As the United States begins a new era of relations with Cuba, we look back to the time Fidel Castro visited New York--and was rather well received.
Castro eats ice cream with his entourage. Source: Mashable
On the heels of a new era of US-Cuba relations ushered in by Barack Obama, Raúl Castro and Pope Francis this past December, we look back to the brief moment in time when Fidel Castro’s post-Cuban Revolution trip to the United States resembled more of a rock star’s eleven-day tour than what some labeled a political charm offensive.
Four months after overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, Castro accepted an invitation from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and was in New York – among other destinations- signing autographs, kissing ladies, and eating hot dogs and ice cream at the Bronx Zoo.
Not much time would pass until relations between the two countries would again falter, resulting in the fiasco that was the Bay of Pigs, the subsequent embargo, and the travel restrictions that have been the norm for a half-century now.
Wherever the talks lead the two countries, we can always look to 1959 when, for a split second, Fidel Castro loved New York, and New York loved him back.
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Miss La Prensa 1959, Gladys Feijoo, kisses Castro as a signs an autograph for her. Source: Mashable
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The center of every party he attended, Castro had the rapt attention of almost every guest. Source: Retronaut
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While at the hotel, Castro meets some kids from the Queens, NY school where his son was secretly attending while Castro was fighting in the Cuban Revolution. Beards were worn by all. Source: Mashable
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Castro is photographed with his invitation to the New York Press Photographer's Ball. Source: Mashable
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Eisenhower did not wish to meet with Castro; instead he delegated the job to a young Vice President Richard Nixon in Washington DC, who said at the time, “He is either incredibly naive about communism or under communist discipline. My guess is the former.” Source: International Business Times
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Dr. Grayson Kirk, president of Columbia University is shown with Castro at an event. Source: Mashable
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Outside New York’s Statler Hotel on his way to Boston via Pennsylvania Station, Castro waves to his admirers. Source: Mashable
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Not quite to the car, Castro gives one last wave to the assembled crowd.
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Boston-bound by way of a chauffeur. Source: Mashable
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Castro gives peanuts to the elephants, enjoying his visit to the Bronx Zoo. Source: Mashable
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Shown hugging some kids at the Zoo on what was just another day in Castro’s short American vacation. Source: Mashable