Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman

By Joann P. Krieg | Go to book overview
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18
The Eisenhower Administration,
Castro, and Cuba, 1959-1961

James M. Keagle

The story of the Cuban Revolution, as it was played out from 1959 to 1961, remains important to scholars, policymakers, and laypersons alike--important beyond the historical interest in drawing accurate inferences about U.S. policy and motivations or placing certain responsibilities on the Eisenhower administration for the abortive Bay of Pigs fiasco. 1

Ever since 1961, a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere has been the isolation of Cuba, the prevention of another Cuba in this hemisphere, the containment of communism to Cuba, and an underlying hope that a democratic government would return to Cuba. Such objectives were made law in 1962 ( Public Law 87-733) and reconfirmed in 1965. 2 In a more contemporary context, the Reagan administration has apparently chosen to view the development in Nicaragua and El Salvador by emphasizing the Cuban and Soviet connections. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger has argued for the relevance of the Monroe Doctrine in response to questions about Cuban and Soviet involvement in the unrest in Central America. In November 1981, Secretary of State Alexander Haig was quoted as characterizing the Nicaraguan army under the Sandinista government as a "force for aggression and expansion of Marxist-Leninist policy in the hemisphere."3 For that reason, he has refused to rule out a naval blockade against Nicaragua, and he has said there was a danger that the country could develop into "another Cuba in this hemisphere."

President Reagan has refused to rule out a blockade of Cuba. Early in 1982, he referred to the recent Soviet military buildup in Cuba as the largest since 1962; he called Cuba a "stooge" or "puppet" of the U.S.S.R., stating, "If Cuba were smart, they would rethink their position on rejoining the Western Hemisphere."4 Most recently, the United States has responded to the crisis in the Caribbean by deploying carrier and battleship task forces to the region and exercising 5,000

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