“Fidel Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution…but it amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist.” (Herbert Matthews, New York Times, February 1957.)
“Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents…died on Friday. He was 90.” (The New York Times, Nov. 26, 2017)
In fact, the highlighted section of the New York Times headline from 2017 is every bit as BOGUS as the headline from 1957.
Oh…I know—know: that bit about “Fidel Castro defying 11 U.S. Presidents!” is hardly a New York Times exclusive. Indeed, the meme appears in practically every media mention of Fidel Castro. As a media chant it’s as obligatory as “Cuba’s free and fabulous healthcare!” –and the claim is every bit as facetious and idiotic.
Let’s have a brief (but fully-documented) look at this history of “defiance,” shall we.
”Without U.S. help Fidel Castro would never have gotten into power,” flatly stated former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba Earl T. Smith during congressional testimony in 1960. He refers to the U.S. State Department and CIA’s role in aiding the Castro rebels, also to the U.S. arms embargo on Batista, also to the official U.S. order that Batista vacate Cuba. Ambassador Smith knew something about these events because he had personally delivered the messages to Batista.
“Everyone in the CIAand everyone at State was pro-Castro, except (Republican) ambassador Earl Smith.” (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba 1957’59, Robert Weicha.)
Castro’s “defiance” of the U.S. at the time also involved his group’s pocketing a check for $5,000 from the CIA operative in Santiago, Robert Weicha. “Me and my staff were all Fidelistas,” boasted Robert Reynolds, the CIA’s “Caribbean Desk’s “specialist on the Cuban Revolution” from 1957-1960.
After Batista fled and Castro grabbed power, the U.S. abruptly changed diplomatic modes alright: never in history had the U.S. accorded diplomatic recognition to a Latin American regime as QUICKLY as we recognized Castro’s. The U.S. gave Castro’s regime its official benediction more rapidly than it had recognized Batista’s in 1952, and quickly lavished it with $200 million in subsidies.
Then In August of 1959 the patrician and liberal U.S. ambassador to Cuba, Philip Bonsal, alerted Castro to a conspiracy against his regime by anti-communist Cubans (i.e. “deplorables.”) Thanks in part to ambassador Bonsal’s solicitude for a regime then insulting his nation as “a vulture preying on humanity” and poised to steal $2 billion from U.S. stockholders, the anti-Castro plot was foiled, hundreds of the anti-Communist Cubans imprisoned, and the regime that three years later came closest to vaporizing many of America’s biggest cities (including Bonsal’s home) with nuclear missiles, survived.
“We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along,” snickers Nikita Khrushchev about JFK’s (utterly bogus) Missile Crisis “victory,” “Security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from Turkey and Italy. Until today the U.S. has complied with her promise not to interfere with Castro and not to allow anyone else to interfere with Castro (emphasis added). After Kennedy’s death, his successor Lyndon Johnson assured us that he would keep the promise not to invade Cuba.” Henry Kissinger, as Gerald Ford’s secretary of state, renewed the pledge.
After the missile crisis “resolution,” Castro’s “defiance” of the United States took the form of the U.S. Coast Guard and even the British Navy (when some intrepid exile freedom-fighters moved their operation to the Bahamas) shielding him from exile attacks.
So, far from “defying” a superpower, Castro hid behind the skirts of two superpowers, plus the British Empire.
The (very few) people on earth actually in the know about the history of U.S.-Cuba relations mostly laugh at the media/academic idiocies on this topic. Take “former” KGB Colonel Nikolai Leonov who served as Raul Castro’s case-officer starting in 1954…OH! And while we’re on this topic! Let’s not forget the role of our crackerjack CIA: “Don’t worry. We’ve infiltrated Castro’s guerrilla group in the Sierra Mountains. The Castro brothers and Ernesto “Che” Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.” (crackerjack Havana CIA station chief Jim Noel, 1958.)
Nikolai Leonov’s midriff had just stopped heaving from the guffaws about that one when he hears the media celebration about Obama’s “RE”-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba:
“The so-called re-establishment of relations (between the U.S. and Cuba in 2015) is really no big deal, he laughed. “These relations were already in place.” (a snickering Nikolai Leonov.)
The actual facts (as opposed to the media and Obama State Dept. poppycock) showed that:
In 1958 with Cuba under a “U.S.-backed dictator,” with the U.S. “controlling Cuba’s economy,” (both claims totally facetious and idiotic) etc. the staff of the U.S. embassy in Cuba numbered 87, including Cuban employees.
In 2014 with supposedly NO diplomatic relations with Cuba the U.S. the staff of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana numbers 351 including Cuban employees….let than sink in for a second, amigos:
So in fact: for well over a decade, the U.S. had TWICE as many (and much, much busier) diplomatic personnel in Havana as Canada and Mexico combined. In the Twilight Zone occupied by the U.S. media this was termed “diplomatic isolation” by the U.S. but full –and friendly diplomatic relation by Canada and Mexico.”