NPR logo Flashback Friday: On This Day In 1962, JFK Calls for Quarantine Of Cuba

Flashback Friday: On This Day In 1962, JFK Calls for Quarantine Of Cuba

Oct. 22, 1962:

Cheer Up/Cuba button

With mounting evidence of a Soviet military buildup in Cuba, including the building of missile sites, President Kennedy announces a "strict quarantine" to prevent any additional military weaponry to the island nation.

In a nationally televised address, Kennedy called the Soviet buildup a "deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country."  He said the missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads for a distance of more than 1,000 miles, "capable of striking Washington, D.C." and other cities.

Moscow later accused the U.S. of taking a step toward "unleashing thermonuclear war," and Cuban Premier Fidel Castro called the quarantine a "pirate act" and called it the "most dangerous adventure since the end of World War II."  But when subsequent Soviet warships approached Cuba, and faced the U.S. blockade, they turned back.

Cuba becomes the leading issue in advance of the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Flashback Friday is a weekly feature on Political Junkie.

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