History of Cuba

Mariam in Ethiopia.

The standard of living in 1970s was "extremely spartan" and discontent was rife. Fidel Castro admitted the failures of economic policies in a 1970 speech. By the mid-1970s, Castro started economic reforms.

In 1975 the OAS lifted its sanctions against Cuba, with the approval of 16 member states, including the U.S. The U.S., however, maintained its own sanctions.

Recent affairs

More than one million Cubans of all social classes have left the island to the United States, and to Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, and other countries. As of 2002, some 1.2 million persons of Cuban background (about 10% of the current population of Cuba) reside in the U.S. Many of them left the island for the United States, often by sea in small boats and fragile rafts. On 6 April 1980, 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy in Havana seeking political asylum. The following day, the Cuban government granted permission for the emigration of Cubans seeking refuge in the Peruvian embassy. On 16 April, 500 Cubans left the Peruvian Embassy for Costa Rica. On 21 April, many of those Cubans started arriving in Miami via private boats and were halted by the U.S. State Department, but the emigration continued, because Castro allowed anyone who desired to leave the country to do so through the port of Mariel. Over 125,000 Cubans emigrated to the U.S. before the flow of vessels ended on 15 June.

Castro's rule was severely tested in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse (known in Cuba as the Special Period), with effects such as food shortages. The government did not accept American donations of food, medicines, and cash until 1993. On 5 August 1994, state security dispersed protesters in a spontaneous protest in Havana.

Cuba has found a new source of aid and support in the People's Republic of China, and new allies in Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela and Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, both major oil and gas exporters