Today in the Americas, Cuba's new premier

castro in washingtonOur 50th anniversary remembrance of the Cuban Revolution continues. Today in 1959, Fidel Castro named himself premier of Cuba after overthrowing Batista for good.

On January 5, prior to Castro arriving in Havana on the 8th, José Miró Cardona, an urban activist against Batista and now a mere footnote in the juggernaut that is Cuba created a new government that was accepted by the United States in the wake of Batista’s fleeing of the island. Cardona, appointing himself prime minister, elected Manuel Urrutia Lleó to be president. On February 13, he resigned his post for Fidel.

In his military fatigues, his gnarly beard, and the people of Cuba listening, Fidel Castro told the crowd “We have great plans and we suffer when we cannot put these into effect rapidly, but technical preparations take time.”

He also, according to the BCC, said that he had no interest in the presidency of Cuba. (Lleó would remain in office until July, replaced by Osvaldo Dorticós, who would reign until Castro consolidated the presidency in 1976.) It was only in the years to come that he enhance the powers of the prime minster – as the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crisis would demonstrate.

It was only a matter of time until Castro would visit the United States.


~ by Daniel on February 16, 2009.

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