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February 8

In 1963, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, nationalist leader and the primary proponent of abolitionism in the Caribbean, was proclaimed Prime Minister of the new Cuban Republic today. Castro's first official act as prime minister was to free all negro slaves on the island, which was largely ceremonial since the revolution had made slave-owning a very hazardous venture as a total of 158 slave-owners had been murdered by Castro's followers.

One Giant Step by Andrew BeaneThe Confederate States of America, who operated Cuba as a puppet state while maintaining the island's independence, condemned the proclamation and the precedent that the liberation of the island's slaves may set for slavery in Confederate territory as a whole.

"We choose to support freedom. We choose to make certain that every man, woman and child in North America is free in this decade" ~ JFKCastro's rise to power, following a six-year revolution, is being celebrated by both anti-Confederate Cuban nationalists and abolitionists alike. A general strike was called for the day by nationalist union leaders, and millions poured into the streets of Habana to cheer for the freedom of the nation and for that of its negro citizens. The sound of automobile horns played like a symphony in the cities. Pro-Confederate President-elect Manuel Urrutia Lleo, who took over for former-President Fulgencio Batista, was forced to flee to Florida as Castro's rebel army were marching on the capitol.

John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States, welcomed the news of Castro's official capture of power. He had already admitted at the beginning of the year that the CIA had been secretly funneling weapons to the nationalists. In 1962, Kennedy appeared at Rice Stadium and told the nation "We choose to support freedom. We choose to make certain that every man, woman and child in North America is free in this decade". On hearing of the news out of Cuba this morning, Kennedy was quoted as saying we are "One giant leap closer to that goal".

"We choose to support freedom. We choose to make certain that every man, woman and child in North America is free in this decade" ~ JFKConfederate President Strom Thurmond issued a sharp rebuke against the Cuban nationalists, promising an embargo on the island if Castro " .. did not step back from profaning the right and sacred institution of slavery". Thurmond's' words carry little weight. The CSA's economy is still struggling to pull out of a near-twenty year slump following the loss of the Second World War against the Allies. Wide-spread unemployment, the building of the new national capitol in Augusta, Georgia, and the occupation of Panama since the assassination of Cantera have left little finances to allow for an invasion of Cuba. An embargo would be difficult, as merchant vessels in the Caribbean usually enjoy an escort by Union Navy gunboats.