Introduction: Conga Lessons at the Bay of Pigs (02:52)
In 2003, Senator Michael Enzi argues to lift the U.S. embargo against Cuba. In 2002, three Americans, including Peter Melaragno, travel to Cuba under the People-to-People exemption of the Trading with the Enemy Act. (Credits)
Cuba/U.S. Relations (03:25)
In 1960, Cuba expropriates 300,000 acres of land owned by the United Fruit Company; the company has ties to the U.S. government and the CIA. In April 1961, the United States invades Cuba. President Kennedy signs Presidential Proclamation 3447 in February 1962.
Havana, Cuba (08:51)
Melaragno recalls his first visit to Cuba. On his second trip, he and two other Americans stay at the home of Estelle; they see the effects of the embargo. Hear Cuban music and see images of the city; Cubans are resourceful.
U.S. Embargo Against Cuba (05:38)
In the 1980s, the U.S. offers to improve relations if Cuba adheres to conditions. Cuba meets the conditions in 1992, but the U.S. tightens the embargo. Fidel Castro benefits from the sanctions—others struggle to survive. Hear Cuban music and see images of Havana.
Illegal Immigration (04:41)
The blockade and restrictive U.S. immigration policies lead thousands of Cubans to risk their lives crossing the Florida Straits. The current U.S. Cuban quota is 20,000. The Americans Havana for Santiago de Cuba; they receive oranges as a gift.
The Bay of Pigs (04:04)
President Kennedy labels April 17, 1961 the worst day of his life. The U.S. invasion lasts three days. The painting of B-26s bombers to look like Cuban military aircraft violates the Geneva Convention. Melaragno purchases a coconut.
Journey to Santiago de Cuba (04:53)
In Santa Clara, locals visit street vendors; a Baptist church has no roof. Musicians in Trinidad de Cuba perform "Hasta Siempre"; Che Guevara is a revered figure. Musicians perform in Santiago de Cuba.
"Casa Particular" (09:04)
The Americans spend Christmas Day with Cesar and his family; Cesar discusses Chucho Valdés and happiness. See footage of Parque Céspedes and Plaza de Marte. Melaragno discusses Cuba's social welfare record.
Society and Politics (05:20)
Cuban music expresses social sentiment; two men at Cesar's house slaughter a pig. On December 24, 1962, Cuba releases 1,113 Bay of Pigs prisoners. Che Guevara meets Richard Goodwin who suggests to President Kennedy that he tighten sanctions, setting the stage for the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Credits: Conga Lessons at the Bay of Pigs (02:58)
Credits: Conga Lessons at the Bay of Pigs
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