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December 1956: From exile in Mexico, Fidel Castro lands in Cuba to overthrow Batista.January 1959: Batista overthrown. October 1960: Businesses on the island nationalized with no compensation. January 1961: US cuts diplomatic ties with the island. December 1961: Castro announces that Cuba is a communist state. October 1962: Cuban missile crisis. January 1962: Cuba is voted out of the Organization of American States; US begins full economic and political sanctions. October 1967: Castro's No. 3 man, Dr. Ernesto (Che) Guevara, killed in Bolivia. April 1980: More than 125,000 Cubans are allowed to sail from the island during the Mariel "boatlift." July 1984: Cuba joins boycott of Olympic Games in Los Angeles. More than 100 political prisoners allowed to leave Cuba for US. August 1991: Havana is site of Pan American Games.

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