Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter . James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr. 39th President of the United States of America (Plains, Georgia , 1924 ). Of its original dedication to the cultivation of groundnuts (symbol subsequent election campaign), he became professional politics in the ranks of the Democratic Party, which led him to be a senator in 1962 -66. As Governor of Georgia ( 1970 -74), he stood out for his policy in favor of the rights of blacks and women.

In 1977, he won the Presidency after narrowly defeating the previous Republican president and candidate, Gerald Ford , thanks in part to the discredit in which the Republicans had fallen due to the stumbles of Nixon and his hasty withdrawal due to the Watergate case.


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  • 1 Biographical Synthesis
    • 1 Political career
      • 1.1 Governor of Georgia
      • 1.2 1976 presidential campaign
      • 1.3 Presidency
        • 1.3.1 Policy towards Cuba
          • Detente
          • The confrontation
          • The Mariel Crisis
        • 2 References
        • 3 Sources

Biographical Synthesis

He was born on 1 of October of 1924 in Plains , Georgia , and was the eldest of four brothers. Her parents, James Earl Carter and Bessie Lillian Gordy, were practicing farmers and Baptists.

From an early age, he proved to be an outstanding student who liked reading. He was admitted to Georgia Southwestern College , and received his Bachelor of Science from the United States Naval Academy in 1946 , the year he married Rosalynn Smith.

It was intended for Atlantic and Pacific submarines and was soon chosen by Admiral Hyman Rickover to participate in the nuclear submarine program. Although his intention was to pursue a career in the navy, on the death of his father in 1953 he resigned from his military responsibilities to take over the family peanut business in his hometown.

From a young age he showed deep Christian sentiment, teaching Sunday school during his political career. He himself has manifested that Jesus Christ has marked his life; in fact, during his presidential term he prayed several times a day.

Political career

Governor of Georgia

In 1970, he campaigned populist in the Democratic primary against former Governor Carl Sanders, labeling his opponent “Carl Twins.” After his narrow victory over Sanders in the primaries, he was elected Governor over Republican Hal Suit .

The December to January of 1971 was sworn in as the 76 Governor of Georgia , and held this position until 14 January 1975. His predecessor as governor, Lester Maddox , he became lieutenant governor.

Carter improved government efficiency by merging around 300 state agencies into 30. He also pushed for reforms in the Legislature, provided state aid to schools on equal terms with the rich and poor areas of Georgia, created community centers for children with mental disability, and expanded educational programs for convicts.

1976 presidential campaign

When he entered the Democratic Party primaries in 1976 , he was considered to have little chance against the best-known national politicians. There was only two percent name recognition. However, the Watergate scandal was still fresh on voters’ minds, and thus his position as a stranger, distant from Washington DC, became attractive. The centerpiece of their campaign platform was the reorganization of the government.

He became the front-runner from the start by winning the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary . He used a two-pronged strategy: In the South, the majority had accepted the candidacy of George WallaceWhen Wallace proved to be a spent force, Carter swept the region. In the North, Carter appealed largely to conservative Christian and rural voters but had little chance of winning a majority in most states. In the end, he won several northern states for the construction of the largest single block. He traveled more than 50,000 kilometers, visited 37 states, and made more than 200 speeches before other candidates, even before announcing that he was in the presidential race. He proved to be the only Democrat with a truly national strategy, and he finally won the nomination.

He chose Senator Walter Mondale as his running mate. He attacked Washington in his speeches, and offered a balm for the nation’s religious wounds.

He started the race with a sizeable lead over Ford , who was able to narrow the gap over the course of the season, but couldn’t stop Carter from defeating him on November 2 , 1976 . Carter won the popular vote 50.1% against Ford’s 48.0% and received 297 electoral votes against 240 Ford’s. He became the first Deep South president elected since the 1848 elections.


In 1977, he won the Presidency after narrowly defeating the previous Republican president and candidate, Gerald Ford, thanks in part to the discredit in which the Republicans had fallen due to the stumbles of Nixon and his hasty withdrawal due to the Watergate case . During his tenure, Carter took a radical turn in US foreign policy: defending democracy and human rights internationally contributed, for example, to the fall of dictator Somoza in Nicaragua.; for the first time he claimed the rights of the Palestinian people before the Israeli authorities; and he got Egypt and Israel to sign a lasting peace (Camp David, 1979). But American public opinion disavowed this policy, considering it an excess of weakness, especially visible in the face of the Islamic revolution in Khomeini and the kidnapping of the officials of the American embassy in Iran, which clouded the last months of his mandate. The 1980 elections brought a resounding victory to the Republican candidate, Ronald Reagan.

Policy towards Cuba

James Carter arrived at the presidency of the United States without a defined policy towards Cuba. This was largely due to the heterogeneity of his cabinet, which ranged from far-right men to liberals. The main difficulty for the rapprochement between the two nations remained the same that had caused the suspension of secret negotiations during the Ford administration : the presence of Cuban internationalist troops in Angola [1] .

The United States, as in the Ford administration, conditioned any improvement in relations to three specific conditions:

  • Release of existing US prisoners in Cuba.
  • Withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola.
  • Cuban non-intervention in the relations of the United States with its colonial enclave of Puerto Rico.


After the electoral campaign ended and during the days he was working on the formation of his cabinet in December 1976 , Carter began to take an interest in the Cuban question. As an expression of the foregoing in January 1977 , at the same confirmation hearing of the Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance declared that the embargo against Cuba was inoperative and it was necessary to seek ways that would normalize relations between Cuba and the United States.

Similar statements were made by the Undersecretary of State for international affairs Terence Todman who affirmed that it was obvious that the United States could not live in permanent hostility with Cuba. The ambassador to the United Nations , Andrew Young , deepened the détente by saying that the Cuban presence in Angola created a certain stability and order in the region [2] . For his part, Vance finished cementing the approach by declaring that the United States would not subordinate any discussion with Cuba to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola.

Cuba was receptive and in February 1977 , Carlos Rafael Rodríguez , in an interview for the BBC, expressed the Cuban disposition to discuss its bilateral problems with the United States. Fidel Castro, for his part, in an interview with Bill Moyers in February, considered that there were possibilities of normalizing relations with the United States.

In a turn, which contradicted the previous statements of his cabinet members, Carter made statements in which he conditioned any improvement in relations with Cuba on the withdrawal of troops from the Island of Angola. He also pointed out the need to eliminate the influence of Cuba in Latin America and improve the human rights situation on the Island.

Although maintaining these positions, shortly afterwards Carter stated that he considered it necessary to start discussions with Cuba, if Cuba agreed.

The First Shaba War in March 1977 strained relations between the two countries. Cuba’s enemies carried out a large propaganda campaign accusing the island of being behind the Katanguenses. However, the Carter government was cautious with the matter and finally affirmed that there was no evidence that Cuba or Angola had supported the invasion of Zaire.

In the month of March itself, the United States took a significant step in the process of normalizing relations. Culver Gleysteen , head of the State Department Bureau Cuba called the Cuban mission to the UN to request an interview and to propose that a meeting be held between delegations from both countries, to consider the advisability of signing a fisheries agreement and another on the delimitation of the maritime limits. Cuba accepted, and on March 24 the talks began, culminating in the signing of the corresponding legal documents in Havana on April 27 , 1977 [1] .

The favorable climate in which the talks took place and the need to maintain regular contacts for the revision and expansion of aspects of the signed treaties led to the opening of interest offices in the capitals of both countries – also at the suggestion of the Americans. This variant was raised by the Americans, since at that time they could not under any circumstances reestablish diplomatic relations, as this fact would have affected Carter’s reelection interests in Florida .

The process of discussion of the agreement was expeditious – it lasted less than three hours – and on June 3 , 1977, both countries announced the opening of two interest offices in Havana and Washington . The Cuban would function as part of the Czechoslovak embassy , based in the buildings where the Cuban delegation and consulate had operated in the capital of the United States; and the American office would be part of the Swiss mission in Havana, also based in the building where the United States embassy had been until 1961 . On September 1, both offices were officially opened.

In the US Congress also he argued strongly about Cuba. On May 10, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the partial lifting of the trade embargo against Cuba , which would allow the United States to sell food, medicine, and agricultural products to Cuba. The initiative did not progress, as it was beaten by the opposition both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives [1] .

Starting in November, some United States government agencies reactivated the anti-Cuban campaign due to their presence in Angola, to which was added at that time the military mission in Ethiopia , which was helping the government of that country to reject the Somali aggression. This was cleverly used by the enemies of normalization, who accused Cuba of practicing a “new colonialism”.

Some US congressmen then traveled to Cuba during November and December with messages from President Carter related to the departure of Cuban troops from Africa and the release of US prisoners in Cuba. Regarding this last aspect, the Cuban government was collaborative and several were produced. In response, the United States authorized the start of charter flights between the two countries and the sale of medical supplies to the island. The latter was rejected by Cuba due to its unilateral nature, since access to Cuban products was not allowed. to the United States market.

In January 1978 , the United States Coast Guard and Cuban border guards held conversations in which some measures were agreed to improve communication between the two services; cooperate in rescue operations in international waters and carry out joint actions against drug trafficking and terrorism.

The confrontation

However, the line against the Cuban presence in Africa was maintained. In the report of the adviser for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew, Brzezinski on the Cuban military presence on that continent, he stated that the Cuban troops numbered 40,000 men, 20,000 in Angola, 17,000 in Ethiopia and 3,000 in other nations of the continent. The Second Shaba War in 1978 definitively clouded the process of talks between Cuba and the United States [3] . Despite the Cuban statements distancing himself from the Katanguenses, President Carter, in statements dated May 25, accused Cuba of having trained Mobuto’s enemiesand knowing the invasion plans previously and not having done anything to stop them [4] .

To further thin the climate between the two countries, the United States government began the campaign against the presence of the MiG-23s in Cuba, on the pretext that they could carry nuclear weapons and be used to bomb the United States. According to the United States, the presence of these planes in Cuba violated the agreements made between his country and the [Soviet Union]] during the October Crisis in 1962. All this caused James Carter to authorize the resumption of spy flights over Cuba, using planes SR – 71 Blackbird [1] .

In February 1979, the Pentagon joined the anti-Cuban campaign, which until then had been mainly in the hands of intelligence agencies and certain politicians in the Cabinet and Congress. The military declared that the Soviets were building facilities for their submarines in the port of Cienfuegos . The triumph of the revolution in Granada on March 13 under the leadership of Maurice Bishop and the Nueva Joya Movement was seen by the United States administration as a direct case of influence and interference by the Cuban Revolution., both for the help and for the advice he had given to Bishop’s followers and the quick help that the Island began to offer to the new rulers of Granada. The case of Granada was joined by the triumph of the revolution in Nicaragua that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship . In this process there was much deeper evidence of Cuban participation than in Granada. In the case of Nicaragua, the US services not only knew of the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s ties to Cuba, but also knew of the island’s logistical and military support for the movement.

The volatile situation in El Salvador caused that the Domino Theory was again discussed in the United States Congress , which had been much discussed in the time of Henry Kissinger , which implied a resurgence of the campaigns against Cuba, which evidently For the Americans, it was pushing the domino. During September, the hostility of the United States against Cuba was particularly harsh, which focused on the issue of human rights on the island and the presence of Soviet troops there. Within this dynamic , September 25President James Carter made the strongest statement against the Cuban government in his entire term. The President of the United States accused Cuba of being a puppet representing the interests of the Soviet Union throughout the world and acting directly under the orders of Moscow ; promising to take steps to reverse that status quo.

The need to strengthen his image as president before the elections prompted Carter to completely redefine his foreign policy, which went from being consistent and containing until October 1979 to being very aggressive and imperialist from that moment on. At that time, it took a group of extremely important measures against Cuba that created a danger of military confrontation between the two countries: resumption of spy flights; resumption of military maneuvers, including the Guantanamo Naval Base and the concentration in Caribbean waters of a large number of warships and the so-called fast-action units. A whole scenario of strength to contain the Cuban influence in the region.

The Mariel Crisis

During 1980 the United States continued the aggressive policy against Cuba, within which was the stimulus to the illegal exits from the country. At that time, the events of the Peruvian embassy in Cuba occurred that led to the second great migratory wave of Cubans to the United States, this time through the port of Mariel .

The arrival of boats on the Florida coast full of Cuban emigrants forced the United States government to try to contain the situation, threatening to fine the owners of the boats, but the coming and going of the fleet continued. Contacts with the Cuban community to stop the massive arrival of immigrants were unsuccessful, for this reason President Carter on May 6 , 1980 , when the immigrants were over 10,000, declared a state of emergency in various areas of Florida and approved 10 million dollars to meet your needs. With this action, Carter tried to be consistent with his statements in which he had announced that the United States would receive anyone who fled Cuba [1] .

On May 14 the number of emigrants reached 40,000 and in June it reached 100,000, distributed by various states or in detention centers where they caused serious disturbances. Carter gave another $ 10 million to Cuban immigrants to deal with the situation. The final count of Cubans who left through the port of Mariel in 1980 was 125,000 [1] .

Carter received strong criticism for the way she handled the situation and for the consequences that the violent and rampant migratory wave brought to the United States afterwards in the places where she was located. Carter when analyzing months later the causes of his electoral defeat would indicate the Mariel Crisis as one of the situations that harmed him the most.


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