Fidel Castro’s Cuba has been in the crosshairs of US regime change efforts since the Cuban Revolution in 1958.

After the US-supported failed Bay of Pigs military operation in 1959, the CIA partnered with the Mafia, who had a dominant presence in Havana, to assassinate Castro. The plots were revealed in the mid-1970s by the Church Committee. These ran the gamut from snipers to an exploding cigar.

Following the revolution, Castro and his associates formed an effective police state. Cubans demanding political and civil liberties were denounced as enemies of the state.

The government continues to harass and arbitrarily detain opponents. All media outlets on the island nation of nearly 12 million people are controlled by the communist regime in Havana. Journalists are often criminally charged for not asking the state for permission to write and publish.

In 2014, President Obama announced the “Cuban thaw,” the normalization of relations between the two nations. Cuba was subsequently removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. An embargo put into place by the Eisenhower administration in 1958 was eased and Cuba was allowed to establish bank accounts in the United States.

The Cuban thaw, however, was short-lived. On June 16, 2017, President Donald Trump canceled the Obama deal with Cuba. Previous business and travel restrictions were re-imposed on November 8.

Since that time, the US has threatened military action and additional sanctions on Cuba, in part due to its relationship with Venezuela.