Monday, September 17, 2007

The more bombers, the less room for doves of peace.

Long live everlasting, indestructible friendship and cooperation between Soviet and Cuban nations!
J Kershin, S Gurarij, 1963

The diplomatic relations between Cuba and Russia were established in 1902. They were terminated only during Fulgencio Batista’s rule, but were soon reestablished when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. Soviet attitude to new Cuban government was neutral, until the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961), when USA tried to attack Cuba in order to overthrow the revolutionary regime and retain control of its property nationalized by Castro. This attempt was in vain as it did not spark the rising against Castro - the attacking forces were easily scattered by the trained Cuban army. This generated even more tension in Cuban-American relationships. Now in case of an embargo, the USA-oriented economy of Cuba had to find support somewhere (also see a Cuban Poster on the topic). Soviet Union grabbed the opportunity as this was a good way to establish a military base in a close firing range of its main foe – the USA, which in its turn had previously set up a number of nuclear missiles in Turkey, covering many potential targets in the Soviet Union. The following confrontation is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), when the world was as close to the nuclear WW3 as ever.

In 1963 after the Soviet Missiles had been removed from Cuba Fidel Castro paid a visit to the Soviet Union. For a month he was traveling across the country observing the achievements of the soviet regime. The photo the poster above is based on, was made during one of the demonstrations (supposedly on the Red Square), where all the Soviet officials were present. It shows Fidel Castro, the President of Cuba, and Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union holding their hands in a greeting gesture. During this visit Fidel Castro was awarded “Hero of the Soviet Union” - the highest possible decoration in the country. On the photo above Nikita Khrushchev has one “Lenin Prize" medal and three “Hammer and Sickle” star medals (“Hero of Socialist Labor” decoration) on his chest. The irony is that Khrushchev received his “Lenin Prize” for “Strengthening of Peace in the world” in 1959, two years before the Cuban Missile Crisis took place.