10: Quintessence: Barbie and the Cuban Embargo

American history reveals Barbie first met the world in 1959 at the American Toy Fair, and first was introduced as Barbie Millicent Roberts from Willows, Wisconsin. Ruth Handler, her creator, named her after her own daughter Barbara. Since then, Barbie has practiced over 125 different careers, has a handful of friends, taken the world by storm, yada yada yada….

Also in 1959, Alaska and Hawaii are admitted as the 49th and 50th states of the United States of America. Ironically, that same year, the United States recognizes the former rebel leader Fidel Castro as the new Premier of Cuba. Some argue that Hawaii and Alaska were admitted into the United States to increase the size of the U.S. Military, because in reality the Cold War started in 1959.

Before the rebellion, Castro had made his daughter, whose name has since been erased from record books, a doll to keep her company during the day, because she did not have any other siblings. He gradually made more and more clothes for his daughter to dress her doll with, because it was more than a toy to her, it was like her sibling. Castro made clothes for the doll, because he would do anything to make his daughter happy.

Once the rebellion started, Castro’s daughter was whisked away for safety, and was taken to the United States in 1958. She was kept secret, because the release of her identity could be dangerous of her. She was secretly taken in, fed, and raised for a short while by a loving family in Wisconsin. The mother noticed how attached she was to her doll, and became fascinated with all the different outfits she had. Later that year, the mother, Ruth Handler, introduced her new toy to the world- Barbie Millicent Robert, from Willows, Wisconsin.

After Castro was secured as Premier of Cuba, his daughter was allowed to return home. Upon her return, she told her father about the family in Wisconsin that had been so kind to her, and that had liked her doll so much that they created their own version of the doll. She further told her father how popular the doll seemed to be in the U.S. At that point, Castro reached out to Ruth Handler, to discuss the toy doll she introduced to the world. The U.S government immediately intervened and set up a trade embargo with Cuba under the pretense that the United States does not affiliate with any type of dictatorship. From that point on, the United States remained in fear of the possible retaliation Castro may initiate for rights to the Barbie.

That was the real first shot of the Cold War. And though the Cold War ended decades ago, the trade embargo with Cuba still exists within the U.S., and will likely remain until at least 2029; 70 years after the initial copyrights to Barbie began, when copyrights potentially become open to the public.


Note: There are some facts embedded in this post. The facts were derived from these two websites: 


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