Thursday, April 11, 2013

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis

While the conservative right in this country is up in arms about a completely legal, sanctioned trip to the island of Cuba by two of the world's biggest celebrities, it seems fitting that this weekend the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is opening the To the Brink exhibit.

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis relies heavily on documents, audio recordings, artifacts and photographs from the National Archives (where the exhibit first debuted). It debuted on the 50th anniversary of the crisis last year and will be on display at the JFK Library until December of this year.

Why is an exhibit like this important in relation to the current uproar about traveling to Cuba? First, the conservative right has embraced the hardline on the Cuban embargo in the last several decades. As Democrats have distanced themselves from the positions that formed in the early 1960s as a response to both the Bay of Pigs invasion, Cold War hysteria and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it's important to understand what those positions are and how they came about. As travel restrictions to Cuba have finally started to loosen some 50 years later, it's important to understand why they even existed.

While many members of the conservative right could do with a whole array of history lessons, if the former press secretary for the President of the United States didn't even know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was, it's probably a good idea that everyone have a crash course in U.S./Cuban relations. Eventually they might even want to loosen up their stranglehold on the hardline with Cuba.

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