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To what extent was the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis due to Castros

provocative actions?
The Cuban Missile Crisis is a clash between the 2 superpowers the US and
USSR, in 1962 October when a nuclear holocaust almost broke out. No doubt
Castros actions first provoked harsh US policy which in turned called for
military aid from USSR and led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was still
insufficient to justify the placement of missiles which placed the safety of the
world in jeopardy. Therefore, this essay seeks to argue that Castros
provocative actions were largely limited in starting the Cuban Missile Crisis
because it was far from enough to justify the need to bring in the missiles
that predetermined the outbreak.
Castros actions first provoked harsh US policy which in turned called for
military aid from USSR and led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. After a series of
land redistribution program which had already infringed upon vital US
interest, not only did Castro not scale back on its ultra-nationalistic actions,
he even became so bold as to nationalize approximately USD1billion worth of
US private investment in October 1960. Cubas sugar trade agreement with
the Soviets, signed in February 1960, explains why the US would even place
an embargo on Cuban sugar imports in the first place. In December 1960,
Cuba and USSR issued a joint agreement in which Cuba openly aligned itself
with the domestic and foreign policies of USSR and indicated its solidarity
with the Sino-Soviet Bloc. Therefore, it is understandable why the US would
toughen its policy against Cuba and even when it did so, it did not draw in
the missiles.
Even though Castros actions first provoked harsh US policy, overly harsh US
policy left Cuba with no other options but to join the socialist camp where
USSR would be brought into the conflict, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
As if imposing an embargo on Cuban sugar imports and all the secret plans
to assassinate Castro were not enough, in April 1961, the US expanded its
economic embargo on Cuba by threatening to terminate aids to any country
that traded with Cuba, by refusing to purchase goods that had the possibility
of containing any Cuban materials and by pressurizing US allies to end all
commercial ties with Cuba. In addition, the US even conducted a series of
saber rattling activities which engendered a mood that an invasion of Cuba
was imminent. Then, the US undertook two large military exercises in the
Caribbean near Cuba. The first, Lantiphibex I-62 involved a marine assault
using the island Vieques off the coast of Puerto Rico and the second called
the QUICK KICK, was a massive set of naval maneuvers with 79 ships and
more than 40000 troops off the Southern US coast. Finally from 14-19April
1961, the US carried out the Bay of Pigs invasion, but failed. As a result, in
December 1961, Castro in response declared himself a Marxist-Leninist. The
short breadth of time in which the events transpired showed that the US was
very much responsible for pushing Cuba into the socialist camp, where

Soviet involvement in Cuba would gradually increase, leading up to the


outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Even though Castros aggressive actions provoked harsh US policies which in
turn called for military assistance, it was still insufficient to justify the
placement of missiles, the quintessential component that transformed the
conflict into a Crisis. While the Cubans only asked for conventional weapons
for additional deterrent, USSR decided to place missiles in Cuba. Given that
there were already substantial amount of military aid in Cuba, such as the IL28 light jet bombers and the Komar petrol boats, there was no need for USSR
to place missiles in Cuba as additional deterrent. Moreover, the fact that the
missiles require 8hours to fuel and was armed with a nuclear warhead made
it indisputable that the missiles could not have been for defensive purpose
because they would have been virtually useless in response to an invasion.
The offensive nature of the missiles made them likely to draw an attack
instead of deterring one. Therefore, ultimately, the Soviets were still most
responsible for the outbreak of the Crisis, because it was out of their own
Cold War concerns that had nothing to do with the conflict in Cuba, that they
manipulated the missiles in Cuba into existence, thereby giving rise to the
Crisis.
Even though Castros aggressive actions provoked harsh US policies which in
turn called for military assistance, it was not in the power of Castro to decline
the overly incendiary aid of missile after Khrushchev had conceived the idea.
With or without Castro asking, Khrushchev would have placed the missiles in
Cuba anyway. Castros request was merely a bonus that was in line with his
intention. The idea of deploying missiles in Cuba was conceived by
Khrushchev while he was holidaying at his dacha and thinking about the
Jupiter missiles across the Black Sea in Turkey. Not only will the missiles
compensate for and close up the missile gap which USSR was lagging behind
in the arms race, it will strengthen their bargaining position in Berlin and at
the same time extend communist influence in the Western Hemisphere,
thereby further undermining US prestige by continuing to violate the Rio Pact
and the Organisation of American States (OAS) formed in 1947 and 1948
respectively to exclude communism in the US backyard. Even if a settlement
on the removal of missiles was to be made eventually, the US was be
compelled to negotiate with the Soviets where they would be in a more
favourable position. With the power to materialize the idea firmly in the
hands of Khrushchev as the Cuban economy was heavily dependent on USSR
having fell out with the US, after the conceptual phase, the fate of the
missiles to be implemented in Cuba was almost sealed. In May 1962, USSR
proposed the initiative to the Cubans, an offer they could not decline. As
such, in the very same month, the Cuban accepted the missiles as an act of
socialist solidarity and a means to reinforce socialism at an international
scale. The almost immediate decision of the Cubans on an issue that is so
intrinsically pertinent to the sovereignty of their country gives credence to

the view that [the Cubans] were receiving an important aid which they
could not slink away and the USSR had manipulated the Cubans into
accepting the missiles. Hence, USSR was most responsible for the existence
of missiles in Cuba, which led to the outbreak of Cuban Missile Crisis.
In conclusion, no doubt Castros provocative actions brought about harsh US
policy which in turned called for military aid from USSR and led to the Cuban
Missile Crisis, overly harsh US policies left Cuba with no other options but to
join the socialist camp where USSR would be brought into the conflict,
leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even though Castros aggressive actions
provoked harsh US policies which in turn called for military assistance, it was
still insufficient to justify the placement of missiles, the quintessential
component that transformed the conflict into a Crisis. Moreover, it was not in
the power of Castro to decline the overly incendiary aid of missile. Therefore,
the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis was largely not due to Castros
provocative actions.