How the U.S. ‘Bullied’ Poor Little Castro

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January 7, 1959 marked a milestone in U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had the State Department extended diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as quickly as it bestowed it 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.

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.

Within days of recognizing Castro’s regime, the U.S. State Department sacked its Republican ambassador to Cuba, Earl.T. Smith– that insufferable pest mentioned by Weicha. Smith’s unforgivable gaffe was repeatedly warning that supporting the Castro rebels (as we’ve seen, both morally and materially) while pulling the rug out from under Batista was not the shrewdest method of advancing U.S. interests, to say nothing of the interests of the Cuban people.

Months earlier, an alarmed Smith contacted Jim Noel, CIA station chief in Havana, with reports from his Cuban contacts about communist string-pullers existing within Castro’s movement, and about Che Guevara’s well-known communist ties and sympathies. (When arrested in Mexico City in 1956, Guevara was carrying in his pocket the business card of the local KGB agent, who also served as Raul Castro’s KGB handler since 1953.) But Noel could hardly mask his annoyance at the naysaying Republican alarmist:

“Don’t worry, Ambassador,” snapped the typically liberal CIA officer. “We’ve infiltrated Castro’s group in the Sierra. The Castros and Che Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.”

Smith’s replacement — Phil Bonsal, a liberal career diplomat — fully backed and quickly adopted the official “carrot and even bigger carrot” policy towards Castro. The policy soon showered the new Cuban regime with $200 million in subsidies from U.S. taxpayers.

Castro was quick to respond:

“The U.S. is a vulture preying on humanity!” he raved just a week after Smith’s sacking. “Let the Marines invade! Then we’ll pile up 200,000 dead gringos!”

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  • UCSPanther

    Batista was scum, and Castro was no better.

    Castro, like Moammar Gaddafi, started out as a loud-mouthed warmonger, but in time, the collapse of the Soviet Union and other repercussions caused him to mellow out into your standard corrupt tin-pot dictator.

  • Amused

    Agreed , again as about the only thing Fontova gets right , is the remark about the "cracker-jack CIA " . [ funny how CIA has a habit of making the wrong calls ] . Castro a truly dispicable character , oversaw a brutal regime …no doubts about that . Batista was WORSE . He killed more Cubans than Castro to date . In FACT , our coddling of Batista and support of his American gangster ridden regime , was the very reason Castro came to power .So now Mr.Fontova , a typical foaming at the mouth Cubano, tries to apply the "liberal tag " to WHO ? The CIA ? LOLOLOL ….is this a new strawman Fontova ?

    • Indioviejo

      You are an ignorant tool. Redundancy nessesary here.

      • Amused

        Indioviejo , try doing something you're not used to- pick up a history book ,and find out why there was even a cause for revolution in Cuba . Batista did his murdering under the guise of capitalism , Castro in the name of communism .
        The only redundancy here is the recurring ignorance I see among dimbulbs like yourself . If there ever was 'cause and effect ' , it would be batista = castro. My point was not praise or approval of Castro , but I guess that went over your head eh cogno ?

    • allstonwabec

      <i">Batista was WORSE . He killed more Cubans than Castro to date ."

      If you had any documentation to support your claim, you might have some credibility. I suggest you read Carlos Alberto Montaner's Secret Report on the Cuban Revolution- if you are concerned with facts and not with propaganda.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Castro came to power through terror, murder, and theft.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Whatever happened to the set of interviews that Castro gave to Jeffrey Goldberg? http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/
    They never got the attention that they should have. Fidel Castro seems to have significantly changed his view on Israel. He no longer sounds like a pillar of the Marxist-Islamic Alliance.
    Of course, he is no longer in power. Even so, the world should know what he said.

    • Amused

      lol…that one went right over their heads ….oh what dullards !

  • Amused

    hey Brujo Blanco , aint that the same way Batista came to power ? ….TWICE ! No Batista =No Castro .

  • Alvaro

    Maybe world history would have been different if FDR just gave him a 10 dollar bill in 1940…
    http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:FCR_to_FDR_lette

  • Indioviejo

    Very accurate article. Most people prefer to ignore historical facts for their own emotional ideals We shouldn’t be surprised by the CIA or the State Department‘s leftist slant If we remember Whitaker Chambers denouncing communist infiltration and subversion in the government in the 1920‘s and 30‘s, culminating in his testimony in the H.U.A.C., and latter confirmed by the “Venona Papers“, maybe we could have seen what was perpetrated in Cuba, aided and abetted by our own communist in high places. NYT propagandist such as Herbert Mathews was just continuing the propaganda section initiated by Walter Duranty, the Stalinist then at the Times. After Castro our continuous “mistakes” in foreign and domestic Policy indicates a metastasis in our institutions caused by the leftist/progressives. How sad._

    • Amused

      Leftist slant ? Who in the hell are you kidding ? The same Rightists who were looking for commies under their beds , were the same politicians who knew full well about Batista's terror regime and the mobsters from the US who were paying Batista and those politicians off . There were no communists in the Batista Regime , just thieves and murderers . The same regime that turned away the St.Louis , as well as FDR .[sadly] .You're brainwashed , a mere parrot .

      • Indioviejo

        Maybe you would like to know that the President in Cuba in 1939, the time when the MS St. Louis sailed with 937 German Jews, was Federico Laredo Bru and not Fulgencio Batista. Just a minor detail in correcting your rant, but then I suspect you are an unbending leftist ideologue, more interested in disseminating misinformation than in truth. Every body here knows you already.

  • Ghostwriter

    I think the Cubans found out that the Americans were fools for believing a word that Castro told them. The Cuban Missile Crisis and other things like that soon disabused many in this country of how "benevolent" the Castro regime really was.

  • BLJ

    I wonder what Castro and Jimmy Carter's baby looks like?

    • Western Canadian

      As someone who has always had an uncommon ability to visualize, I really with you had not asked that question…….

    • tmc

      osamabana that's who

    • Cuban Refugee

      Don't know what that demonic Castro/Carter baby looks like as an adult, but I heard he posts under the moniker "Amused."

  • Steve Chavez

    I still don't get why America's supporters for the Arab Spring and its removal of their dictators, except Syria which is a satellite of Russia therefore a friend of Comrade Obama, aren't screaming for a Caribbean Spring in Cuba? Fidel, still the leader, is the world's longest serving dictator where its citizens are now institutionalized like prison inmates who know no other life.

    It also seems that Miami Cubans would be sending signals to their families that a massive protest, in front of the world, would be the signal the end of the Castro's and Chavez.

    If they do not overthrow Castro before he dies, he will live on like Che and they, with the encouragement of Americans, will turn him into a icon forever!

  • Amused

    I said you needed a history lesson Indioviejo .

  • Amused

    Batista came to power in 1933 in the "revolt of the Seargents " took over the military and installed puppet presidents until he was himself elected ion 1940 . After finishing his term he went to the US to live , ONLY TO RETURN IN 1952 WHERE HE SUSPENDED THE CONSTITUTION . In addition he restricted the press , removed many political freedoms and engaged in lucrative deals with the mafia , large sugar plantation owners and American buisiness .He put down revolts and student protest with violence by means of his 'anti-communist ' secret police ,armed by the US .

  • Amused

    Before he was overthrown he had totured and killed 20,000 Cubans creating fertile ground for Castro's revolution , as he looted the country ,and stomped on the peasants .
    but enough for that lesson , he was indeed in control in 1939 , when laredo Bru , his puppet , turned away the St.Louis .

  • Amused

    Wanna look it up Indioviejo ?

  • Amused

    Congrats indioviejo , you must've cracked a book eh ?