Cuban Missile Crisis – UPSC GS1

The end of the political blockade by the United States allows Cuba a rare opportunity to renew socialism. What had led to the Cuban Missile crisis? How will the recent developments towards thawing of mutual animosity impact the Geo-political and Economic interests of both the nations. (200 Words)
Circumstances which led to Cuban missile crisis
The second part of the 20th century was period of cold war with the whole world divided in two parts led by USA and USSR. Cuba a small island in Atlantic was headed by Fidel Castro who was against the anti-imperialistic nature of USA. The tensed situation began to surface in early 1960s when Castro asked for help from USSR who agreed for plotting its missiles in Cuba which was its nearest station to USA. USA also strengthened its stations nearby USSR.
In 1962, the situation came to the brink with the possibility of nuclear attack when both the blocs signed treaty and Cuba remained out of influence of USA.
Impact of the recent developments towards thawing of mutual animosity on geo political interests are-
  • End of decades long policy of political meddling, running of naval blockades and attempts to assassinate Cuban leaders by USA.
  • Increase in the strategic tie ups which will help Cuba which suffered after the fall of USSR in 1991.
  • The isolation of Cuba had only strengthened its position as the anti-imperialistic country and not helped USA. Now, both can work together.
  • It is not Cuba but USA which isolated in the Latin America and the different regional association had decreased its influence. Now, the isolation can gradually be reduced.
Impact on economic interests-
  • There will be increase in remittances by the Cuban émigrés.
  • The citizen can travel easily now to other country which will be helpful in tourism industry.
  • The economic sanctions will be removed by USA and will help Cuba to go further deep in the market.
  • The capitalist class of USA can find a good market in Cuba
Critically examine why was Cuba isolated by the USA and international community? Do you think recent policy of America towards Cuba would help the latter in realizing its economic potential? Comment. (200 Words)
The bilateral relations of IS and Cuba date back to 1898 Spanish American war after which Cuba became an American protectorate, eventually granted independence and US continues, till date, to operate Guantanamo bay on lease.
Being a communist by ideology, Cuba had his natural inclination towards Soviet Union. Then came two events which further fueled the tensions:
  • Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow Cuban government by CIA. This widened the gulf between the two countries.
  • The famous Cuban missile crisis in which Cuba had allowed Soviet Union to place missiles on its land as an answer to US encirclement of Soviet Union.
This is a landmark event in the history of US Cuba relations as it ultimately led to diplomatic and economic sanctions on Cuba.
Both used Switzerland as mediator for their talks and US had also included Cuba in the list of State Sponsor of Terrorism. Also embargo was reinforced such that even other nations were not allowed to trade with Cuba or else itself face embargo by US. Thus, Cuba was isolated and it faced economic stagnation. Recently, after backchannel talks with the help of Canada and Vatican, relations seem to have thawed a lot. US took off the name of Cuba from State Sponsor of terrorism, eased travelling restrictions, eased embargos and will establish diplomatic relations after a more than 50 years gap. Cuba, on its part, has realized its weaknesses especially after disintegration of the Soviet, inability of Venezuela to supply it with oil, weakening socialism world over and has also taken steps to open up more space for private capital. If relations are sorted between US and Cuba, we could see a more proactive Cuba on international forums like WTO and participate in world trade to integrate itself better with world economy. Its economy relies on exports of sugar, cigar, rum, etc. and with easing, American companies would now be able to do business in Cuba. US had been criticized of its Cuban policy in UN for long. However, a lot depends on the response of Raul Castro.