Category Archives: History

Whatever Happened to the Thousand Dollar Bill?

Rarely Seen $1,000 Bill

Rarely seen by ordinary people, both the $500 and $1,000 bills are genuine U.S. legal tender. These bills, however, were last printed by the US mint in 1945. In 1969 the government completely halted the distribution of these large denomination bills.

Today large transactions are almost exclusively done electronically, with no need to ever exchange cash in large amounts. Collectors might be interested to know that it is possible to purchase $500 notes, which bare the likeness of President William McKinley. Notes printed in 1928 can sell for about $2,300, while notes from 1934 cost about $1,000.

Featuring the face of President Grover Cleveland in profile, $1,000 notes printed in 1928 can be acquired for about $3,500 to $4,000. Notes printed in 1934 are valued today at about $2,250 to $3,000.

Revisiting the Cuban Embargo: Fifty Years of No Cigars

Fidel Castro

The 50th anniversary of the start of the economic boycott on Cuba took place on Tuesday. Since February 7th, 1962 there has been a nearly hermetic seal on trade with communist-led Cuba.

Yes or No to Embargo

Supporters of the embargo say it is an appropriate response to a repressive government that has been a relentless “thorn in the side” of the Unites States for all these years. Opponents of the embargo say the policy is a failed one, which has hurt ordinary Cuban citizens, and not the government against which the embargo is directed.

Failed its Main Goal

Both sides agree, however, that the embargo failed in its most central goal, to oust Cuba’s leaders, Fidel and Raul Castro.

Wayne Smith, who was a young US diplomat in Havana, Cuba in 1961 when relations between the US and Cuba were cut. Smith returned to Cuba as the head American diplomat when relations were partially re-established under the administration of President Jimmy Carter.

“All this time has gone by, and yet we keep it (the embargo) in place,” Smith said.

“We talk to the Russians, we talk to the Chinese, we have normal relations even with Vietnam. We trade with all of them,” Smith added. “So why not with Cuba?”

President Kennedy announced the embargo on February 3rd, 1962, saying that “the subversive offensive of Sino-Soviet communism with which the government of Cuba is publicly aligned,” and it went into effect four days later.

Outdated Policy?

Those were the days when the cold war was at its height, but critics of the embargo say that many of the reasons the embargo was begun no longer exist, such as the struggle to halt the spread of Soviet influence and the exportation of communism by Fidel Castro to the rest of Latin America.

But supporters cite other justifications, such as the need to pressure Cuba to give more personal and political freedom to its citizens, and the confiscation of US property in Cuba.

“We have a hemispheric commitment to freedom and democracy and respect for human rights,” said Jose Cardenas, a former National Security Council staffer on Cuba under President George W. Bush. “I still think that those are worthy aspirations.”