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Cuba Fifty Years On

Hard to imagine it's been fifty years since Castro assumed power in Cuba. Even harder to imagine travel restrictions have been relaxed after all thi

Hard to imagine it's been fifty years since Castro assumed power in Cuba. Even harder to imagine travel restrictions have been relaxed after all this time.

Ever since the government of Fulgencio Batista fell and Fidel Castro took over, the subject of Cuba has been a contentious one. In 1959 the Cold War was in full bloom and the almost constant fear of countries coming under the influence of the Soviet Union was on most Americans minds, especially when the countries coming under the influence happened to be in our own hemisphere.

Shortly after Castro assumed power, it was speculated by a number of American news outlets that Cuba was warming to the Soviet Union and that Communism had a definite toehold at our doorstep. Cuba, after all was a mere 90 miles away and it would prove to be a flashpoint in many an east-west showdown in the years following.

In May of 1959 CBS Radio did a documentary called "Is Cuba Going Red", hosted by newsman Stuart Novins. It was contended that Cuba had been overtaken by communist elements and was in the grips of becoming a totalitarian state, so fresh from its independence from the Batista government.

The documentary drew a huge amount of criticism and it forced CBS to run a companion show in order to allow Cuban spokespeople to air their side of the story.

The end result was a discussion that turned into a minor yelling match between Novins and Senator Charles Porter from Oregon.

The first part is the portrayal of Cuba as it was in May of 1959, asking the question if the island had gone Communist. And the second part is a rebuttal argument by the Cuban Ambassador and various officials from the Cuban government.

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