October 11, 1979 – Castro Comes – Wall Street Goes, And Capitol Hill Haggles Over Abortion Forever.
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October, it would seem, is not historically without its surprises. On this day in 1979 New York City was turned upside down over a United Nations visit from Cuba‘s Fidel Castro, his first since 1959. Air Traffic was disrupted, street traffic was disrupted, and all told the biggest security nightmare the city had seen in a very long time.
But Cuba was in the news a lot over the previous months. A new cause-for-alarm was being considered by the U.S. over the renewed presence of Soviet troops on Cuban soil. So concerned was Washington that a detachment of some 1,800 Marines and other Military personnel were heading to Guantanamo for “exercises”.
But if New York didn’t have enough headaches with Fidel, it more than made up for them with headaches from Wall Street. News of a 48 point drop in the Dow triggered panic and a run on Valium. As of this day, everyone was holding their breath to see what was going to happen next.
Not exactly holding their breath, but actively engaged in tossing brickbats was Congress over a Funding Fight that included that perrennial, Abortion Funding and that incidental, Pay Raises. Seems the dilemma had to do with some members of Congress in favor of Abortion Funding and not in favor of a Pay Raise, while other members of Congress in favor of Pay Raises but not in favor of Abortion Funding. Seems both caveats were jammed into the same emptor.
But there was the World Series to think about. And while the rest of the world was quickly going to hell, Game 2 was getting ready to go that evening, and like they always say: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”. The same went for Wall Street.