felipe de la Cruz, accidentally killed while assembling a bomb. (In 2000, Perez is a member of the Miami-Dade County Public School Board and owner of the Lincoln-Martí private school where Elian Gonzalez was briefly enrolled.)
1987-88 Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. The Angolan government and the Namibian Liberation Movement (SWAPO) are threatened with destruction by a strong UNITA offensive supported directly by large numbers of well armed South African troops. The Cuban government rapidly raises its troop level in Angola from 35,000 to 50,000 men and acquires air superiority over the South Africans. The combined Cuban/Angolan/SWAPO forces defeats the South African/UNITA invaders. The victory at Cuito Cuanavale allows Cuba and the Angolan government to negotiate two favorable treaties in December 1988, leading directly to the liberation of Namibia and indirectly to the liberation of South Africa. Cubans are justifiably proud of this achievement, largely unknown and unheralded in the US.
1987 Bombs away in Miami. Bomb explodes at Cuba Envios, which ships packages to Cuba. Bomb explodes at Almacen El Español, which ships packages to Cuba. Bomb explodes at Cubanacan, which ships packages to Cuba. Car belonging to Bay of Pigs veteran is firebombed. Bomb explodes at Machi Viajes a Cuba, which arranges travel to Cuba.  Bomb explodes outside Va Cuba, which ships packages to Cuba.
1988 The Miami Mafia is still a little excited! Bomb explodes at Miami Cuba, which ships medical supplies to Cuba. Bomb threat against Iberia Airlines in protest of Spain's relations with Cuba. Bomb explodes outside Cuban Museum of Art and Culture after auction of paintings by Cuban artists. Bomb explodes outside home of Maria Cristina Herrera, organizer of a conference on U.S.-Cuba relations. Bomb threat against WQBA-AM after commentator denounces Herrera bombing. Bomb threat at local office of Immigration and Naturalization Service in protest of terrorist Orlando Bosch being jailed. Bomb explodes near home of Griselda Hidalgo, advocate of unrestricted travel to Cuba. Bomb damages Bele Cuba Express, which ships packages to Cuba.
1989 Miami: another bomb discovered at Almacen El Español, which ships packages to Cuba. Two bombs explode at Miami's Marazul Charters, which arranges travel to Cuba.
1991 Soviet troops leave Cuba.

December. The Soviet Union disbands, ending economic subsidies worth about $6 billion annually.

1992 January. Email link between Cuba and Canada is established.

February 5. U.S. Congressman Robert Torricelli introduces the Cuban Democracy Act, and says the bill is designed to "wreak havoc on the island."

Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) mounts campaign against the Miami Herald, whose executives then receive death threats and whose newsracks are defaced and smeared with feces. Americas Watch releases report stating that hard-line Miami exiles have created an environment in which "moderation can be a dangerous position." 

1993 January 7. At a news conference, former Black Panther turned anti-Castroite Tony Bryant, leader of "Comandos L", announces plans for more raids against targets in Cuba, especially hotels. He warns tourists to stay off the island, adding that, "From this point on, we're at war. The Neutrality Act doesn't exist."   Bryant later quits the Commando L, asserting they are irremediably racist.

August 14. Cuba ends criminal penalties for the use of dollars.

Miami: inflamed by Radio Mambí commentator Armando Perez-Roura, Cuban exiles physically assault demonstrators lawfully protesting against U.S. embargo. Two police officers injured, sixteen arrests made. Miami City Commissioner Miriam Alonso then seeks to silence anti-embargo demonstrators: "We have to look at the legalities of whether the City of Miami can prevent them from expressing themselves."

1994 July 13. 41 people drown in international waters outside of Cuba when two tugboats run into each other trying to leave the island.   Cuban authorities are accused of intentionally sinking the ships in order to put a stop to the theft of state property to support travel to the US.

August. Following Castro’s declaration of an open migration policy, a new boatlift begins when 30,000 refugees set sail from Cuba as economic conditions continue to deteriorate. A "picketline" established by the U.S. Coast Guard prevents additional seaborne migrations.

September 9. Migration agreement reached between U.S. and Cuba, allowing for a minimum of 20,000 immigrants per year.

Human Rights Watch/Americas Group issues report stating that Miami exiles do not tolerate dissident opinions, that Spanish-language radio promotes aggression, and that local government leaders refuse to denounce acts of intimidation.

1995 January 12. InterNIC grants CENIAI (The National Center for Automated Exchange of Information) a Class B internet address (allowing Cuba to join the internet).

May 2. Immigration agreement reaffirmed by Cuba and the U.S., providing for the direct return of rafters to the island.

October. The United Nations general assembly recommends an end to the embargo by a vote of 117 to 3 (38 abstentions). Only Israel and Uzbekistan join the U.S. in saying no. Since then, each time the vote comes up at the UN, the number of nations voting against the embargo increases.

1996 January. Cubaweb, the official Cuban web site, debutes on the World Wide Web.

January 9 and 13. Planes belonging to "Brothers To The Rescue" fly over downtown Havana at low altitude dropping leafletts calling on the Cuban people to opose their government.

January 15. "Brothers To The Rescue" pilot (Jose Basulto) is interviewed on Radio Martí (a station owned and operated by the U.S. government) and acknowledges that he had flown that mission over Havana and would do it again.

January 15. The Cuban government decides to crack down on exile groups such as "Consilio Cubano" and "Brothers To The Rescue." The Cuban government tries to persuade the U.S. government to curb the action by the exiles, and issues loud warnings (including an official diplomatic note to the U.S. government) that exile planes violating Cuban air space will be shot down.

January 16. Jose Casin, a commentator on Radio Martí, dares the Cuban military to shoot down the planes, adding they are unable to respond in time to the fly-overs.

February 24. Cuban MiGs shoots down two airplanes belonging to the anti-Castro organization "Brothers To The Rescue," resulting in the death of four exiles.

March 12. President Clinton signs the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act (also known as the Helms-Burton Act) which imposes penalties on foreign companies doing business in Cuba, permits U.S. citizens to sue foreign investors who make use of American-owned property seized by the Cuban government, and denies entry into the U.S. to such foreign investors.

March 21-24.  West Indian Welfare Society celebrates its 50th anniversary.

November 12. By a vote of 137 to 3, the United Nations General Assembly recommends, for the fifth consecutive year, that the U.S. end the embargo against Cuba.

Miami Music promoter receives threatening calls, cancels local appearance of Cuba's La Orquesta Aragon. Patrons attending Miami concert by Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba physically assaulted by 200 exile protesters. Transportation for exiles arranged by Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto.

1997 April. A terrorist explosion in the discotheque of Havana’s most fashionable hotel, the Melia Cohiba, begins a series of similar attacks on hotels, restaurants and night spots of Havana and Varadero.

August 13. A paid advertisement in the Miami newspaper El Nuevo Herald by the CANF supports the bombings, and states that "Cuban people, like all peoples fighting for their freedom, have the right to choose whatever instruments are within reach to obtain freedom." CANF president Francisco Hernandez explains that "we don't consider these actions terrorism because people fighting for liberty cannot be limited by a system that is itself terrrorist."

September. Cuban authorities arrest a 25-year-old Salvadoran, Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, for carrying out a half-dozen of the hotel attacks.

November. Jorge Mas Canosa, the most influential anti-Castro activist and founder of the CANF, dies in Miami.

October 27. U.S. Coast Guard gets a call for help from the 46-foot yacht La Esperanza, which is in international waters off Puerto Rico. A search of the boat uncovers to .50-caliber rifles, 70 rounds of ammunition and an array of military-type equipment. One of the men, Angel Manuel Alfonso, 58, says that he alone smuggled the weapons because he "planned to kill Castro." The FBI begins an investigation. [Seven exiles are indicted on August 24, 1998.]

December. The New Jersey State Police, in a delusional moment, write the Pope to ask him to help them get Assata Shakur back from Cuba, in the style of the slave catchers of old.

Bomb threats, death threats received by Miami radio station WRTO-FM following its short-lived decision to include in its playlist songs by Cuban musicians.

1998 January. The Pope visits Cuba. Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana refuses to have him meet with representatives of  AfroCuban religious associations after having arranged meetings with Protestants and Jews.  AfroCubans are insulted and generally ignore the Pope's visit, since most of them are not Catholic anyways.  See "And Where Did the Blacks Go?" by Pedro Pérez Sarduy and also The Pope's Cuban visit: racism vs the Afro-Cuban legacy, published in the Chicago Standard Newspapers representing Chicago's Black Community.

March. The Pentagon concludes that Cuba poses no significant threat to U.S. national security, and senior defense officials urge increased contact with their counterparts on the island.

May – June. European countries call for an end to the embargo. Some warn that Title III of the Helms-Burton Act contradicts international law and may cause problems if not revoked.

July 12. The New York Times runs an article in which Luis Posada Carriles admits to over a decade of terrorist activities and assassination attempts on Castro wilfully funded by leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF). Posada admits that Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, arrested in September of ’97, was one of his operatives. He boasts that there are additional anti-Castro operatives still on the island, and warns of a major surprise soon.

July 29 – Aug. 3. Castro visits the Caribbean: Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada.

August 24. Seven Cuban exiles are indicted in Puerto Rico on charges of plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro. Among the defendants is Jose Antoio Llama, 67, who serves as director at the Cuban American National Foundation.

Firebomb explodes at Amnesia nightclub preceding performance by Cuban singer Manolín. Bomb threat empties concert hall at MIDEM music conference during performance by 91-year-old Cuban musician Compay Segundo. Bomb threat received by Amnesia nightclub in Miami Beach preceding performance by Cuban musician Orlando "Maraca" Valle. All three musicians "just happen to be" black Cubans, though observers would say that white cuban musicians from the island would get equal treatment...

1999 January 1. The Revolution celebrates its 40th anniversary.

January 2.   A 20 member TransAfrica delegation visits Cuba and meets with Fidel Castro

January 6. U.S. Representative Jose E. Serrano introduces H.R.256, a bill to repeal the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996. The bill is referred to the House Committee on International Relations.

February 18. The leadership of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus visit Cuba to evaluate the U.S.-imposed embargo.

February 22. Cuba's State Prosecutor asks for the death penalty for Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, the Salvadoran terrorist charged with bomb attacks on the island in 1997.

February 23. The coalition of Americans for Humanitarian Trade With Cuba join the United States Association of Former Members of Congress to call on the Clinton administration to end the embargo on food and medicines to Cuba. "The U.S. embargo on Cuba is the single most restrictive policy of its kind. Even Iraq is able to buy food and medicine from U.S. sources," says George Fernandez, Executive Director at AHTC." As a Cuban American, I speak for the vast majority of us who do not think the U.S. should be in the business of denying basic sustenance to families and children in Cuba."

August. Black August holds fundraiser for Cuban rap in NY. Fifth International Cuban Hip Hop Festival held in Havana.

September 16,17. Wayne Smith, head of the US Interest Section in Havana under Carter, organizes a conference out of the Center for International Policy, "Conference on Afro-Cubans in Cuban Society: Past, Present and Future."

Bomb threat received by Seville Hotel in Miami Beach preceding performance by Cuban singer Rosita Fornes. Hotel cancels concert.  Violent protest at Miami Arena performance of Cuban band Los Van Van leaves one person injured, eleven arrested.

2000 January 26: Outside Miami Beach home of Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, protester displays sign reading, "Stop the deaths at sea. Repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act," then is physically assaulted by nearby exile crowd before police come to rescue.

March:  Latin American Studies Conference in Miami. Despite a few bomb threats, over 100 scholars attend from Cuba, protected by private security and Miami police, many of whom are Cuban Americans.

April 11: Outside home of Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives, radio talk show host Scot Piasant of Portland, Oregon, displays T-shirt reading, "Send the boy home" and "A father's rights," then is physically assaulted by nearby exile crowd before police come to rescue.


Cuba Time Lines on the Web

Medical Time Line

The Great Salsa Timeline

A Timeline of Lucumí History by Stuart Myers Eguín Lade - Ócháni Lele

Una línea-tiempo de historia Lucumí. Stuart Myers - Eguín Lade - Ócháni Lele

Chronology of Cuba in the Spanish-American War - Library of Congress?




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