Timeline of Fidel's Life and Dictatorship
August 13, 1926- Fidel Castro is born in Biran, Cuba.
January 1, 1959- Fulgencio Batista (Cuba's previous dictator) is overthrown and surrenders his presidency.
February 13, 1959- Fidel Castro becomes the "president" of the revolutionary government of Cuba.
January 3, 1961- The United States cuts off all diplomatic relations with Cuba.
February 7, 1962- The United States bans all imports from and exports to Cuba.
October 14, 1962- The Cuban Missile Crisis- Many people fear nuclear warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States.
October 1, 1965- Fidel Castro forms the Cuban Communist Party and names himself as the first secretary.
1995- "Wet foot, Dry foot" Policy: A policy put into place by President Bill Clinton that stated if Cubans were caught trying to enter the United States with "wet feet" then they were sent back to Cuba or to another country. If Cubans made it to shore with "dry feet" then they were able to stay and gain United States citizenship. President Obama did away with this policy in 2017.
2006- Fidel gets sick and announces his future retirement.
February 24, 2008- Raúl Castro becomes the president of Cuba. Raúl is the brother of Fidel Castro.
November 25, 2016- Fidel Castro dies in Havana, Cuba.
Mass Exodus Timeline
There were several large waves (mass exodus) of people leaving Cuba to avoid Fidel Castro's dictatorship.
1959 - 1962- First Wave It was primarily upper-middle class families that fled Cuba during this time. 73,00 Cubans entered the United States.
1960 - 1992- Operation Peter Pan (Operación Pedro Pan) During this operation 14,000 Cuban children were sent to the United States to live with foster families. The Cuban families believed that Castro's dictatorship would quickly fail and they would be reunited with their children. About half the children were reunited with their Cuban families and the other half stayed and were placed in shelters and foster care.
1965 - 1974- Second Wave Cubans were transported two times a day five days a week on flights to Maimi. These flights were know as "Freedom Flights". 300,000 Cubans left to go to the United States and other countries.
1975 to the early 1980s- Third Wave Cubans traveled from Cuba's Mariel Harbor to the United States and this group of people became known as "Los Marielitos". Many of the Cuban refugees were political prisoners or people released from mental health facilities. 125,00 Cubans arrived in the United States during this wave.
The late 1980s- Fourth Wave These people were known as "los Balseros" or "The Rafters" as they floated to the United States on homemade rafts they made. They left Cuba illegaly and many were caught or were unable to reach the United States due to shark attacks or drownings. 30,000 people left Cuba during this time.