Richard Nixon, then Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice president, met with Cuba’s Fidel Castro on April 19, 1959, in Washington, DC.
“… The US blockade on Cuba has been a key part of Washington’s long-standing war on the country, launched shortly after Fidel Castro led a revolution overthrowing the country’s US-backed military dictatorship in 1959. Things didn’t start out entirely hostile. The Eisenhower administration publicly took a cagey wait-and-see attitude toward the new government. Meeting with Castro for three and a half hours, then–vice president Richard Nixon advised him, according to a post-meeting memo, ‘that it was the responsibility of a leader not always to follow public opinion but to help to direct it in proper channels, not to give the people what they think they want at a time of emotional stress but to make them want what they ought to have.’ With a tinge of regret, Nixon recounted that Castro’s ‘primary concern was with developing programs for economic progress.’ By September that year, as Castro restricted private ownership of agricultural land and prepared to nationalize foreign-owned industry, the US ambassador to the country expressed ‘our serious concern at the treatment being given American private interests in Cuba.’ The next month, president Dwight Eisenhower approved a program backing anti-Castro elements — including Cuban exiles launching raids on the country and, later, US-supplied sabotage and bombing campaigns — in the hopes that it would topple Castro and make him appear to have caused his own undoing. By December, a CIA division head would advise that ‘thorough consideration be given to the elimination of Fidel Castro.’ The Cold War gave this US mission extra urgency. Eisenhower warned the Soviets in 1960 that his administration wouldn’t tolerate ‘the establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the Western hemisphere,’ in line with long-standing Washington doctrine that the US government would intervene in countries in the hemisphere if they ran counter to US interests. Hoping to stop the spread of ‘Castroism’ and end it in Cuba, Washington pressured other Latin American countries to cut off diplomatic ties, travel, and arms shipments to the country, threatening to suspend military aid and other penalties to those who didn’t comply, eventually twisting enough arms to expel Cuba from the Organization of American States. …”
W – United States embargo against Cuba
W – Agrarian reforms in Cuba