"In all essentials, Castro's battle for Cuba was a media public relations campaign, fought in New York and Washington." (Paul Johnson, Modern Times)
“Foreign reporters, preferably American, were much more valuable to us than any military victory. Much more valuable than rural recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda.”(Che Guevara in his diaries)
Castro and Che had it easy back then. The U.S. media recruits for their PR campaign in Washington and New York came in only one model. To wit:
"Fidel Castro is humanist, a man of many ideals including those of liberty, democracy and social justice. (Herbert Matthews, New York Times, Feb. 1957.)
“Castro is honest, and an honest government is something unique in Cuba. Castro is not himself even remotely a Communist.” (Newsweek, April 1959)
"It would be a great mistake even to intimate that Castro's Cuba has any real prospect of becoming a Soviet satellite." (Walter Lippmann, Washington Post July, 1959)
Arthur Gardner and Earl Smith were the two U.S. ambassadors to Cuba who warned about Castro’s covert Communism (and thus lost their jobs.) In 1960 they testified under oath to the Media/State Department collusion and campaign that brought Castro to power:
Senator DODD. You have been quoted, Mr. Gardner, as referring to, "Castro worship" in the State Department in 1957. ... you are quoted as saying you fought all the time with the State Department over whether Castro merited the support or friendship of the United States. Would you explain....
Mr Gardner: "I feel it very strongly, that the State Department was influenced, first, by those stories by (the New York Times') Herbert Matthews, and soon (support for Castro) became kind of a fetish with them."
Senator Dodd: (in preparation for his post) your successor as Ambassador to Cuba, Earl Smith was actually (sent by his State Dept. superiors) to be briefed by New York Times' Herbert Matthews?
Mr. GARDNER. "Yes, that is right."
Senator Eastland: "Mr Smith, you had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?'
Mr. Smith: "Yes, sir....
Senator Eastland: "Would you say that the American Government then, including all of its agencies, was largely responsible for bringing Castro to power?"
Mr Smith: "The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, and other Government agencies (CIA), members of Congress are also responsible..”
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.