When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Havana this week to build closer ties with Cuba's senior leadership, it begged the question, "Haven't we seen this movie before?"

Our narrative starts at the height of the Cold War. Cuba's revolutionary government established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on May 8, 1960. Washington, in turn, severed ties with Havana on January 3, 1961. By the time Vladimir Putin was a 10-year-old and Barack Obama was an infant, we had already lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the establishment of the Lourdes signals intelligence center near Havana, and more, which brought the heat of the Cold War within a hundred miles of our shores.

Back then, the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations decided it simply would not do to have what was called a "Soviet puppet" in what some still call our "backyard." President Kennedy, as Cuba scholar Daniel Erikson wrote, reinterpreted the Monroe Doctrine "to support American efforts to contain the expansion of Soviet influence into the hemisphere."



Recent Articles

Date Title
10/30/14 U.S. attends Ebola meeting in Cuba called by leftist bloc
Reuters
10/30/14 In Cuba, a new church, a ray of hope
Alan Gomez, USA Today
10/29/14 Cuba tries to drive up fertility amid baby slump
AP, The Washington Post
10/29/14 Cuba's Roofs, Small Spaces of Freedom
Yoani Sanchez, The Huffington Post
10/29/14 Another exodus of Cubans in the making
Fabiola Santiago, The Miami Herald
10/27/14 The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy
Editorial Opinion, The New York Times
10/22/14 Lech Walesa Meets Cuban Democracy Activists in Warsaw
Yoani Sanchez, The Huffington Post
10/21/14 From Havana, a Prominent Voice for Change
Miriam Leiva, The New York Times
10/21/14 Cuba should not be rewarded for denying freedom to its people
Editorial, The Washington Post
10/20/14 Calling time on America's blockade of Cuba
Will Grant, BBC
10/20/14 Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Editorial, The New York Times
10/17/14 How Business Can Change Cuba
Tim Padgett, Businessweek
10/16/14 Rare Independent Group Aims to Open Debate in Cuba
Michael Weissenstein, AP
10/16/14 Cuba to introduce modern, more secure ID cards
EFE
10/15/14 Still Pondering U.S.-Cuba Relations, Fidel Castro Responds
Ernesto Lodoño, The New York Times