Caribbean Report 01-01-1999

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1. Headlines (00:00-00:58)
2. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, the Caribbean island of Cuba had been the playground of Americans. Beaches, booze, and casinos, Havana had it all. From sugar to hotels to petrol, Cuban land and industry were owned almost entirely by the US. Cuba's leader was a brutal dictator, Fulgencio Batista, until he was overthrown in the 1959 revolution. A young, charismatic 33-year old lawyer, Fidel Castro, after years of guerilla fighting in the mountains, led the revolution. (00:59–09:42)
3. Cuba experienced severe economic hardships as a result of the US embargo and declining Soviet aid. Huge financial hardships led to food rations, particularly in beef and potatoes. Widespread hunger existed, and it became evident that policies of collectivization had failed. The disillusionment of living conditions was hardest for older people who had lived through the whole dream of the revolution. (09:50–14:28)
4. Castro, although sometimes charming, was no walkover. He was known to bring journalists to tears with the wrath of his tongue. America is now wise to his survival techniques. He has lived through the entire Cold War, The Bay of Pigs, The Missile Crisis, and has seen off no less than nine US Presidents and thirteen presidencies.
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