In fact Khrushchev prepared to yank the missiles before any “bullying” by Kennedy. “What!” Khrushchev gasped on Oct. 28th 1962, as recalled by his son Sergei. “Is he (Fidel Castro) proposing that we start a nuclear war? “But that is insane!...Remove them (our missiles) as soon as possible! Before it’s too late. Before something terrible happens!” commanded the Soviet premier.
So much for the gallant Knights of Camelot forcing the Russians’ retreat. In fact, the Castro brothers and Che Guevara’s genocidal lust is what prompted the Butcher of Budapest to yank the missiles from their reach.
Considering the U.S. nuclear superiority over the Soviets at the time of the (so-called) Missile Crisis (five thousand nuclear warheads for us, three hundred for them) it's hard to imagine a President Nixon — much less Reagan — quaking in front of Khrushchev's transparent ruse a la Kennedy.
The genuine threat came --not from Moscow—but from the Castros and Che. “If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.” (Che Guevara to Sam Russell of The London Daily Worker, November 1962.)
“Of course I knew the missiles were nuclear- armed,” responded Fidel Castro to Robert McNamara during a meeting in 1992. “That’s precisely why I urged Khrushchev to launch them. And of course Cuba would have been utterly destroyed in the exchange.”
Castro's regime's was granted new status. Let's call it MAP, or Mutually-Assured-Protection. Cuban freedom-fighters working from south Florida were suddenly rounded up for "violating U.S. neutrality laws." Some of these bewildered men were jailed, others "quarantined," prevented from leaving Dade County. The Coast Guard in Florida got 12 new boats and seven new planes to make sure Castro remained unmolested.
JFK's Missile Crisis “solution” also pledged that he immediately pull the rug out from under Cuba's in-house freedom fighters. Raul Castro himself admitted that at the time of the Missile Crisis his troops and their Soviet advisors were up against 179 different "bands of bandits" as he labeled the thousands of Cuban anti-Communist rebels then battling savagely and virtually alone in Cuba's countryside, with small arms shipments from their compatriots in south Florida as their only lifeline.
Kennedy's deal with Khrushchev cut this lifeline. This ferocious guerrilla war, waged 90 miles from America's shores, might have taken place on the planet Pluto for all you'll read about it in the mainstream media and all you'll learn about it from Kennedy’s court scribes, who scribbled Kennedy’s Missile-Crisis “victory.” To get an idea of the odds faced by those betrayed Cuban rebels, the desperation of their battle and the damage they wrought, you might revisit Tony Montana during the last 15 minutes of "Scarface."
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.