50 years ago, America and Cuba brought the world to the brink of nuclear war as the Cuban Missile Crisis began. We explain how it all happened.
Back in 1961 America tried to overthrow Cuba’s anti-American leader, the Communist Fidel Castro.
They launched an invasion of the country via the Bay of Pigs.
The invasion failed.
But trouble between the two flared again, when in 1962, America discovered Cuba had allowed another of America’s enemies at that time, the Soviet Union, to build nuclear missile sites on the island, pointing in America’s direction.
Everyone thought the world would end.
But America’s President Kennedy did not dare invade Cuba again. Instead, he struck a deal with the Soviet Union to withdraw its nuclear missiles from Cuba.
For 50 years, though, America has punished Cuba by blocking US citizens from traveling to Cuba and banning US companies and banks from trading there.
These sanctions have crippled the country by creating shortages of food, clothes and cars.
Now, with the death of Cuba’s long time leader Fidel Castro, all this is set to change and the two counties are about to become friends again.