January 7, 1959, marks a milestone in U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had the State Department extended diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as QUICKLY as they bestowed this benediction on Fidel Castro’s that day.
At the time, Castro himself had yet to enter Havana.
Nothing so frantically fast had been bestowed upon “U.S.-backed” Fulgencio Batista obligatory prefix, used in every MSM and “scholarly” mention of him) seven years earlier. Batista had in fact been punished by a U.S. arms embargo and heavy diplomatic pressure to resign for a year. Batista was subsequently denied exile in the U.S. and not even allowed to set foot in the country that “backed” him.
On a visit to Cuba in 2001 for a “scholarly summit” with Fidel and Raul Castro, Robert Reynolds — who served as the CIA’s Caribbean desk’s specialist on the Cuban revolution in 1960 — clarified the U.S. diplomatic stance of the time: “Me and my staff were all Fidelistas,” he boasted to his beaming hosts.
Reynolds’ colleague Robert Weicha, who served as CIA chief in Santiago, Cuba, in the late 1950s, concurred.
Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State were pro-Castro, except ambassador Earl T. Smith.
Weicha was a hands-on type of Fidelismo. In the fall of ’57, Weicha and U.S. Consul Park Wollam smuggled into Cuba the state-of-the-art transmitters that became Castro and Che’s Radio Rebelde” From these mics, the Castroites broadcast their “guerrilla victories” island-wide, along with their plans to uplift Cuba into a Caribbean Shangri-La inspired by the principles of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson, and St Francis of Assisi. These proclamations were then reaching most of the English-speaking world through the good work of the New York Times and CBS (Herbert Matthews and Don Hewitt, respectively.)
“War against the United States is my true destiny!” Fidel Castro had confided in a letter to a friend in June 1958. “When this war’s over I’ll start that much bigger war.” Alas, this message was not broadcast over the U.S.-issue “Radio Rebelde,” and apparently slipped past our crackerjack CIA.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.
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