The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the few times that the 'rules' of the Cold War were nearly forgotten. Berlin, Korea, Hungary and Suez - the 'rules' had been followed. But in Cuba this broke down and the Cuban Missile Crisis was the only time when 'hot war' could have broken out.
In the 1950’s Cuba was lead by a right-wing dictator called Fulgencio Batista. He dealt with opponents with extreme harshness and while a few prospered under his regime, many Cubans were very poor. He was not tolerant of communists and received the support of the Americans. Batista’s sole support within Cuba came from the army which was equipped by the Americans.
For some years, Havana, the capital of Cuba, had been the play ground of the rich from America. They would come to the island at the weekend to gamble - illegal in all parts of America except for Las Vegas at this time. Havana was considered more convenient for those living in the southern states of America. Large sums of money were spent but most was creamed off by Batista and his henchmen. Over $200 million was actually invested in Cuba itself. For all the money coming into Cuba, the poor remained very poor.
Some young Cubans, who had read about socialism and what it offered the poor, reacted against Batista’s corruption and oppression. Their first attempt to overthrow the government was a failure and the small group of rebels fled to the Sierra Mastra - a remote area of Cuba. Here they sharpened their tactics and used the most valuable weapon they had; educating the poor in their ways. They used the tactics of Mao Tse Tung by actually helping out the poverty stricken peasants on their land. These people had been used to abuse for years and here were young educated people actually helping them for free.
It was only a matter of time before the ‘message’ spread to other areas of Cuba and by 1959, the rebels lead by Fidel Castro felt strong enough to overthrow the government of Batista. This they easily achieved as they were aided by popular support.ily achieved as they were aided by popular support