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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)




Cuba, Castro, And The Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuba, Castro, And The Cuban Missile Crisis

 

CSC 1995

 

SUBJECT AREA - Foreign Policy

 

 

 

CUBA, CASTRO, AND THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

 

 

by

 

 

Maureen M. Lynch

Lieutenant Colonel, USMC

 

 

 

 

13 April 1995

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

Title: Cuba, Castro, and the Cuban Missile Crisis

 

Author: Lieutenant Colonel Maureen M. Lynch, USMC

 

Thesis: This thesis identifies and analyzes Cuba's role in

the Cuban Missile Crisis so as to provide important cultural

intelligence information heretofore unavailable on this

subject.

 

Background: The Cuban Missile Crisis was the single most

important event of the Cold War. For thirteen days, the

United States and the Soviet Union went "eyeball to eyeball"

in an epoch struggle that brought the world to the brink of

nuclear war. Inevitably, historical analyses of the Missile

Crisis focus on the superpower struggle between the United

States and the Soviets. Rarely is it considered necessary or

essential to consider the actions of a third actor, Cuba, in

the very crisis that bears its name. Consequently, to fully

understand and appreciate the lessons of the Cuban Missile

Crisis, it is necessary to understand Cuba's role in that

crisis. More importantly, however, as the Cold War fades and

the new world order takes shape, the importance of

understanding the actors and the events of that period so as

to build upon the present and prepare for the future assumes

even greater significance. Continuing among those actors,

then, is Cuba. Although now noticeably missing Soviet

military and economic support, Cuba still remains an area of

concern to U.S. national security interests. This thesis,

then, provides an important analysis of the actions of Cuba

during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Providing an important

source of cultural information, its purpose is to link U.S-

Cuban relations of the past with those of the present so as to

provide military professionals with the information they will

need to defend our nation's national security interests in the

future.

 

Recommendation: That this thesis be made available to all

Marine Corps University students studying Cuba and to all

those Department of the Navy personnel, both military and

civilian, responsible for political-military planning

involving U.S. relations with Cuba.

 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

Chapter Page

 

1. INTRODUCTION 1

 

Thesis Statement, 5

Research Methodology, 8

 

2. THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA - A LONG HISTORY 10

 

The Growth of the Sugar Industry, Cuban

Prosperity, and the Development of U.S.-

Cuban Relations, 12

The Postwar Years, 17

Jose Marti and the War of Independence, 19

The First Intervention, 23

The Second Intervention, 25

The Growth of Opposition Parties, 29

Batista Comes to Power, 33

The Rise of Castro, 43

 

3. CASTRO'S REVOLUTION 45

 

The Success of the Revolution, 45

The New Castro Government, 46

The U.S. Response to Castro, 50

 

4. CASTRO AND COMMUNISM 58

 

The Castro Revolution - an Ideology of

Confusion, 58

Why the Shift?, 62

Soviet Reactions to a Communist Cuba, 66

Castro's Communism, 70

 

5. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS 74

 

The Soviet Decision to Support Castro, 75

Castro's Decision, 79

Castro's Motives for Accepting the Missiles,84

Castro Reacts, 85

Withdrawing the Missiles, 91

 

6. CUBA AND THE CRISIS 96

 

Epilogue 103

 

Bibliography 107

 

CHAPTER 1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

 

On October 22, 1962, the President of the United States

 

reported to the American people the presence of "large, long

 

range, clearly offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction"

 

on Cuba, an island 90 miles off the coast of Florida.1

 

Undeniably linked to a Soviet military buildup, the President

 

stated that the presence of nuclear weapons in Cuba

 

constituted an "explicit threat to the peace and security of

 

all the Americas."2

 

Detailed analysis showed the weapons to be ballistic

 

missiles of two distinct types: medium-range and

 

intermediate-range. The medium-range missiles were capable of

 

carrying a nuclear warhead a distance of more than 1,100

 

nautical miles, placing Washington, DC, Mexico City or any

 

other city in the southeastern part of the United States,

 

Central America or the Caribbean area at risk. The

 

intermediate-range missiles were capable of targeting most of

 

the major cities in the Western Hemisphere, from Hudson Bay,

 

Canada in the north to Lima, Peru in the south.3 The

 

President also reported that jet bombers capable of carrying

 

nuclear weapons were being simultaneously uncrated and

 

assembled in Cuba while Cuban air bases capable of supporting

 

the bombers were being constructed.4

 

As President Kennedy assured the nation that the United

 

States would not "unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide

 

nuclear war," in response to the "secret, swift, and

 

extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles," he also stressed

 

that America would neither backdown nor "...shrink from the

 

risks to be faced."5 In response to the clandestine Soviet

 

military buildup, the United States implemented a naval

 

quarantine of Cuba. In addition, the Soviet Union was warned

 

that any attack from Cuba would be met . with a "full

 

retaliatory response" in kind.

 

The following day, both Cuba and the Soviet Union

 

requested a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security

 

Council to examine what the Soviets emphasized was the United

 

States' "violation of the Charter of the United Nations and

 

threat to peace." By 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Ambassador

 

Adlai Stevenson, the U.S. Representative to the UN (and the UN

 

Security Council), was addressing the Security Council.

 

Ambassador Stevenson attacked Cuba's role in the missile

 

crisis, declaring that Cuba had "aided and abetted an invasion

 

of [the] hemisphere." In response, Ambassador Valerian Zorin,

 

Soviet Representative to the UN, criticized Ambassador

 

Stevenson's charges as "completely false" and a "clumsy

 

attempt to cover up aggressive [US] actions in Cuba."6

 

Challenging Soviet allegations, Ambassador Stevenson

 

distributed aerial photographs clearly depicting Soviet

 

nuclear missile sites in Cuba.7 Ambassador Zorin continued,

 

however, to neither confirm nor deny the existence of the

 

missiles and sites, stating only that the United States would

 

be given a response "in due time."8

 

As tensions between the United States and Soviet Union

 

increased, General Thomas Power, Commander-in-Chief of the

 

Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC), raised the SAC alert level to

 

DefCon 2 on October 24th.1 On the 26th, the Lebanese

 

freighter Marucla, under charter to the Soviet Union, was

 

boarded and inspected by a party from the USS PIERCE and the

 

USS KENNEDY. That afternoon, after meeting with General Issa

 

Pliyev, the Soviet commander in Cuba, and being informed that

 

all units were "ready for combat," Castro authorized Cuban air

 

defense forces to fire on all U.S. aircraft within range.

 

On October 28th, Cuban antiaircraft batteries shot down an

 

American U-2 over Banes in eastern Cuba, killing the pilot,

 

Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. Later that same day, U.S. and

 

Canadian naval forces established an antisubmarine barrier

 

southeast of Newfoundland while the 5th Marine Expeditionary

 

Brigade sailed from the West Coast of the United States toward

 

Cuba.10

 

Thus, the most significant event of the Cold War, the

 

Cuban Missile Crisis, played out on the world stage. For

 

thirteen days the two world "superpowers" - the United States

 

and the Soviet Union - went "eyeball to eyeball" in an epoch

 

struggle symbolic of of the Cold War period. To the Soviets,

 

the United States launched the "Caribbean Crisis" in open

 

 

____________________

1"DefCon" is an abbreviation for the military phrase "Defense

Condition." Defense conditions identify the state of alert of U.S.

military forces and range from DefCon 5, which indicates a state of

"all quiet," to DefCon 1, which indicates "major attack imminent."

 

defiance of both international law and common sense.

 

Humiliatingly aware of Soviet nuclear inferiority and

 

vulnerability, the crisis greatly worried Soviet Chairman

 

Nikita Khrushchev. For the United States, the Soviets had

 

instigated the Cuban Missile Crisis by placing nuclear

 

missiles in Cuba. The only acceptable solution for President

 

Kennedy was the fast and complete removal of the weapons.

 

However, a third actor was also a key player in this

 

major Cold War drama. That actor was Cuba. To Cuba, the

 

"October Crisis" was a very real experience. Many Cubans

 

expected the crisis to end in a bloody, protracted war. Cuban

 

newspapers carried banner headlines proclaiming that Cubans

 

were "prepared to die for their independence" while Castro

 

declared that "Whoever [wanted] to investigate Cuba must know

 

that they will have to come in battle fatigues!"12

 

Cuban faith in the Soviet Union was also complete.

 

Military support was expected not only from Soviet

 

conventional forces stationed in Cuba, but also from the

 

soldiers of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces controlling the

 

missiles. As Cuban forces mobilized to protect their

 

homeland, Soviet aid was considered a guarantee.

 

In the end, however, the October Crisis turned out to be

 

a profoundly bitter experience for Cuba and Castro. Viewed as

 

an act of U. S. agression, Castro felt that Cuba had been

 

abandoned by the Soviets during their hour of greatest need.

 

 

THESIS STATEMENT

 

 

 

Historical analyses of the Cuban Missile Crisis

 

invariably focus on the superpower conflict between the United

 

States and the Soviet Union. Rarely is it considered

 

necessary to examine Cuba's role in the very crisis that bears

 

its name. However, ignoring the participation of Cuba in the

 

Cuban Missile Crisis can be likened to analyzing the Vietnam

 

War without mentioning North and South Vietnam, or the Korean

 

War without mentioning North and South Korea.

 

To fully understand and appreciate the lessons of the

 

Cuban Missile Crisis, then, it is necessary to understand

 

Cuba's role. To provide this understanding, this thesis will

 

first, examine the complex factors influencing Cuba's

 

participation, and second, define, determine, and analyze

 

Cuba's role.

 

Accordingly, the first factor to be examined is the

 

unique relationship existing between the United States and

 

Cuba and, more importantly, the Cuban "perception" of that

 

relationship. Separated by only 90 miles of ocean, the United

 

States had influenced Cuban affairs since the age of Columbus.

 

Linked early to economics ties and strategic security, these

 

interests later expanded to include political interests.

 

Equally impacting the U.S.-Cuban relationship, however, were

 

obvious and substantial cultural, socioeconomic, and

 

geopolitical differences existing between the two countries.

 

In light of these differences, it is not surprising that both

 

the United States and Cuba not only differed in their

 

understanding, interpretation, and perception of their shared

 

relationship, but also judged the other based on their

 

divergent points of view.

 

The second factor to be examined is the influence exerted

 

by the individual most responsible for Cuba's decision to

 

participate in the crisis, Fidel Castro. Initially hailed as

 

the salvation of Cuba following the dictatorial rule of

 

Fulgencio Batista, Castro and his revolution changed Cuba from

 

a pro-American cousin to one that eventually conspired with

 

the Soviet Union to challenge U.S. hegemony in the Western

 

hemisphere. Castro's influence was complete and deeply rooted

 

in a political and socioeconomic system that enabled him to

 

quickly seize power and hold it. Egocentric and fanatical,

 

Castro's promise for Cuba was defined by his own personal and

 

political objectives that would not only influence his

 

decision to accept communism and an alliance with the Soviet

 

Union, but also make the legacy of the revolution of prime

 

importance to Cuba's way of life. Consequently, this thesis

 

will examine the influence Castro wielded in the Cuban Missile

 

Crisis and also demonstrate that had it not been for Fidel

 

Castro, Cuba would not have been involved in the Cuban Missile

 

Crisis.

 

The third and final factor to be examined is Cuba's

 

relationship with the Soviet Union. As a communist country,

 

"little Cuba" appeared to benefit immeasurably from the

 

immense wealth and superpower status of the Soviet Union.

 

Soviet economic subsidies bouyed Cuba's economy while Soviet

 

ports provided Cuba with ready export markets. These

 

benefits, however, came at a price. For to the Soviets,

 

Cuba's strategic location provided a key position from which

 

to challenge their chief Cold War rival, the United States.

 

And even though Castro had accepted communism and a Soviet

 

alliance, he was to learn the subtle realities and cost of

 

"doing business" with the Soviets. Consequently, the Cuban

 

Missile Crisis is not so much about the relationship between

 

the United States and the Soviet Union as it is about the

 

relationship between the Soviet Union and Cuba. This Soviet-

 

Cuban relationship defined how each party separately

 

perceived, interpreted, and reacted to the events of the

 

crisis. This effort will present how these actions/reactions

 

influenced Castro and ultimately the resolution of the crisis.

 

Upon completion of this examination of the above factors,

 

this thesis will define, determine, and analyze Cuba's role in

 

the crisis. This analysis will be accomplished by first

 

reviewing the events of the crisis and then pinpointing and

 

analyzing Cuba's role. Key to this analysis will be the use

 

of recently declassified material documenting the Kennedy

 

administration's decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis as

 

well as testimony provided by Fidel Castro and key Soviet and

 

U.S. decisionmakers during the crisis. An analysis of this

 

information provides not only Castro's intent during the Cuban

 

Missile Crisis, but also how his actions/reactions were

 

significant in bringing the world to the "brink" of nuclear

 

war.

 

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

 

 

 

Consequently, the approach and source material used in

 

this thesis make it unique among the material currently

 

available concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis for three key

 

reasons.

 

First, this thesis focuses and analyzes the Cuban Missile

 

Crisis from the perspective of Cuba and Castro. As previously

 

stated, the majority of literature discussing the crisis

 

concentrates on the United States, the Soviet Union, and the

 

Cold War competition existing between the two. Although

 

conceptually accurate from a historical and analytical

 

perspective, such an emphasis is also lacking. For one to

 

obtain a true understanding and a more complete perspective on

 

the Cuban Missile Crisis, it is necessary to understand and

 

analyze the participation of all the actors in the crisis

 

which includes Cuba. Especially now, as the world transitions

 

from a Cold War to a post Cold War modality, the lessons to be

 

learned by understanding Cuba's albeit Castro's role in the

 

crisis provides an invaluable historical reference point from

 

which to proceed into the future.

 

Second, the source material for this thesis was compiled

 

from documentation and literature not accessable to previous

 

authors. Key among these sources is recently declassified

 

documentation from the White House, the Department of State,

 

and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); documentation

 

provided by representatives of Cuba and the former Soviet

 

Union during the January 1994 Havana Conference on the Cuban

 

Missile Crisis; and testimony provided by Fidel Castro,

 

General Anatoly I. Gribkov, General of the Army of the Russian

 

Federation and General Inspector of the Russian Ministry of

 

Defense, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S.

 

McNamara. In addition, personal interviews with Dr. Gregorio

 

DelReal, a former professor at the University of Havana who

 

not only knew and taught Castro, but also resided in Cuba

 

during the Castro takeover, and Mark Falcoff, resident scholar

 

at the American Enterprise Institute, provide a breadth and

 

understanding of Cuba, Castro, and Cuban affairs not

 

previously consolidated into any other single work.

 

And third, this thesis blends an examination and analysis

 

of four key areas: (1) the historical relationship between

 

the United States and Cuba, (2) the factors influencing

 

Castro's rise to power, (3) the factors impacting Castro's

 

decision to accept communism and an alliance with the Soviets,

 

and (4) Cuba's actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

Unique in its approach, this methodology subsequently provides

 

the reader with not only a capsulized base of knowledge from

 

which to develop a more thorough understanding and evaluation

 

of Cuba's role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but also an

 

understanding of the human environment that continues to

 

impact Cuba's relationship with the United States today.

 

CHAPTER 2

 

THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA - A LONG HISTORY

 

 

 

In his October 22nd "Report to the People," President

 

Kennedy described Cuba as having a "...special and historical

 

relationship to the United States..." Upon more thorough

 

examination, however, the relationship between the United

 

States and Cuba is a complex, intricate web based on

 

misperception and good intentions gone bad. Although Cuba and

 

the United States share a common history, how this history is

 

perceived depends on the vantage point from which it is

 

viewed. When discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1992,

 

former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara best summed up

 

these differences in perception by stating that:

 

...our shared histories [Cuba's and the United States']

are viewed very differently by both countries ... this

divergence contributed both to the sharp break in

relations between our nations thirty-one years ago, and

to the attitudes with which we viewed the missile crisis.

Let me give four illustrations of these differences of

view. First, Americans have been taught that the U.S.

liberated Cuba from Spain, while Cubans learn that it was

the result of their long struggle for independence.

Second, Americans view themselves as idealistic and

selfless in not annexing Cuba after the end of the

Spanish-American war, whereas Cubans think the U.S. used

every chance to dominate their nation. Third, Americans

think they used the Platt Amendment2 to mediate and

 

____________________

2Named for Republican Senator Orville Hitchcock Platt who,

while serving as the Chairman of the Committee on Cuban Relations,

introduced the amendment in 1901 as part of the United States

Army's appropriations bill. The Platt Amendment provided for the

withdrawal of U.S. forces from Cuba following the end of the

Spanish American War in 1898. In addition to restricting Cuba from

entering into any treaty with another country that would cause it

 

resolve internal disputes in Cuba, whereas Cubans tend to

think that the amendment was designed to permit the U.S.

to intervene in Cuban affairs for its own selfish

purposes; and finally, Americans tend to think that their

investments in Cuba contributed to the nations's

development, whereas the Cuban government has tended to

look at the economic relationship as exploitative.13

 

To understand Cuba's role in the Cuban Missile Crisis,

 

then, it is necessary to understand U.S.-Cuban relations

 

developed. To that end, this chapter will examine how and why

 

U.S-Cuban relations developed, what factors caused those

 

relations to change, and, more importantly, what political and

 

socioeconomic factors influenced the rise of Fidel Castro.

 

The United States' association with Cuba began with a

 

shared colonialism. Both countries were discovered by

 

Columbus in 1492, with Cuba emerging as a Spanish colony. In

 

addition to the discovery of gold and development of farming,

 

Cuba served as a transit station between Europe and the New

 

World. Due to its strategic location, forts were built to

 

protect Spanish trading galleons. Negro slaves were used for

 

forced labor while the Spanish also exploited the native

 

Indian population through an encomienda system of forced labor

 

and tribute. In actuality, Cuba was of little interest to

 

Spain, who considered the island as "not a colony to be

 

 

____________________

to lose its independence, the amendment also restricted Cuba from

increasing its public debt beyond the capacity of its ordinary

revenues to pay. By the terms of the amendment, Cuba was required

to permit U.S. intervention so as to preserve Cuban independence.

After considerable debate and insistance from the United States,

Cuba incorporated the amendment into its Constitution of 1901 and

treaty of 1903 with the United States. The United States

subsequently intervened in Cuba on several occasions over the next

thirty years. In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

persuaded Congress to abrograte the Platt Amendment at which time

a new treaty was then negotiated.

 

developed on its own." Consequently, under corrupt,

 

incompetent Spanish administration, Cuba flourished as a haven

 

for bandits, smugglers, and prostitutes.14

 

During the 18th century the signing of the Treaty of

 

Utrecht in 1713 between Britain and France and the rise of

 

Philip V to the Spanish throne, allowed British vessels to

 

carry African slaves and an annual cargo of British goods to

 

Cuba. Sugar production and tobacco soon became important

 

trade commodities in European markets. In August 1762, a

 

British naval force under the command of Sir George Pocock

 

laid seige to the island's most prosperous city and the

 

Spanish Main's richest port - Havana.15 Occupying the city

 

for ten months, the British opened the city to free trade.

 

Goods and slaves were imported at low prices. For Cuba,

 

British occupation resulted in the industrial development of

 

the island's major export item - sugar.

 

 

THE GROWTH OF THE SUGAR INDUSTRY, CUBAN PROSPERITY, AND

 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF U.S. -CUBAN RELATIONS

 

 

U.S. independence signaled the beginning of U.S. -Cuban

 

relations. In close proximity to the North American

 

continent, the young nation provided Cuba with new consumer

 

markets.

 

In 1796, slave revolts in Haiti, Cuba's chief competitor

 

in the sugar market, led to the destruction of Haiti's sugar

 

industry. An estimated 300,000 French Haitian refugees fled

 

Haiti for Cuba, bringing with them skilled mulatoo laborers

 

and more advanced sugar technology and managerial skills. By

 

the end of the 18th century, Cuba was transformed into an

 

economically viable Spanish possession. "King Sugar" became

 

Cuba's major export while the Creoles who both owned the land

 

and cultivated the sugar formed Cuba's new elite. The use of

 

Negro slaves and the availability of new markets enabled

 

agricultural production to thrive in Cuba. In addition to

 

sugar, coffee and tobacco soon became major export items to

 

both the United States and Europe.16 As sugar and coffee

 

cultivation decreased the availability of land in Cuba, the

 

need to import basic foodstuffs and other provisions grew.

 

Thus, Cuba's closest neighbor, the United States, became one

 

of the island's chief trading markets and suppliers.

 

Although the American government favored free trade with

 

Cuba, it opposed Cuban independence. Witnessing the slave

 

revolt in Haiti and the success of the slaves in achieving

 

political power, the Federalist administrations of George

 

Washington and John Adams feared the social, economic, and

 

political effects just such a revolt would have on America's

 

slave-holding South. In consequence, when formatulating Cuban

 

policy, the American government was cautious to distinguish

 

between commercial regulations in the island's ports and the

 

politicial structure of Spanish rule.17

 

However, U.S. attempts to distinguish between commercial

 

and political involvement in Cuba did not last long. Cuba's

 

close proximity to America would ensure that the fate of Cuba

 

was inextricably linked with that of the United States. In

 

1823, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams expressed this

 

concern when stating:

 

Cuba, almost in sight of our shores, from a multitude of

considerations has become an object of transcendent

importance to the political and commercial interests of

our Union. Its commanding position, with reference to

the Gulf of Mexico and the West India seas; the character

of its population; its situation midway between our

Southern Coast and the island of St. Domingo; its safe

and capacious harbor of Havana...; the nature of its

productions and of its wants furnishing the supplies and

needing the returns of a commerce immensely profitable,

and mutually beneficial, give it an importance in the sum

of our national interests and little inferior to that

which binds the different members of this Union

together.18

 

 

During the 1820s, wealthy Creole/Cuban planters grew

 

dissatisfied with the ineffectiveness of Spanish rule. Afraid

 

that England would force Spain to abolish slavery and that the

 

continued political instability of Spanish rule would cause a

 

Haitian-type slave revolt, Cuba looked to the United States

 

for help and for possible annexation.19 Since slavery was an

 

important facet of Cuban economic existence, the pro-slavery

 

South became Cuba's natural ally. However, those in the

 

United States who opposed slavery also opposed the annexation

 

of a slave-holding Cuba. The addition of another slave

 

holding state to the Union could potentially tip the advantage

 

of slave versus nonslave states in the union. Consequently,

 

caught in the political struggle surrounding the issue of

 

slavery, discussion concerning Cuban annexation was

 

temporarily tabled.

 

In fact for most Americans, as long as Cuba remained

 

firmly in the hands of the Spanish, the United States was

 

content to leave Cuba alone. Aware that Spain's military and

 

economic power were quickly eroding, the United States

 

preferred to leave Cuba under a weak Spanish monarch who posed

 

no real threat to U.S. security or national interests. If

 

anyone else was to have Cuba, some U.S. politicians and

 

business interests reasoned, it would have to be the United

 

States.20

 

Concerned, however, that Cuba would fall into the hands

 

of a much stronger European power, e.g., the French or the

 

English, President James Monroe articulated his concerns in a

 

message to Congress on December 2, 1823.21 In his now

 

famous statement, the Monroe Doctrine, he warned Europe

 

against interfering in the internal affairs of the American

 

states and in further colonizing the Americas.

 

However, westward expansionism unleashed by the United

 

States pursuit of its "manifest destiny" caused the issue of

 

Cuban annexation to be reconsidered. With California annexed

 

following the Mexican War, the idea of building a canal

 

linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans turned many in

 

Congress to thoughts of Cuban annexation. Aware of Cuban

 

plans to rebel against Spain, President James Polk, in 1849,

 

offerred Spain $100 million dollars for the purchase of Cuba.

 

Already humiliated, however, from the loss of other former

 

colonies, Spain not only rejected the United States' offer but

 

replied that it would "sooner...see the island transferred to

 

any [other] power [then] would [we] prefer seeing it sunk in

 

the ocean."22

 

Following James Polk, attempts to acquire Cuba were again

 

tabled. Neither Presidents Zachary Taylor nor Millard

 

Fillmore pursued Cuba's acquisition. Rather, both presidents

 

attempted to enforce neutrality laws in order to prevent

 

American assistance to Cuban rebels. However, Franklin Pierce

 

pursued the idea by commissioning a study that resulted in the

 

"Ostend Manifesto" of 1854. The manifesto argued that the

 

United States was justified in occupying Cuba if conditions in

 

Cuba threatened the "internal peace and. existence" of the

 

Union. The issue of slavey, however, again proved to be a

 

major impediment to the plan. As the United States turned to

 

grapple with the Civil War and its aftermath, the acquisition

 

of Cuba was again tabled as the United States dealt with more

 

forboding crises.23

 

As the United States dealt with its Civil War, Cuba

 

turned to separating itself from colonial rule. During

 

October 1868, a rebellion occurred in Cuba that was to lead to

 

the island's Ten Years War. Although unsuccessful, the

 

rebellion fostered, for the first time, the idea of Cuban

 

independence. Cuban regionalism with its emphasis on patria

 

chica or local loyalties gave way to a belief in the

 

"fatherland."24 National symbols such as Cuba's national

 

anthem, flag, and national weapon, the machete, became a part

 

of Cuba's heritage. Most importantly, the dedication of the

 

"mambises" or those who had abandoned positions of importance

 

and comfort to fight against the Spanish became, for future

 

Cuban generations, an example of unselfish sacrifice for the

 

fatherland.

 

Although the United States maintained its neutrality and

 

did not intervene in Cuba's Ten Years War, the revolt in Cuba

 

not only drew the interest and sympathy of the American public

 

but also caused deep and bitter division within the United

 

States. Those supporting the Cuban revolution saw the

 

rebellion as the self-determination by an oppressed people.

 

Believing Spanish colonialism to be corrupt, archaic, and

 

tyrannical, they conjectured that sooner or later the United

 

States would have to end the Spanish carnage. Others, to

 

included President Ulysses S. Grant, preferred a cautious

 

approach of "wait and see." While still others, to include

 

Grant's Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, were adamently

 

opposed to any recognition of the Cuban revolutionaries.

 

Although sharing the American public's disgust with Spanish

 

rule and slavery in Cuba, Fish believed the revolution

 

exercised no real power, possessed no real government, and

 

suprevised no real control over the guerrilla bands comprising

 

the revolutionaries.25

 

Attempts by the United States to either mediate or end

 

the Ten Years War proved unsuccessful. Spain refused to

 

accept the terms of a U.S. proposed agreement while the lack

 

of a cohesive U.S. policy and international support thwarted

 

all other attempts. The most that either President Andrew

 

Johnson or Ulysses Grant were able to do was to assert the no-

 

transfer principle and ensure it was placed in the Monroe

 

Doctrine.

 

 

THE POSTWAR YEARS

 

 

Subsequently, the Ten Years War not only affected Cuba

 

politically but also economically. Supporters and

 

symapathizers of the Cuban cause either lost their fortunes

 

during the war or saw their properties pass to loyalists who

 

had sided with the Spanish. With the abolition of slavery in

 

Cuba in 1886, Cuban sugar plantations suffered and many

 

Spanish and Cuban enterprises went bankrupt. As the Cuban

 

economy plummeted, U.S. interests began buying sugar estates

 

and mining interests. When the expansion of European beet

 

sugar markets closed those markets to Cuba, the United States

 

became the largest and most important buyer of the island's

 

sugar. In 1890, the McKinley Tariff, which placed raw sugar

 

on the free trade list, increased Cuban-American trade,

 

especially the sugar trade, even more. Although by 1895

 

control of the economy was still largely in the hands of the

 

Spanish, American capital and influence, particularly in the

 

sugar industry, exerted a dominate influence. Cuba became

 

dependent on U.S. markets which were now chiefly controlled by

 

a single company, the American Sugar Refining Company.

 

Controlling nineteen Cuban refineries, the American Sugar

 

Company supplied 70 to 90 percent of the sugar consumed by the

 

United States. In addition to sugar, U.S. private investors

 

also entered Cuban iron ore exploration, cattle raising, fruit

 

and tobacco plantations, and public utility companies.

 

Subsequently, by 1895, estimates of U.S. private enterprises

 

placed the total amount of investments at $50 million US

 

dollars.26

 

JOSE MARTI AND THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

 

 

Following the Ten Years War, many Cubans pressed the

 

Spanish government to implement "autonomismo" or autonomous

 

rule for Cuba. Patterned after the British colonial model,

 

this system of local self-government would require extensive

 

economic and political reform. However, by 1892, as Cubans

 

continued to experience Spain's oppressive and corrupt

 

colonial rule, it became evident that Spain had no intentions

 

of instituting change or reform in its policies. As

 

discontent and disillusionment grew, a move toward

 

independence again took shape. This time, the leadership for

 

the independence movement was provided by Cuba's "Apostle of

 

Independence" - Jose Marti.

 

In his "Fundamentals and Secret Guidelines of the Cuban

 

Revolutionary Party," Marti outlined the goals of the

 

revolution as equality, freedom from foreign political and

 

economic domination, and the establishment of democratic

 

processes. More importantly, Marti emphasized the need to not

 

only free Cuba from foreign power, which included the United

 

States, but also to end Cuba's historical colonial role.

 

Although viewed as "anti-Yankee," Marti favored a Latin

 

America patterned in the image of the United States. "The

 

Cubans," he wrote,

 

admire this nation, the greatest ever built by freedom,

but they distrust the evil conditions that, like worms in

the blood, have begun their work of destruction in this

mighty Republic...They cannot honestly believe that

excess individualism and reverence for wealth are

preparing the United States to be the typical nation of

liberty.27

 

Marti advocated friendlier U.S-Cuban relations as well as U.S.

 

support as long as that support did not result in Cuba

 

becoming politically or economically dependent on the United

 

States.

 

In February 1895, the war for Cuban independence

 

commenced. Despite Marti's death in the beginning of the war,

 

the Cubans achieved minor success and set up a provisional

 

republican government in the eastern part of the island.28

 

Most of Cuba, however, remained under Spanish control with

 

with many Cubans resorting to a scorched-earth policy to

 

render the island worthless to Spain. By using guerilla

 

tactics, the Cubans were able to hold off the Spanish and

 

refuse any offers of surrender that did not also guarantee

 

independence.

 

In the United States, the Cuban rebellion was met with

 

deep concern. Economically, the war disrupted lucrative trade

 

and jeopardized millions of dollars worth of American property

 

in Cuba. In addition, investigations and representations on

 

behalf of American citizens injured by the war, the drop in

 

customs receipts, and the requirement to pay for coastal

 

patrols to enforce U.S. neutrality created an expense that the

 

federal budget did not want to deal with.29 Strategically,

 

controlling the isthmus of Panama and its maritime approaches

 

was considered essential to U.S. national security.

 

Accomplishing this goal meant establishing a strong U.S. naval

 

presence, with access to a port in the Caribbean, preferably

 

in Cuba.30 A chief proponent of U.S. presence in Cuba was

 

Alfred Thayer Mahan. Then a professor at the U.S. Navy's

 

Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Mahan's

 

influential writings called the attention of the American

 

public to the importance of national security. As Mahan

 

maintained, this security could best be provided by pursuing

 

such measures as American ownership of an Isthmian canal and

 

the acquisition of naval bases in Cuba. Finally, American

 

public opinion pushed for intervention. The American press,

 

especially the "yellow press" led by William Randolph Hearst's

 

New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, printed

 

gruesome news of Spanish atrocities and Cuban suffering

 

although ignoring the brutal acts of Cuban insurgents. In

 

addition, Cuban insurgent factions in the United States fanned

 

the flames of humanitarian outrage. Campaigning for

 

American financial support and supplies, the insurgents

 

preached the cause of Cuban independence and support for the

 

insurgents.31

 

For his part, American President Grover Cleveland

 

preferred to follow a policy of neutrality toward Cuba. After

 

repeated offers to assist Spain with negotiating a settlement

 

failed, Cleveland recommended to Congress that an American

 

warship be sent to Cuba to demonstrate U.S. concern for

 

American lives and property. On December 8, 1896, the idea was

 

approved by Congress. Additionally, as with American

 

presidents before him, Cleveland also toyed with the idea of

 

purchasing Cuba and "incorporating" the island into the United

 

States. However, Cleveland was not convinced that the Cubans

 

were capable of self-government. Although considering an idea

 

to grant the insurgent's belligerency, he rejected the idea

 

when he realized that recognizing a new government in Cuba

 

would enable Spain to abrogate its responsiblity to protect

 

American property still remaining in Cuba.

 

Upon assuming the presidency in 1897, William McKinley

 

also considered purchasing Cuba. Rather than pursuing this

 

course, however, he opted to "persuade" Spain to end the war

 

by threatening U.S. military intervention. Finally presenting

 

Spain with an ultimatum in the autumn of 1897, Spain reacted

 

by promising reforms. Although the solution seemed to satisfy

 

President McKinley, it only angered the insurgents all the

 

more, causing the war to continue on.

 

However, when riots broke out in Havana on January 12,

 

1898, McKinley responded by sending one of the U.S. Navy's

 

newest warships, the USS MAINE, to Havana. On February 15,

 

1898, the USS MAINE exploded in Havana Harbor, killing all who

 

were on board. When the American Naval Commission was unable

 

to determine who was responsible for the MAINE's explosion,

 

the United States held Spain responsible since the accident

 

occurred within Spanish jurisdiction. President McKinley

 

demanded Spain end its corrupt, despotic governance of Cuba

 

and enter into negotiations that would end the war. He later

 

modified this demand, stating that the only suitable

 

reparations was an agreement of freedom and independence for

 

"the people of the island of Cuba..."32 When Spain failed to

 

agree to US concessions, the United States declared war on

 

April 24, 1898.

 

For the United States, the Spanish American War was

 

short, decisive and popular.33 In June 1889, 17,000 U.S.

 

troops landed at Siboney and Daiquiri, east of Santiago de

 

Cuba. On July 1, the Americans stormed the Spanish outposts

 

at El Caney and San Juan Heights.34 Spanish resistance was

 

stubborn and casualties were heavy on both sides. However,

 

with the heights soon in U.S. hands, the Spanish fleet was

 

forced to either surrender or escape to open sea to escape

 

U.S. warships. Not accepting surrender, the ships of the

 

Spanish fleet chose the latter course and were either sunk,

 

driven ashore, or completely disabled. This destruction of

 

the Spanish fleet virtually ended the war for Spain.

 

On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed and

 

the war ended. Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba and

 

ceded Puerto Rico to the United States. In the U.S. Congress,

 

the Teller Amendment named for Senator Henry M. Teller pledged

 

that the United States would "disclaim any disposition or

 

intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction or control

 

over said island, except for the pacification thereof, and [to

 

assert] its determination; when that is accomplished, to leave

 

the government and control of the island to its people."35

 

 

THE FIRST INTERVENTION

 

With the end of the war in Cuba and the termination of

 

Spanish sovereignty on January 1, 1899, the United States

 

assumed responsibility for the island's government. The goal

 

of American policy was to pacify Cuba and to eventually turn

 

the government over to the Cuban people. President McKinley's

 

appointee for the military governorship of Cuba was Major

 

General John R. Brooke who was succeeded a year later by

 

General Leonard Wood.36 Zealously attacking what he believed

 

to be Cuba's major problems, Wood's administration made

 

signifcant advances in roadbuilding, judicial reform, and in

 

health and education. Hospitals were built, sanitation and

 

health conditions improved, and yellow fever eradicated,

 

primarily through the work of Cuban scientist Carlos J.

 

Finlay. A public school system was established and the

 

University of Havana modernized.37

 

However, attempts to "Americanize" Cuba and establish a

 

government in the American model proved unsuccessful. For a

 

Cuban society raised under colonial Spanish control, political

 

stability based on an absolute moral code, free enterprise

 

economics, a theory of public interest, and a just social

 

order through law were alien concepts. Although a Cuban

 

constitution was drafted in 1901, it proved ineffectual in

 

bringing about necessary social and economic changes.

 

Subsequently, the Platt Amendment, which was appended to the

 

Cuban Constitution and later embodied in the Permanent Treaty

 

of 1903 between the United States and Cuba, dictated U.S.

 

policy toward Cuba.

 

Far reaching in implication, the Platt Amendment defined

 

U.S. -Cuban relations for the next 33 years. Proposed by

 

Secretary of War Elihu Root, the Platt Amendment applied the

 

Monroe Doctrine to Cuban relations by requiring that "...the

 

government of Cuba shall never enter into any treaty or other

 

compact with any foreign power...which will tend to impair the

 

independence of Cuba...or permit any foreign power to

 

obtain...for military purposes...lodgement in ...said

 

island."38 Stating that Cuba could not "contract any public

 

debt" the servicing of which might impair her solvency, the

 

Platt Amendment also required that "...to enable the United

 

States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect

 

the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the

 

government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States

 

lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain

 

specified points, to be agreed upon with the President of the

 

United States." This provision thus enabled the United States

 

to acquire rights to lease a naval coaling station at

 

Guantanamo Bay.39

 

Designed to protect Cuban independence as well as U.S.

 

interests in Cuba, the Platt Amendment only served to

 

perpetuate Cuban political irresponsibility. Developing what

 

soon became known as the "Platt Amendment mentality," Cuba

 

grew dependent upon U.S. intervention and protection, thus

 

stifling any attempts to develop any form of responsible self-

 

government.

 

 

THE SECOND INTERVENTION

 

 

Following the ratification of the Platt Amendment, US

 

occupation forces remained on the island for almost a year

 

until General Wood transferred power to Cuba's newly elected

 

president, Thomas Estrada Palma on May 20, 1902.

 

Estrada's first administration corresponded to a period

 

of growth in the Cuban sugar industry. Sound financial

 

management kept taxes low and surplus cash flow high.

 

However, the pattern of corruption and the political attitudes

 

perpetrated by a weak Spanish administration during Cuba's

 

colonial period remained. Public office was viewed as a

 

source of political profit with personalismo substituting for

 

principle.40 This corruption coupled with: (1) political

 

discord sparked by bitter factionalism, regional loyalites,

 

and disagreement over the Platt Amendment; (2) a dangerous

 

tendency to solve differences through violence; and (3) a lack

 

of national unity and purpose, led to increasing unrest and

 

instability.41

 

Consequently, in 1906 the United States, in keeping with

 

the provisions of the Platt Amendment, intervened a second

 

time in Cuba when President Estrada Palma's government was

 

overthrown by a Liberal Party revolt.42 Occupying Cuba so as

 

to "restore order," a provisional government under U.S.

 

auspices was established.43 Although President Theodore

 

Roosevelt was not eager to involve the United States in "a

 

destructive and wearisome civil war," U.S. forces remained in

 

Cuba until 1909. Despite this concern, however, the

 

cornerstone of U.S. Latin American policy as a whole under

 

Roosevelt became one of intervention.44

 

The second period of U.S. occupation in Cuba differed

 

significantly from the first. The United States was not eager

 

to govern Cuba for a second time and the provisional governor,

 

Charles E. Magoon, turned to dispensing government sinecures

 

or botellas in order to pacify quarrelling Cuban factions.45

 

Although Magoon implemented a series of public works projects,

 

organized a modern army, and introduced what appeared to be

 

one of the major U.S. objectives of this second occupation,

 

that of enacting fair legislation to prevent future civil

 

wars, his accomplishments were overshadowed by extravagant

 

spending that left Cuba with a huge floating debt.

 

Consequently, the second U.S. intervention not only

 

strengthened the Platt Amendment mentality, but also increased

 

doubts among Cubans about Cuba's ability to succeed at self-

 

government. Many Cuban leaders, intellectuals, and writers

 

became disillusioned with the possibility of independence and

 

transferred this hopelessness to the Cuban population.46 As

 

a result, irresponsibility and a growing cynicism increased as

 

did the reliance on violence to resolve political differences.

 

As unrest in Cuba grew, U.S. intervention continued into

 

the next decade. In 1915, U.S. Marines landed in Cuba to put

 

down an uprising of the Agrupacion Independente de Color

 

(Independent Color Association) party; in 1917, U.S.

 

intervention was required to resolve a Liberal Party rebellion

 

protesting the fraudulent reelection of Cuba's then incumbent

 

president, President Mario Garcia Menocal.47 Again, in 1920,

 

when fraud was claimed during Cuban elections, General Enoch

 

Crowder, a member of an independent Cuban consulting board,

 

intervened on behalf of the United States. Retained as a U.S.

 

advisor to Cuba, General Crowder remained to assist with a new

 

election and in establishing an "honest cabinet"48.

 

In the early 1920's, Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of

 

State under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge,

 

began the process of stepping back from the Roosevelt Latin

 

American policy of intervention. An incomplete process,

 

however, none of the policies specifically requiring or

 

authorizing American intervention were ever renounced. Calvin

 

Coolidge, the most successful of the noninterventionists,

 

simply terminated American meddling in Cuban domestic affairs,

 

leaving the Cuban government "free to develop into the type of

 

corrupt dictatorship that was seemingly indigenous to the

 

soil."49

 

Throughout this period, however, U.S. economic presence

 

in Cuba, especially in the sugar industry, continued to

 

expand. A number of measures such as the Treaty of Relations

 

in May 1903, encouraged U.S.-Cuban economic ties and trade by

 

lowering tariffs for Cuban sugar exported to the United States

 

and providing preferential treatment to U.S. goods exported to

 

Cuba.50 Although a good crop and market conditions caused a

 

boom in the sugar market during World War I, this prosperity

 

ended following the termination of the war. During the summer

 

of 1920, prices fell 83 percent per pound. In addition, a

 

higher U.S. sugar tariff caused many Cuban-owned sugar

 

concerns to be foreclosed by U.S. banks. As a result, U.S.

 

investments in Cuba soared, reaching $1.2 billion dollars by

 

1924. Half the Cuban sugar industry was controlled by the

 

United States, which soon expanded into Cuba's public

 

utilities. The United States became Cuba's most important

 

export and import market, supplying 75 percent of Cuba's

 

imports.51 By 1929, U.S. investors acquired $1.5 billion

 

dollars worth of property in Cuba.

 

The economic and domestic conditions created in the United

 

States by the stock market crash of 1929, however, were

 

mirrored in the Cuban economy. U.S. trade in Cuba dropped by

 

90 percent and U.S. bankers retreated from many major

 

projects.52 Defaults and bankruptcies were common and as

 

Cuban unemployment rose, so did opposition to Cuban dependence

 

on U.S. business interests.

 

 

THE GROWTH OF OPPOSITION PARTIES

 

 

It was during this time period that unexpected opposition

 

to U.S. intervention developed. A Cuban student protest

 

movement initially established to pursue academic reform was

 

circumvented as the reform movement turned to political

 

issues. By the 1920's, efforts at reform the movement ceased

 

as students began to blame the United States and its close

 

supervision of Cuban affairs as the cause of the island's many

 

problems.53 A key leader of the reform movement was Julio

 

Antonio Mella, a young law student with strong anti-American

 

feelings. Although disposed to agree with his colleagues

 

concerning U.S. policies, Mella also viewed the movement as

 

"another battle of the class struggle."54 Through his

 

protest activities, Mella became associated with Carlos

 

Balino, a prestigious figure of Cuba's War of Independence

 

and, later, founder of the Communist Association of Havana.

 

In 1925, Balino and Mella called for a congress of all

 

Communist groups on the island. Despite its meager

 

attendance, the congress developed into the Cuban Communist

 

Party of which Mella became one of its most important

 

leaders.55

 

In the mid-1920's, Cuba's President-elect, Gerardo

 

Machado, became the target of Mella and a small group of

 

students. Although supported by business and conservative

 

sectors due to the success of his economic programs, Machado

 

won the support of the Cuban military through bribes and

 

threats. Key government positions at the local and national

 

level were filled by military officers while those officers

 

considered "disloyal" were purged from their ranks. In

 

addition, Machado prevented political dissension by aligning

 

the two opposition parties, the smaller Popular Party and the

 

Conservative Party with his own Liberal Party. Garnering

 

growing opposition, Machado was labeled the "tropical

 

Mussolini" by Mella for his ruthless authoritarianism.56

 

In November 1928, Machado was reelected to a second term

 

during a fake election in which Machado ran as the only

 

candidate.57 The United States, busy with domestic and

 

internal concerns, was not eager to become involved in Cuban

 

affairs as long as Machado maintained order and a friendly

 

relationship with the United States. However, an increasing

 

number of diverse student protest groups rose to confront the

 

Machado regime. Chief among the groups were the Directorio

 

Estudiantil Universitario (University Student Directorate or

 

Directorate); the left wing Ala Izquierda Estudiantil (Student

 

Left Wing) which became a tool of the Cuban Communist Party;

 

the Union Nacionalista which was organized by a War of

 

Independence colonel Carlos Mendieta and former Cuban

 

President Menocal; and the clandestine ABC, which was composed

 

of Cuban intellectuals, many of whom were Harvard University

 

graduates as well as middle class members of Cuban society.

 

The student demonstrations became increasingly more violent as

 

confrontations between the students and the government turned

 

into riots. Forbidden by police to hold organized meetings,

 

the students of the Directorate developed tangana or protest

 

gatherings that turned from clashes with police into organized

 

violence and terrorism.58 Members of the Union Nacionalista

 

staged a short-lived uprising in Pinar del Rio Province while

 

the ABC used sabotage and terrorist actions to undermine

 

Machado's position. Cuba was in chaos. Machado's gunmen

 

became a common sight in the streets of Havana while the rural

 

countryside was ruled by lawlessness and terror.

 

As the situation in Cuba worsened, the U.S. attempted to

 

resolve the differences between Machado and the opposition

 

groups by sending Assistant Secretary of State Benjamin Sumner

 

Welles to Cuba in April 1933.59 Upon arrival, Welles met a

 

Cuba divided between those who, for political and economic

 

reasons, favored U.S. intervention and those advocating

 

Machado's removal and Cuban independence. As the unrest

 

continued, labor strikes and the loss of the Army's support

 

convinced Machado that he had lost the battle to remain in

 

power. Subsequently, in August 1933, Machado relinquished

 

power and fled Cuba.

 

The abrupt departure of Machado was followed by the rapid

 

formation of a coalition government under Dr. Carlos Manuel de

 

Cespedes y Quesada.60 However, the oppostion movement that

 

had successfully displaced Machado now took the form of a

 

revolt as various factions fought for power. The new

 

coalition government under Cespedes barely survived as the

 

worsening depression intensified Cuba's economic conditions.

 

In reaction, the United States under President Franklin

 

Delano Roosevelt ordered two destroyers to Cuban waters.

 

Maintaining that the warships were not symbolic of U.S.

 

intentions to intervene in Cuban affairs, the President's

 

action appeared to violate his newly established "Good

 

Neighbor" policy. This policy, however, which declared, inter

 

alia, that "No state [had] the right to intervene in the

 

internal or external affairs of another" excluded Cuba since

 

the Permanent Treaty of 1903 (which authorized U.S.

 

intervention in Cuba) still existed.61 To correct the

 

discrepancy, President Roosevelt abrogated the Permanent

 

Treaty and its binding restrictions in May 1934. With that,

 

the United States gave up the right to intervene in Cuban

 

affairs and lifted restrictions on Cuba's ability to negotiate

 

with other foreign powers and borrow money.

 

For a Cuban political system used to American

 

intervention, however, this sudden reversal in American policy

 

appeared to only add to the growing state of chaos. For

 

thirty years, American diplomatic favoritism and recognition

 

had influenced Cuban politics. Accordingly, as each political

 

faction vied for power following the departure of Machado,

 

each also attempted to meet Ambassador Welles' criteria for

 

good government and gain the diplomatic recognition needed to

 

guarantee permanent political power.

 

BATISTA COMES TO POWER

 

 

 

On the nights of September 3 and 4, 1933, the unrest in

 

Cuba came to an end. At Camp Columbia in Havana, army

 

noncommissioned officers displeased with proposed pay

 

reductions and a promotion freeze rebelled and took command of

 

the camp. Known as the "Sergeants Revolt," the group was led

 

by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar.62 Batista, who was

 

the Army's best stenographer, had befriended many of the

 

students from the Directorate who had been tried for

 

participating in the anti-Machado protests. When approached

 

by these same students following the Sergeants Revolt, Batista

 

agreed to join ranks in order to overthrow Cespedes' and

 

establish a five-man pentarchy (a five-member civilian

 

executive commission). Alarmed over this unexpected mutiny,

 

Welles cabled the President on September 5th, requesting that

 

three U.S. warships, two for Havana and one for Santiago, and

 

1,000 troops be sent to Cuba to safeguard the Cespedes

 

government. Opposed to intervention, the President rejected

 

the idea, believing that it not only constituted an undue

 

expression of partiality and violated neutrality, but also

 

condemned any Cuban administration that received U.S. support

 

as a creation of Washington.63 Although the President did

 

eventually agree to send the warships, this action was viewed

 

only as a precaution and was not considered a direct

 

intervention in internal Cuban politics.

 

Without the support of the United States, the ineffective

 

pentarchy collapsed. In an attempt to maintain some semblance

 

of control, Batista and the members of the Directorate met to

 

appoint a provisional president for Cuba. Their selection was

 

Dr. Ramon Grau San Martin, a University of Havana professor

 

who had been supportive of the Directorate during their anti-

 

Machado opposition. Heavily influenced by the Directorate,

 

Grau purged Machado followers from the government, dissolved

 

the old political party machine, and gave autonomy to the

 

University of Havana, freeing it from governmental influence.

 

Opposed to the dominance of foreign capital, Grau abrogated

 

the Cuban Constitution of 1901, promulgated provisional

 

statutes to govern Cuba, and called for a constitutional

 

convention with elections to follow in April 1934.64

 

Attempting to institute social reforms, Grau also established

 

an eight hour workday, a minimum wage system, compulsory

 

arbitration of labor-management arguments, and the beginnings

 

of agrarian reforms.65 For his part Batista, who had been

 

given the rank of colonel by the former pentarchy, was made

 

head of the Cuban army, and promptly began promoting enlisted

 

Cuban soldiers into the Cuban army's officer corps.

 

This overthrow of the Cespedes regime was considered a

 

defeat for President Roosevelt's new Cuban policy and, in

 

particular, Welles' mediation efforts. When Grau seized and

 

nationalized two American-owned sugar mills closed down due to

 

labor problems and temporarily assumed control of the Cuban

 

Electric Company, also closed due to labor problems and rate

 

disputes, U.S. apprehensions mounted.66 Concerned that

 

another revolt would occur, Welles appealed to the President

 

to send a strong statement to the Grau government calling for

 

conciliation between the opposition factions. When the

 

President denied the request, Welles recommended that

 

recognition not be granted to the Grau government.

 

As Grau continued to deal with the continued instability,

 

Batista gradually distanced himself from the Grau regime and

 

soon emerged as the only individual who could bring law and

 

order to Cuba. Following a conversation with Batista on

 

September 21, 1933, Welles, who was apparently impressed by

 

Batista's ability, reported his respect for Batista's

 

"reasonableness." Informing Batista that the only criterion

 

for U.S. diplomatic recognition was a government supported by

 

the people and capable of maintaining order, Welles continued

 

to explain that the United States would "...welcome any

 

government in Cuba, no matter by what individuals it was

 

composed [as long as it] fulfilled the requirements made clear

 

in the official declaration of the Secretary of State."67

 

Thus, following his meeting with Welles, Batista met with

 

student leaders and established a compromise by which Grau was

 

to be substituted by a new president, one who would be

 

mutually acceptable to both the students and the army.

 

Continuing to operate outside the Grau government, Batista

 

announced to the students in late October, 1933, that the army

 

had selected Carlos Mendieta to be the new president, and

 

warned the students against opposing the selection.

 

In late 1933, Welles was replaced by Jefferson Caffery as

 

the United States Ambassador to Cuba. Caffery shared Welles'

 

assessment of Grau's ineffectiveness, and believed the Grau

 

government would end only through Grau's resignation or by an

 

army coup. On January 13, 1934, Batista met with Caffery and

 

reconfirmed the criterion for U.S. diplomatic recognition.

 

Additionally, he declared his intent to make Carlos Mendieta

 

Cuba's next president. Mendieta, however, pushed to obtain

 

recognition of his soon to be new government prior to his

 

appointment as President of Cuba. Caffery considered the

 

proposal, fearing that to do otherwise would drive Batista to

 

the leftists or cause him to establish a military

 

dictatorship. Although President Roosevelt refused to grant

 

Mendieta diplomatic recognition in advance, within ten days

 

Grau resigned as President of Cuba, Mendieta assumed Grau's

 

former position as President, and the United States extended

 

diplomatic recognition to the new government of Cuba.

 

Although short, the revolution of 1933 had a profound

 

impact on Cuba. The army under Batista was transformed into

 

a political weapon that was soon used to dominate Cuban

 

politics. Corruption returned as Batista allied himself with

 

many of the former politicians expelled from power with

 

Machado. Repression flourished while opposition groups

 

resorted to the terrorism and sabotage of the anti-Machado

 

years. The students who were so important in Machado's

 

overthrow became disillusioned and frustrated. Many turned to

 

radical political groups such as the Communist Party while

 

others shed their idealism to share in the coruption of

 

Batista's regime. Others still attempted to carry on the

 

revolutionary zeal by organizing the Partido Revolucionario

 

Cubano (the Autenticos). A political party that took its name

 

from Marti's Partido Revolucionario Cubano party of 1892, the

 

party appointed the deposed Grau San Martin as its

 

president.68

 

Economically, foreign domination of Cuba's economy was

 

weakened as state involvement in its management increased.

 

For many, the revolution proved that profound structural

 

change in Cuba was not possible while remaining friendly

 

towards the United States. Consequently, for the more radical

 

elements, it became clear that only an anti-U.S. revolution

 

capable of destroying the Batisita military would be

 

successful in eradicating Cuba of its problems.69

 

Ruling Cuba through a series of puppet Presidents, Batista

 

retained tight political control on Cuba. Attempting to win

 

popular support, Batista sponsored legislation to improve

 

Cuba's public administration, health, sanitation, education,

 

and public works. Efforts were made to improve the living

 

conditions and education of Cuba's rural society while his

 

"Sugar Coordination Law" protected the tenants of small sugar

 

plantations against eviction. With each attempt at

 

improvement, however, Batista and his associates also

 

continued the practice of pocketing a portion of the funds

 

earmarked for social welfare projects.70 Through the army,

 

Batista retained tight control. When a general strike

 

involving labor, professionals, and students occurred

 

throughout the island in 1935, Batista used the military to

 

squelch it. Fearing that the strike might topple his Mendieta

 

government, students and labor leaders were persecuted,

 

imprisoned, or assasinated. Labor unions were dissolved while

 

the University of Havana was closed and occupied by the army.

 

In 1934, U.S. presence and intervention in Cuba lessened

 

significantly when Mendieta signed the Treaty of Reciprocity

 

with the United States.71 Modifying the terms of the

 

Permanent Treaty of May 1903, the treaty abrogated the Platt

 

Amendment but still allowed the United States to continue to

 

lease its naval base at Guantanamo Bay. In August of 1934,

 

the commercial Treaty of Reciprocity was also signed between

 

the United States and Cuba. Giving preferential treatment to

 

U.S. exports to Cuba, the treaty also guaranteed Cuba 22% of

 

the U.S. sugar market at a special low duty.

 

In 1940, under the terms of Cuba's new constitution,

 

Batista, under a coalition supported by the Communist Party of

 

Cuba and the Revolutionary Union Party, which had merged to

 

form the Communist Revolutionary Union (URC), was elected

 

President.72 However, to show continued support for the

 

United States, Batista as Cuba's President, declared war on

 

the Axis powers in 1941. In turn, the U.S. increased aid and

 

trade relations with Cuba and granted Batista credits for

 

agricultural development and for public works in Havana.73

 

Cuban sugar production rose with the war effort and from 1942

 

to 1947, the United States purchased all Cuban sugar at a

 

relatively high price while imposing low duties.

 

Batista's iron rule, however, was nothing short of

 

dictatorial. Confident in his presidency, Batista catered to

 

the wealthy while cultivating labor support. Courting the

 

Cuban left, Batista established diplomatic relations with the

 

Soviet Union in 1943. Although some acts of violence had

 

occurred during the late 1930's and early 1940's, Batista's

 

strict control prevented the growth of political opposition

 

groups.

 

Consequently, when the Cuban elections of 1944 occurred,

 

Batista was confident that his party would win. Grau San

 

Martin, Batista's former opponent who was now backed by a

 

coaliton of the Conservative Republican Party and the

 

Communists, was the opposition candidate.74 Calling for

 

agrarian reform and an end to administrative corruption, Grau,

 

however, won the election, defeating Batista soundly.

 

Although shocked at the defeat, Batista stepped down from his

 

position as President and went into retirement in the United

 

States.

 

Had Grau and his successor Carlos Prio Socarras

 

accomplished the intended goals of the 1933 Revolution and

 

instituted reform, Cuba might have avoided significant strife

 

and the eventual Castro rebellion of the 1950's. As it was,

 

Grau's conciliatory policy toward opposition groups and lack

 

of support from the army created an environment in which

 

organized urban violence ran rampant. Student activism again

 

took hold as students aligned themselves with oppostion groups

 

and used organized force to accomplish their objectives. An

 

entire system of nepotism, favoritism, and gangs developed as

 

three key urban groups, the ARG (Accion Revoluncionaria

 

Guiteras), the MSR (Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario), and

 

the UIR (Union Insurreccional Revolucionaria), came to

 

prominence.75

 

In 1947, a split occurred in the Autentico party when a

 

group led by the politically ambitious Congressman Eduardo

 

Chibas became disatisfied with Grau's ineffectiveness. Known

 

as the Partido del Pueblo Cubano (Ortodoxo), the party became

 

the new repository for the ideals of the "frustrated

 

revolution."76 Attacking Cuba's political leadership, the

 

Autenticos demanded social justice, economic independence, and

 

honest government while insisting that Cuba remain free from

 

political pacts. Although gaining in popularity, Chibas

 

commited suicide in August 1951 while giving a weekly radio

 

address. The purported reason for his action was frustration

 

at not being able to reach the objectives of the Revolution of

 

1933.77

 

Chibas's death created a leadership vacuum and rift in

 

the Ortodoxo Party.78 The continued ineffectiveness of the

 

ruling Autentico Party soon discredited the party in the eyes

 

of the Cuban people and only added to the growing political

 

instability. Consequently, on March 10, 1952, unsure if he

 

could successfully win the elections that year but confident

 

of the army's support, Batista overthrew Prio in a bloodless

 

cout d'etat.79

 

To foreign observers, particularly the United States, the

 

Batista-ruled Cuba of the 1950's seemed to blossom. Cuba was

 

stable, foreign investment was protected, and tourism

 

flourished. By supporting government agencies such as an

 

Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank, a Cuban Foreign

 

Trade Bank, and a Technological Research Institute, which

 

served as foundations for industrial research, Batista

 

attracted commercial interest. Although the sugar industry

 

still dominated all other economic areas, a U. S. Department

 

of Commerce bulletin described Cuba as having "one of the

 

highest standards of living in Latin America."80

 

Behind the glitter of Havana and facade of prosperity,

 

however, Cuba was still an island economy in colonial status.

 

The reformist promises of the 1940 constitution remained

 

largely unsatisfied. American investment in the sugar

 

industry had declined by the 1950's to about one-third of

 

Cuban production capacity although the sugar interests still

 

continued to influence power in controlling the annual Cuban

 

sugar quota in the United States. In other areas of Cuba's

 

economy, particularly in the public utilities, railroads,

 

banking, nickel mining, and various retail concerns, U.S.

 

capital dominated. From Batista, American investment received

 

beneficial treatment while Cuban investment seemed to be

 

ignored.

 

Accordingly, beneath the Batista-built shell of wealth

 

and democracy, Cuba was ripe for rebellion. Opposition to

 

Batista's dictatorial practices started to mount. University

 

students again took to the streets, launching an anti-Batista

 

campaign. The primary influencer of student activities this

 

time was the Ortodoxo Party which contained a small faction

 

that advocated violence as the best means to combat Batisto.

 

A member of this small faction who had earned his law degree

 

from the University of Havana in 1950 was Fidel Castro.

 

Captivated by Chebas and the zeal of the Ortodoxios

 

nationalistic platform, Castro saw the Ortodoxos as Cuba's

 

only hope for defending its sovereignty.

 

During the 1952 elections, Castro was asked to run as an

 

Ortodoxo candidate. When the elections were preempted by

 

Batista's coup, Castro continued his campaign, circulating a

 

petition that the Batista government should be deposed because

 

it came to power "illegitimately."

 

On July 26, 1953, in a demonstration of his opposition to

 

Batista, Castro led 165 men in an unsuccessful revolt against

 

the Moncada army barracks near Santiago de Cuba. Although

 

receiving some notoriety for his act of rebellion, it was

 

during his trial, however, that Castro first garnered

 

attention as a Cuban revolutionary. Delivering a long oration

 

in his defense in which he stated that "history will absolve

 

me," Castro condemned Batista and his lack of social reforms

 

and emphasized the need to restore Cuba to a constitutional

 

government.81

 

With Castro subsequently sentenced to fifteen years in

 

prison, Batista's position was once again secured. Running

 

as the self-appointed candidate of his own Progressive Action

 

Party, Batista easily won the Cuban presidential elections of

 

1954 after the oppositon candidate, Grau San Martin, withdrew

 

from the race.

 

In May 1955, Batista, in both a sign of confidence and as

 

a result of pressure to spare those who had participated in

 

the Moncada attack, declared a general amnesty. One of the

 

prisoners released from jail was Fidel Castro, who departed

 

Cuba for exile in Mexico on July 7, 1955.82

 

THE RISE OF CASTRO

 

 

 

While exiled in Mexico, Castro continued to pursue his

 

revolution. Establishing the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7),

 

a group named to perpetuate the attack on the Moncado

 

Barracks, Castro concentrated on clandestine politics and

 

prepared for the revolution that would overthrow the Batista

 

regime.83 On December 2, 1956, a M-26-7 group of 81 men led

 

by Castro sailed from Mexico on GRANMA, a yacht provided by

 

Batista's old adversary Prio, and landed in the Cuban province

 

of Oriente. A counterattack from Batista's forces killed or

 

captured a majority of the group. Castro and his brother,

 

Raul, as well as an Argentine physician named Che Guevara, and

 

a small remaining number of the group fled to the Sierra

 

Maestra mountains. There, Castro's guerrilla force grew in

 

strength and importance, attacking small military outposts in

 

order to capture weapons and ammunition. As Castro carried

 

out his campaign, his image as the revolutionary changed to

 

one of patriotic hero. An urban underground-developed that

 

soon became the backbone of the anti-Batista struggle.

 

Supplies, obtained chiefly from the United States, supported

 

Castro's revolutionary efforts which soon included hit-and-run

 

raids, sabotage, and attacks on military installations.84

 

As Castro's revolution gained momentum, Batista denied

 

that Castro was a threat, by publishing accounts that Castro

 

had been killed. However, when the New York Times printed an

 

interview with and photographs of Castro, stories of Batista's

 

brutality and dictatorial repressions surfaced, reaching the

 

United States. The $1 million dollars in military aid granted

 

to Batista was soon interpreted as aid to Batista in his

 

struggle against Castro.85 In response, the American

 

Ambassador in Cuba, Earl Smith, was instructed to inform

 

Batista that the United States would pursue a policy of

 

impartial neutrality and support for the Batista effort would

 

be suspended.

 

In November 1958, presidential elections were held with

 

Batista's candidate, Andres Rivero Aguero, winning the

 

election. By 1958, however, opposition to Batista began to

 

take on massive proportions. The overwhelming majority of

 

Cubans wanted Batista out and the dictatorship to end. With

 

no specific political ideology in mind, Cubans simply sought

 

the re-establishment of contitutional legality. When fraud

 

was subsequently claimed in the election, Castro seized the

 

moment. Bursting out of the Sierra Maestra mountains,

 

Castro's revolutionaries attacked the army under Batista's

 

control. As his army deserted around him, Batista fled Cuba

 

on January 1, 1959. The following day, Che Guevara and 600

 

revolutionaries took Havana.86 Castro's revolutionary forces

 

were now in control of Cuba.

 

CHAPTER 3

 

CASTRO'S REVOLUTION

 

 

 

With the overthrow of Batista, the fate of Cuba was now

 

in the hands of one man - Fidel Castro. Considered a hero by

 

many, Castro embodied what many Cubans hoped would be a new

 

era of peace and prosperity for Cuba. Castro and his

 

nationalistic fervor, it was hoped, would reestablish a

 

constitutional, democratic government in Cuba, free of the

 

corruption of the Batista regime, and one that would enable

 

Cuba to develop into a free and independent state. As history

 

has recorded, however, such was not the case. Consequently,

 

this chapter will examine and analyze why Castro's revolution

 

was successful, what influenced the breakdown in U.S.-Cuban

 

relations, and how that breakdown in relations impacted the

 

events of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

 

 

THE SUCCESS OF THE REVOLUTION

 

 

 

Castro's success in overthrowing Batista was the offshoot

 

of a violent anti-Batista movement supported by Cubans from

 

all walks of life. Although often asserted that Castro and

 

his barbudos or "bearded ones" led a popular peasant revolt,

 

in actuality, the "revolt" included a mix of all classes of

 

Cuban society. Students, university professors, middle-class

 

intellectuals, peasant soldiers, and businessmen alike engaged

 

in various forms of active and passive resistance which all

 

aided in Batista's downfall.87 As Dr. Gregorio DelReal, a

 

former law professor of Castro's and minister in the National

 

Bank of Cuba remembered, Castro was welcomed by the Cubans

 

because it was perceived that Castro would "[do] very good

 

things for the country. Everybody was for him [Castro]

 

because everybody wanted to get rid of Batista."88

 

For that generation of Cubans experiencing the Revolution

 

of 1933 and now the Castro revolution, it was easy to

 

understand their willingness to accept this new victor.

 

Castro himself had spoken of the need to restore the Cuban

 

constitution of 1940. Prior to 1959, he had also been a

 

member of the zealously nationalistic Ortodoxico Party, whose

 

fervor was based on a program of restoring the promises of

 

1933 revolutionary Cuba. Consequently, there was nothing in

 

Castro's actions, political or otherwise, that led the Cuban

 

people to believe that Castro's interests were other than

 

legitimate. His only intentions appeared to be to retore Cuba

 

to a constitutional government and to focus, at least for the

 

moment, on those measures necessary to best care for Cuba and

 

her people.

 

 

 

THE NEW CASTRO GOVERNMENT

 

 

 

Following the exodus of Batista, Castro moved quickly to

 

establish a new government. On January 6, 1959, Castro's

 

moderate designee for President, Dr. Manuel Urrutia y Lleo,

 

was installed as Cuba's new president.89 Castro himself

 

arrived in Havana on January 8th after triuphmently making his

 

way westward from Oriente Province. Immediately upon arrival,

 

Castro began implementing measures that included championing

 

housing for the poor and financial reform. Vowing to end the

 

corruption that had marked the Batista regime, Castro easily

 

won popular support.90

 

Even initial relations between the United States and Cuba

 

appeared hopeful in early 1959. As a result of highly

 

favorable media coverage and his formidable public relations

 

skills, Castro became something of a folk-hero in the United

 

States. Charismatic and articulate, the tone of Castro's

 

proposed policies prior to 1959, although vague, gave no

 

indication that traditionally close U.S.-Cuban relations would

 

deteriorate under a Castro regime. 91 Subsequently, on

 

January 7, 1959, Ambassador Smith personally delivered the

 

United States official note of recognition to the new

 

government of Cuba.92 Although the Soviet Union also

 

extended recognition that same month, the Cubans did not

 

bother to reciprocate or even reply to the Soviet

 

overtures.93

 

In addition to taking quick control of Cuba, Castro's

 

political skill was also demonstrated by his ability to

 

maintain momentum by capitalizing on the weaknesses of fellow

 

revolutionary groups. The Cuban Communist Party or Partido

 

Socialista Popular (PSP), for example, appeared to exert

 

little, if any, political influence on the new Castro

 

government. On the contrary, the PSP appeared to be only one

 

of the many political factions on the "outside looking in."

 

Issuing a statement on January 6th entitled "The Overthrow of

 

the Tyranny and the Immediate Tasks Ahead," the PSP promised

 

the new government "all the support and all the cooperation

 

necessary," while also calling for the "formalization,

 

extension, and consolidation of unity of all

 

revolutionaries."94 Focusing on the "disintegration of the

 

Batista political regime," the PSP statement provided support

 

for Castro's proposed "Land Law," the expansion of Cuban

 

export markets to socialist countries, and the restoration of

 

the 1940 constitution so as to prepare for democratic

 

elections "after the changes or adjustments deemed necessary

 

by the people [were made]".95

 

Consequently, although Castro would later state that he

 

had been a Communist from the beginning of the revolution, his

 

initial attempts at reform neither mirrored or supported the

 

"language of marxism."96 In fact, as the Castro regime

 

pursued the objectives of its revolution, it became apparent

 

that the revolution seemed to follow no specific political

 

ideology. Rather, the revolution itself seemed to originate

 

from an amorphous set of reformist goals designed to appeal to

 

a variety of groups and classes. Calculatingly ambiguous, the

 

appeal of the revolution appeared to reside more in Castro's

 

ability to represent it as "anything and everything to anyone

 

and everyone. The movement had "...an unusual appeal to all

 

sectors of Cuban society, either legitimate or convenient."97

 

What was even more pronounced, however, was the

 

realization that Castro was exceptionally ambitious,

 

authoritarian, and fiercely nationalistic. As described by

 

Dr. DelReal, "Everything with him [Castro] was ego."

 

Additionally, given the history of U.S. interventions, the

 

Platt Amendment, and the extent of U.S. economic presence in

 

Cuba, Castro did not hold the United States in high regard.98

 

Well aware of Cuba's "shared history" with the United States,

 

Castro was convinced that American imperialism had caused

 

Cuba's problems, and only the elimination of Cuba's dependence

 

on America could correct them.

 

Accordingly, the first open signs of Castro's alienation

 

from U.S. influence came only a few months after he seized

 

power. Following his April 1959 visit to the United States,

 

a steady breakdown in communication between Washington and

 

Havana slowly began. As the Castro government pursued

 

"revolutionary justice" to systematically hunt down and try

 

Batista supporters, the American public was shocked at the

 

level of anarchy. Public trials, jeering spectators, and an

 

atmosphere of tribal justice seemed to rule the day. At the

 

same time, Castro began nationalizing foreign-owned

 

businesses. Contending that private investment subverted Cuba

 

to foreign control, Castro appointed "intervenors" who

 

supervised the operation of American companies, particularly

 

the Cuban Telephone and Electric Companies. Under Law 851,

 

the Cuban government began to seize foreign-controlled

 

landholdings that produced rice, tobacco, and coffee.

 

Additional taxes were levied on foreign companies while in May

 

1959, the Cuban Court of Social and Constitutional Guarantees

 

approved the nationalization of lands owned by Nicaro Nickel,

 

Moa Bay Mining, and the Freeport Sulphur Company. When the

 

companies protested and threatened to close down their

 

operations, Castro simply took them over. On behalf of the

 

investors, the American government filed legal protests,

 

arguing that the new Cuban nationalization laws were in

 

violation of international law.99 The American protests,

 

however, were ignored by the Castro government.

 

In early 1960, the Eisenhower administration issued a

 

statement on Cuban-American relations that implied a

 

condemnation of Castro's action. Drafted with the aid of

 

Ambassador Philip Bonsal, the United States Ambassador to

 

Cuba, the statement pledged the continuation of America's

 

policy of nonintervention, expressed dismay at the

 

unwillingness of Cuba to accept the overtures of the United

 

States, asserted that Cuba must abide by international law,

 

and maintained that the American government would use legal

 

remedies to protect the interests of its citizens in Cuba.

 

The statement was criticized by the Castro government who

 

contended it was only another American attempt to dominate the

 

Cuban economy. Consequently, when Castro initiated trade

 

relations with the Soviet Union, his actions were viewed by

 

global leaders not as an attempt to widen the gulf between the

 

United States, but only an effort by a national leader to

 

foster trade between his country and the rest of the world.

 

 

THE U.S. RESPONSE TO CASTRO

 

 

For the Eisenhower administration, there seemed to be no

 

reversal in the course leading to a breakdown of relations

 

with Cuba. Concluding that Castro was determined not to have

 

good relations with the United States, President Eishenhower

 

signed a National Security Directive in March 1960, ordering

 

that other U.S. options be explored for destabilizing the

 

Castro regime. In May 1960, the Castro government announced

 

that British and American refineries were required to process

 

Soviet crude oil instead of Venezuelan oil. When the company

 

managers refused, Castro seized the oil companies in a

 

diplomatic victory. In retaliation, President Eisenhower

 

suspended Cuban sugar quotas for the remainder of the year to

 

which Castro replied by nationalizing the remaining American

 

sugar mills.100

 

Meanwhile, the Eisenhower administration began to train

 

and equip Cuban exiles for a future invasion of Cuba. Under

 

the supervision of the CIA, the arming and instruction of the

 

anti-Castro Cubans began in isolated camps in Central America.

 

The purpose of the plan was to overthrow Castro by inciting a

 

popular uprising. The planners assumed that once the invading

 

force gained a foothold in Cuba, that an anti-Castro

 

revolutionary government would be established that would

 

rally the Cuban people to its banners. Based on this

 

assumption, the planning focused on invading the south coast

 

of Cuba at a bay about 97 miles southeast of Havana known as

 

the Bay of Pigs.

 

In early January 1961, Castro ordered the American

 

embassy staff in Havana reduced in size to eleven persons

 

within two days' time. Shortly thereafter, President

 

Eisenhower announced that diplomatic relations between the

 

United States and Cuba were terminated. As ties between the

 

United States and Cuba ended, preparations still continued for

 

the planned invasion of Cuba.

 

On January 20, 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was sworn in

 

as the 35th President of the United States. As a presidential

 

candidate, Kennedy had campaigned as being "tough on

 

communism." Inheriting the Cuban invasion plan, it became

 

apparent that despite their rhetoric, there were few

 

differences between he and Eisenhower in their approaches to

 

Castro. Briefed on the invasion plan, which now called for a

 

conventional military force rather than a guerrilla attack,

 

the new President, however, was initially disturbed about the

 

CIA's maneuvers and the decision to use American military

 

force. For several reasons, however, President Kennedy

 

decided to continue with the plan. Cuba was continuing to

 

move closer towards the Soviet orbit; Castro was sending his

 

pilots to Czechoslovakia for training; and sporadic raids were

 

being ordered by Castro against targets in other Caribbean

 

island nations.101

 

Thus, relying on the advise of his top military and

 

foreign-policy advisers who included CIA Director Allen

 

Dulles, General Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

 

of Staff, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and A.A. Berle,

 

Chairman of the President's Latin American Task Force, the

 

President decided to continue with the plan but with

 

modifications. Those modifications excluded the provision

 

and/or use of U.S. air support or American forces. The only

 

American support provided to the invading force was to be

 

covert.

 

On April 17, 1961, the planned invasion at the Bay of

 

Pigs occurred. From the outset, the invasion was a failure.

 

Landing at Playa Giron on the west coast of the Bay of Pigs,

 

the 1,300 man brigade tried to make its way inland through the

 

swamps of the Peninsula de Zapata. However, those who had

 

planned the invasion had seriously underestimated the size of

 

Castro's land forces, which now included Soviet tanks and

 

artillery. Additionally, Castro's air force, which supposedly

 

was destroyed days before, sank a major supply ship, stranding

 

the Cuban exiles on shore without food, water, or

 

reinforcements. When the fighting ended on April 19th, 90 of

 

the invaders had been killed while the rest were taken

 

prisoner.

 

While the tragedy of the Bay of Pigs marked a low point

 

in the United States international prestige, it only served to

 

enhance Castro's. Well aware of the victory he had obtained,

 

Castro was inflated by his triumph. His image, which had been

 

tarnished somewhat by revolutionary laws and justice, was

 

strengthened immensely. Invaded by a world superpower, his

 

ability to successfully oppose the United States was proven;

 

an especially significant point when heretofore U.S. -Cuban

 

relations had emphasized Cuban weakness and U.S. dominance.

 

Castro's satisfaction with Cuban efforts at the Bay of

 

Pigs, however, were marred by persistent, nagging concern that

 

in the face of a defeat, the United States would return to

 

attempt a second invasion. Ever mindful of this possibility,

 

it would become for Castro a key consideration that would not

 

only shape his perspective in the new relationship being

 

forged with the Soviet Union, but also influence his decisions

 

when dealing with the United States again in the future.

 

For the United States, the Bay of Pigs only revealed how

 

much the United States had misinterpreted Castro and the Cuban

 

Revolution. Although President Kennedy had assumed full

 

responsibility for the fiasco, the failure rightfully belonged

 

to those advisors who continued to misjudge the strength of

 

Castro's hold on Cuba and the unwillingness and inability of

 

Cubans to rise up in arms against him. Information about and

 

decisions concerncing Castro and Cuba focused more on Cuban-

 

Soviet relations and Castro as a dictator, rather then on the

 

social and economic conditions that led to Castro's rise to

 

power. Consequently, the Bay of Pigs proved to be an

 

irrational outburst, an U.S. attempt to strike back at a petty

 

Latin American dictator who irritated the United States and

 

got away with it than any form of specific "Cuban" policy. It

 

was an attack on Castro himself who did not fit the

 

traditional pattern of the Cuban revolutionary rather than a

 

definitive statement of how to deal with "the Cuban affair."

 

Consequently, the Kennedy administration seemed to settle

 

on a policy of harassment and diplomatic isolation in order to

 

contain Castro and keep him off balance. The harassment

 

included running operations back and forth between Cuba and

 

Florida, destroying factories, and staging hit-and-run attacks

 

against the Cuban coast. Operations such as deploying

 

American forces in the region, buzzing Cuban airfields, flying

 

high altitude reconnaissance missions over the island, and

 

staging military exercises such as PHIBRIGLEX-62, in which

 

United States Marines invaded the fictitious Republic of

 

Vieques to overthrow its imaginary dictator "Ortsac" - or

 

"Castro" spelled backwards - served to ensure Castro remained

 

off-balance.102 Covert operations, when used,"...only

 

provided," as Special Assistant to the President for National

 

Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy described, a "psychological

 

salve for inaction."103 Plans such as OPERATION MONGOOSE,

 

which were intended, as CIA Director John A. McCone later

 

wrote, to "encourage the Cuban people to take Cuba away from

 

Castro and to set up a proper form of government" were

 

scrapped so as to focus instead on "the immediate collection

 

of intelligence [and] the immediate priority objectives of US

 

efforts in the coming months."104

 

In June 1962, however, President Kennedy completed

 

efforts to contain Cuba's diplomatic isolation by addressing

 

the Organization of American States' (OAS) Conference at Punta

 

del Este, Uruguay. On the recommendation of the United

 

States, the OAS declared Castro's government incompatible with

 

the inter-American system and, concluding that Cuba should be

 

excluded from the OAS, concurred with the U.S. recommendation

 

to impose an arms embargo.

 

In retrospect, then, both the United States and Cuba

 

blamed each other for their mutual antagonism and the spiral

 

of fear and hostility leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

For Castro, this hostility was embedded in his drive to break

 

Cuba's dependence on the United States. Castro was convinced

 

that American imperialism had caused Cuba's problems and that

 

only the elimination of Cuba's dependence on the United States

 

could correct them. Despite early U.S. attempts to work with

 

the new regime, Castro had no intentions of collaberating with

 

the United States. Rather, he appeared to look for any excuse

 

to break U.S.-Cuban ties.

 

For the United States, this hostility and antagonism

 

centered on Castro. Long used to the turbulent politics of

 

Cuba, it was perceived that Cuba's problems were caused by the

 

new Latin dictator. Consequently, neither Castro nor his

 

revolution were fully understood by U.S. policy makers.

 

Decisions concerning Castro and Cuba's state of affairs were

 

subsequently clouded by historical precedence rather than

 

current accurate analysis and knowledge.

 

Crucial also to this growing hostility and fear was the

 

American invasion at the Bay of Pigs. Providing a key link to

 

the events that culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the

 

Bay of Pigs tragedy set the stage for the crisis in three key

 

ways.

 

First, the Bay of Pigs set the tone of U.S. -Cuban

 

relations during the Kennedy administration. Humbled and

 

embarrassed by its inability to "fix" problems in Cuba by

 

overthrowing Castro, the U.S. approach to Cuba shifted

 

drastically following the Bay of Pigs. Efforts designed to

 

overthrow Castro now focused more on Cold War concerns of

 

detering Castro from exporting his revolution and discouraging

 

relations with the Soviets than on direct involvement in Cuban

 

affairs. Castro, on the other hand, exploited the American

 

failure at the Bay of Pigs. Strengthening his hold on Cuba,

 

Castro pushed the limits of U.S. diplomacy. At the same time,

 

however, the attempted American invasion caused Castro to grow

 

concerned about Cuban security. If the United States had

 

tried to invade once, surely they would try again. This

 

assumption would eventually cause Castro to misjudge U.S.

 

intent during the crisis and influence his decisions to accept

 

Soviet military support in the form of nuclear-capable

 

missiles.

 

Second, the Bay of Pigs underscored for Castro the need

 

to continue to pursue an alliance with the Soviet Union. Well

 

aware of his strategic vulnerabilities in relation to the

 

United States, the only way Castro could protect himself from

 

one superpower was to seek protection from the other.

 

Accordingly, to safeguard Cuba from an anticipated "second

 

invasion," Castro needed to ensure Cuban security was

 

protected. By pursuing an alliance with the Soviets, Castro

 

assumed that just such military protection would be provided.

 

And third, the attempted invasion of Cuba grew to impact

 

Soviet dealings with Cuba. As relations between the two

 

countries developed, Soviet decisions to provide military aide

 

to Cuba would, in part, be influenced by the need to protect

 

Cuba militarily from the United States. As an examination of

 

the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis later reveal, American

 

aggression as that witnessed at the Bay of Pigs simply gave

 

the Soviets an added reason to pursue the placement of

 

missiles in Cuba.

 

CHAPTER 4

 

CASTRO AND COMMUNISM

 

 

 

Exactly when Castro made the shift to Communism is still

 

a matter of speculation. The inability to identify Castro's

 

ideological beliefs caused a confusion, both internal and

 

external to Cuba, that existed from the outset of Castro's

 

revolution and continued long after his ascent to power.

 

However by 1961, Castro stated publicly that he was a

 

"Communist and would be one" until he died. Consequently,

 

this chapter will examine why Castro embraced Communism, what

 

impact, if any, U.S. policy had on Castro's acceptance of

 

Marxism, and, more importantly, how Castro's acceptance of

 

Communism influenced the events surrounding the Cuban Missile

 

Crisis.

 

 

THE CASTRO REVOLUTION - AN IDEOLOGY OF CONFUSION

 

 

Although the Batista government attempted to represent

 

Castro and the 26th of July Movement as Communist, there was

 

little information to support this claim. As the Bureau of

 

Intelligence and Research at the Department of State indicated

 

early in 1958 prior to Castro's takeover, there was "little

 

[available] about [the] top leadership [of the 26th of July

 

Movement] ... the evidence available to the Department [did] not

 

confirm the Cuban government's charge that Castro [was] a

 

Communist..."105 This conclusion corresponded with another

 

official Department of State report of September 1958 that

 

declared Castro "was not a Communist and that the Communists

 

[did] not play a dominant role in the leadership of the 26th

 

of July Movement" although the statement's explanatory note

 

indicated that the information "[was] not as conclusive as we

 

would like."106 In November 1959, CIA Deputy Director C. P.

 

Cabell testified before a Senate subcommittee that "Castro

 

[was] not a Communist...the Cuban Communists do not consider

 

him a Communist party member or even a pro-Communist."107

 

Consequently, even as late as 1960, a report from the CIA

 

referred to Castro as "not a Communist and certainly not an

 

anti-Communist," but a violently anti-American nationalist

 

being used by the Communists in an "intense drive" on Latin

 

America.108 However, just two years later in August 1962,

 

a subsequent CIA intelligence estimate indicated that "Fidel

 

Castro [had] asserted his primacy in Cuban communism" and that

 

"mutual ties of interest" existed "between Castro and the

 

"old" Communists, and between Cuba and the USSR."109

 

Confusion over Castro's real political ideology was also

 

felt within the new government and the Castro regime as well.

 

Although it was clear that Castro intended to pursue the

 

revolution at all costs, it was less clear as to what

 

political ideology would be used to form the framework of the

 

new Cuban government.

 

Soon after the establishment of the provisional Cuban

 

government in January 1960, a rift grew between 26th of July

 

moderates and radicals. Centering not only on the rights of

 

private property and the role of free enterprise, the rift

 

involved such questions as the holding of elections, the

 

function of political parties, and the relationship of

 

Castro's provisional government to the PSP.110 In the

 

resulting struggle, Che Guevara, Castro's prime guerrilla

 

lieutenant, and Raul Castro, Castro's brother, both radicals,

 

surfaced as influential members of the Castro regime. In

 

addition, PSP members also appeared to gain influence and were

 

soon appointed to positions within the new Cuban bureaucracy.

 

Aware of these new influencers of Cuban policy, moderate

 

members of the Castro regime became angered not only at

 

Castro's refusal to ask the United States for economic aid

 

during his visit to Washington, DC in April 1959, but also at

 

a strong anti-American speech Castro delivered at the United

 

Nations that following September.

 

Although Castro initially served as arbitrator between

 

the two opposing factions of his regime, appearing not to

 

favor one side over the other, it became apparent by October

 

1959, that Castro was shifting to a more radical course.

 

Supporting the policy recommendations of Che Gueverra and his

 

brother Raul, Castro began to support a closer association

 

with the Soviet Union.111 President Urrutia, who had been

 

accused of treason by Castro by publicly stating that

 

Communism constituted a danger to the Cuban Revolution, was

 

removed as President. In his place, Osvaldo Dorticos, a man

 

known to be more amenable to a relationship with the

 

Communists became Cuba's President during July 1959.112 On

 

October 19, 1959, Major Huber Matos, a military chief in

 

Camagiiey province, resigned, charging Communist penetration

 

of the government. Major Matos was subsequently sentenced to

 

twenty years in prison for conspiracy, sedition, and

 

treason.113 Consequently, by the end of 1959, all of Cuba's

 

moderate cabinet ministers were gone. A reorganization of

 

labor under PSP leadership now provided the revolution with an

 

increasingly "class character." Cuban mines, utilities, sugar

 

companies, oil refineries, and over 50 percent of Cuban land,

 

depite their ownership by U.S. companies or U.S. allies,

 

continued to be nationalized.

 

Slowly severing Cuba's relationship with the United

 

States, Castro began a campaign to foster a closer association

 

with the Soviets. On February 6, 1960, First Deputy Premier

 

Anastas I. Mikoyan of the Soviet Union arrived in Havana with

 

a Soviet trade exhibition. Meeting with Cuban leaders,

 

Mikoyan signed an agreement providing for $100 million in

 

trade credits to help lessen Cuban dependence on the United

 

States. During March, when the French steamer La Coubre

 

carrying a shipment of Belgian small arms exploded in Havana

 

Harbor, killing dozens of workers and soldiers, Castro blamed

 

the incident on the CIA, who according to Castro, sabotaged

 

the ship.114 On April 19, 1960, the first shipment of Soviet

 

crude oil arrived in Cuba. Less than a month later on May 7,

 

1960, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union

 

were established. By the summer, the Soviets were beginning

 

to supply most of Cuba's petroleum needs. When the United

 

States terminated Cuba's sugar quota in July 1960, the Soviet

 

Union announced the following day that it was willing to buy

 

the sugar previously destined for the United States. During

 

October, the Cuban government expropriated without

 

compensation all U.S. holdings in Cuba, which were valued at

 

over $1 billion. Finally, during a television appearance on

 

December 1, 1961, Castro disclosed that he was "a Marxist-

 

Leninist and... [would] continue to be one until the last day

 

of [his] life."115

 

 

WHY THE SHIFT?

 

 

Many reasons have been postulated for Castro's

 

ideological shift to Communism. Some historians believe that

 

Castro accepted a revolution based on socialism and

 

totalitarianism when his own revolutionary methods proved

 

unsuccessful. Others believe that Castro "went Communist" in

 

stages; that Castro's original revolutionary premise still

 

existed but that it underwent radical changes in gradual,

 

perceptible stages that not even Castro planned for or

 

promised.116 As radical members of the 26th of July moved

 

the Movement leftward, Castro lost faith in the Movement as a

 

political vehicle and subsequently turned to the Cuban

 

Communists or to the left as a way to accomplish the

 

revolution's, albeit his, objectives.117

 

Still many others believe that U.S. policy failed in Cuba

 

and, because of this failure, the United States "drove" Castro

 

to the Soviets. In reality, it would be more accurate to

 

state that U.S. policy did not force Castro to accept

 

Communism, but it did influence both the evolution of the

 

Revolution and the tempo and direction of Castro's Russian

 

policy.118 In short, when Castro decided to seek Soviet

 

support, his decision was based on injuries he felt he had

 

either received or those he anticipated he would receive from

 

the United States. As Castro recalled about his visit to the

 

United States in April 1959:

 

I remember when I visited the United States. There was

no ill will against the United States; in fact we had a

great many friends. But, the fact is that we were

practically impotent against this great campaign over

there against Cuba, as the positions of the revolutionary

government became clear. But I went to Washington. I

was invited by the press, and I didn't mind -- sincerely.

But the president of the United States didn't even invite

me for a cup of coffee, because I wasn't worthy of a cup

of coffee with the President of the United States. They

sent me Nixon...It's not a question of it being a

dishonor to have Nixon, since Nixon was vice

president... I was received at the Capitol in a little

office... I explained the social and economic situation in

Cuba, the poverty, the inequality, the hundreds of

thousands of unemployed, the landless peasants, the

measures that we had to adopt to solve the situation--

and Nixon listened, said nothing, and made no remarks.

But when the interview concluded, it's well known that he

sent a memo to Eisenhower saying, "Castro is a communist

and the revolutionary govenment has to be

overthrown"... he suggested this to the President as early

as April 1959. Not Mikoyan, not a single Soviet had

visited the country... our program was not a socialist

program [at the time] it was the Moncada program.119

 

 

A further example of how U.S. policy influenced Castro's

 

decision to "go communist" can be seen in Cuba's need to

 

obtain defense supplies and economic subsidies. Reacting to

 

U.S. economic pressures, Castro stated:

 

But at that time American economic pressures of all types

began. They became stronger and stronger...We must not

forget that they [the United States] took from us our

sugar quota, which was four million tons. This is

something that had existed in a century of trade

relations between Cuba and the United States, since we

were a colony...Why our gratitude to the USSR?.. .When we

were deprived of the sugar quota, the USSR turned up and

said it was ready to buy Cuban sugar. When [the United

States] suspended oil shipments and left us without fuel,

the USSR turned up and said it was ready to supply us

with oil. It wasn't just CIA operations, there were

political measures, economic measures, that complicated

life in this country [Cuba]. This was the foundation of

our relations with the USSR.120

 

Additionally, Castro's own misplaced perception that the

 

United States would not accept his social and economic

 

reforms, specifically when diplomatic questions of

 

compensation to U.S. citizens and businesses were raised,

 

which intensified his draw to the Soviet Union.121 In fact,

 

it was this self-expressed defiance of "Yankee imperialism"

 

that provided Castro with an added benefit. That benefit was

 

the provision of a readymade, emotionally-charged, external

 

threat which Castro could use to galvanize Cuban support for

 

his programs of national reformation. Since U.S. policy was

 

already confused as a result of the mixed signals sent by

 

Castro, it was easy for Castro to transform a policy of

 

erratic uncooperativeness to one of open aggression and

 

enemity.122 Thus, capitalizing on this change, Castro

 

quickened the socialization of Cuba. He accomplished this by

 

developing closer relations with the Soviets who were, by this

 

time, eager to expand their presence into the Western

 

Hemisphere. Castro's revolution began as an independent

 

nationalistic movement. Because he was able, at each stage,

 

to identify the revolution with Cuban patriotism through his

 

messianic leadership, Castro successfully transformed Cuba

 

into a Communist state with, at the very least, the passive

 

support of the majority of the Cuban people.

 

A political opportunist, Castro was also a Cuban patriot,

 

extremely nationalistic, and an exceptionally charismatic

 

leader. Subsequently, communism in Cuba was both totalitarian

 

and popular.123 In consequence, U.S. policy helped Castro

 

persuade the Cuban people that the United States was the enemy

 

of the Cuban Revolution and that security for the revolution

 

lay in the nationalization of the economy and association with

 

the Soviets.124

 

At the same time, Castro's conversion to Communism and

 

transformation of Cuba into a Communist state was also a

 

function of Castro's foreign policy objectives.125 Believed

 

by many to be international in scope, Castro fought the

 

revolution not only for agrarian reform in Cuba, but also to

 

"achieve a second liberation of Latin America" that he

 

(Castro) would lead. In consequence, the Cuban Revolution was

 

only the "means to an end." In the bigger picture, the

 

revolution would enable Castro to achieve, or perhaps even

 

surpass, as the leader of a "Latin American" revolution, the

 

same world prestige that Nasser, Nehru, and Tito had

 

achieved.126 Castro was well aware that his intentions

 

would, in time, cause him to confront the United States.

 

However, his objective was only to impose sharp limitations on

 

U.S. economic interests and challenge U.S. poltical leadership

 

while other revolutions, spurred on by the success of his

 

revolution in Cuba, occurred throughout the rest of Latin

 

America. Castro knew that Cuba alone would not be able to

 

confront the United States, but a show of Latin American unity

 

could. Cuban survival as well as Castro's, depended upon on

 

the successful occurrence of other revolutionary movements in

 

Latin America.127

 

When these other revolutions did not occur and it became

 

apparent that Castro would meet opposition from the OAS as

 

well as the Inter-American Peace Committee, Castro was forced

 

to reassess the situation. His alternatives were either to

 

forgo his foreign policy objectives or to seek an ally that

 

could shield him from the United States. The only ally

 

capable of providing such a shield was the Soviet Union.

 

Reliance on the Soviets did not necessarily mean,

 

however, that Castro intended to become a Marxist-Leninist.

 

Other Third World leaders, such as Nassar and Sukarno, had

 

turned to the Soviets for help without becoming Communist.

 

Consequently, Castro maintained first to moderates that he was

 

not pursuing closer Communistic ties while simultaneously

 

suggesting to PSP members, as well as leftist members of the

 

Movement, that he would welcome a Communist coalition and a

 

friendship with the Soviets. This dual tactic enabled Castro

 

to buy time and keep his options open while determining the

 

prospects for other Latin American revolutions. When it

 

became clear that other revolutions were not going to occur,

 

Castro's choice, i.e., to opt for Communism and Soviet

 

support, became obvious and he made it.

 

 

SOVIET REACTIONS TO A COMMUNIST CUBA

 

 

For their part, the Soviets saw numerous benefits in

 

establishing an alliance with Castro. First, Cuba provided

 

the Soviet Union with a Communist outpost in the Western

 

hemisphere - an area long viewed as the exclusive hegemony of

 

the United States since the Monroe Doctrin of 1823. Second,

 

Cuba provided promise as a potential military facility and

 

"listening post" within close proximity of the Soviet's chief

 

opponent - the United States. Third, Cuba could provide the

 

Soviets with a military force and civilian technical

 

assistance personnel that could prove valuable to the Soviets

 

in furthering their own global objectives.128 And finally,

 

Cuba provided the Soviets with a revolutionary "success story"

 

or model they could use when exporting communism to the rest

 

of the Third World. Castro had collaborated with the

 

Communist Party; a marked difference from other revolutions

 

that excluded rather than welcomed Communist collaboration.

 

As Mark Falcoff, resident scholar at the American Enterprise

 

Institute stated, "...the Soviets always had a terrible

 

inferiority complex about their system. They knew that no one

 

ever opted for their system voluntarily. That is why Cuba was

 

important to them...no one really liked them, not even their

 

own sattelites, who had lingering animosity for them..."

 

Castro, in fact, ruthlessly pursued a social and economic

 

revolution that euphemistically put "power" in the hands of

 

workers and peasants at the expense of individual rights and

 

freedoms.129 Consequently, Soviet Chairman Nikita Kruschev

 

had not only taken the Cuban government to heart, but had also

 

offered it to the rest of Latin America. Thus, the Cuban

 

revolution provided the Soviets with the opportunity to claim

 

universal applicability of Communism throughout all of Latin

 

America. In short, it represented the pattern of revolution

 

that the Communists would have liked to see spread throughout

 

all the Third World.

 

At the same time, however, Soviet reactions to the

 

acceptance of Cuba as a communist state and Castro as the

 

leader of Marxism-Leninism in Cuba were both cautious and

 

unenthusiastic. The Cuban Revolution did not "fit" the

 

normal, planned Soviet strategy for fostering international

 

Communism. The revolution was not led by a Communist party

 

nor an openly Marxist leadership, as those in Europe had been.

 

According to Soviet ideologists, countries like Cuba -

 

"semifeudal" and under the imperialistic yoke - had to take

 

the road to socialism in stages.130 Should young Communist

 

parties start to build socialism without the minimal and

 

indispenseable Communist base, such undue haste, it was

 

thought, may "narrow the popular basis of socialist revolution

 

and compromise the noble idea of socialism in the eyes of the

 

masses."131 Nor did Cuba seek peaceful coexistence with the

 

West. Soviet acceptance of Castro's socialist intent implied

 

Soviet acceptance of military responsibility for Cuba's

 

defense. This defense was essential if the Communist myth

 

that "no country that had abandoned capitalism would return to

 

it" was to survive.

 

Accepting military responsibility for a country just

 

ninety miles from the United States, however, jeopardized the

 

Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence. Peaceful coexistence

 

meant "lulling" opponents into a false sense of security until

 

it was possible for the Soviet Union to gain the upper hand.

 

With Cuba so close to the United States, creating the needed

 

"sense of security" while also accomplishing any type of

 

military buildup would be difficult. Consequently, Cuba with

 

its strategic location presented both opportunities and

 

possibilities as well as inherent disadvantages and risks.

 

Additionally, there was disagreement within the

 

international Communist party, specifically between the

 

Soviets and the Chinese, on how to handle Third World

 

revolutions. The Chinese Communists, although unable to

 

provide large-scale support, enthusiastically embraced the

 

Cuban cause. Following the Bay of Pigs invasion in April

 

1961, for example, the Chinese government celebrated the

 

"Cuban victory" by holding a huge rally in Peking. Attended

 

by Cuba's Minister of Education, Armando Hart, who was on a

 

visit to the Chinese capital at the time, the demonstration

 

was described in the Chinese press as proving "that the

 

Chinese people [were] the most trusted and loyal friends of

 

Cuba, Latin America, and all oppressed nations."132 The

 

Soviets for their part recognized the event by sending

 

greetings to Castro via Cuban President Dorticos. While the

 

Soviets praised Castro for the progress he was making in

 

"...the building of a new state - democratic and free of

 

oppressors and exploiters," the Chinese greetings exulted the

 

revolution itself, referring to the "development and

 

strengthening of the revolution and its construction,"

 

encouraging Castro to continue in his efforts.133

 

CASTRO'S COMMUNISM

 

 

Consequently, despite intense lobbying efforts Castro

 

encountered resistance in his attempt to become a member of

 

the Soviet bloc. By the end of 1961, Castro faced a desperate

 

situation. Cuba's admission to the Soviet bloc was denied,

 

Soviet economic help was insufficient, conditions in Latin

 

America were unfavorable for revolution, and the Communist old

 

guard (the original members of the PSP) were pressing to

 

control the "backbone of the state." To solve this dilemma,

 

Castro turned to drastic measures. On December 1, 1961 Castro

 

provided public affirmation of his "real" ideological

 

disposition by stating that he had always been a Marxist-

 

Leninist and by pledging that he would be one until he died.

 

Subsequently, on May 14, 1962, a definitive commercial treaty

 

was signed between Cuba and the Soviet Union. By June, it was

 

obvious that the Soviets accepted Castro as the supreme

 

representative of Marxism-Leninism in Cuba.

 

For Castro, however, this acceptance did not mean that

 

power and political control in Cuba would be automatically

 

turned over to the PSP. On the contrary, the Communist "old

 

guard" was relegated to only a secondary role in the Cuban

 

Communist Party. Castro remained the sole dominate force in

 

Communist Cuba and continued to develop his own brand of

 

Communism, blending "fidelismo" and Marxism-Leninism into

 

one.134

 

The common thread binding Castro to the former Soviet

 

Union, then, centered on Castro and the personal objectives he

 

maintained for himself and his revolution - that of

 

maintaining absolute power; making Cuba a world class actor

 

with major international influence; and transforming Cuban

 

society. To accomplish these objectives, Castro first turned

 

to the Cuban Communists. Constantly moving leftward, then,

 

Castro gained support from the Cuban Communist party in order

 

to foster an association with the Soviets. Consequently, it

 

was Castro who agreed to the initiation of the relationship

 

that eventually evolved between Cuba and the former Soviet

 

Union.135 As Castro subsequently revealed, "The important

 

thing for us was the global strategic might of the Soviet

 

Union. We saw that it was Soviet will, Soviet determination,

 

Soviet global might, that protected us."136 Through Marxism-

 

Leninism and Soviet support, Castro found the means to obtain

 

his objectives, absolve Cuba of two hundred years of

 

oppressive U.S. imperialism, and ultimately, eliminate U.S.

 

influence in Cuba. By turning to the Soviets, Castro embraced

 

the arch political, military, and ideological rival of the

 

United States, thus taking nationalistic revenge. It was

 

Castro who actively courted the Soviets, seeing in the former

 

Soviet Union the opportunity to achieve his own personal

 

objectives while still maintaining firm control over Cuba's

 

political system.

 

Subsequently, Castro's quid pro quo relationship with the

 

Soviets was based on a convenient parallel of national

 

interests and foreign policy that provided both with

 

considerable benefit.137 For Castro, an alliance with Soviet

 

Russia provided critical economic subsidies, Soviet military

 

and technical assistance, a political sponsor willing to

 

promote and support Castro's aspirations of leadership in the

 

nonaligned movement, and finally, a protector though not a

 

guarantor of Cuban independence from the United States.

 

Extensive Soviet military, economic, and political support

 

provided Castro with the flexibility he needed to conduct an

 

activist foreign policy totally out of proportion to Cuba's

 

physical size in the world.

 

Also, in order to check Cuban dependence on America,

 

Castro had turned his back on a world superpower, the United

 

States. For purely pragmatic reasons that bordered on

 

economic survival, it was necessary that he establish a

 

corresponding relationship with a nation of commensurate

 

strength. The only other power that fulfilled this

 

requirement was the Soviet Union. As Mark Falcoff stated,

 

"...the only way [Castro's] economic policy could keep from

 

collapsing [was] to [have] an outside patron... [Castro's]

 

economic policies would not work without an authoritarian

 

political structure to force everyone to work. So, it was a

 

convergence of two needs: to reject the U.S. and the

 

practical need to find an alternative." For Castro, that

 

alternative was the Soviet Union.

 

For the Soviet Union, an alliance with Cuba provided the

 

Soviets with an "edge" in their Cold War struggle against the

 

United States. Prior to their association with Cuba, the

 

Soviets had been unable to successfully establish a secure

 

foothold in the Western hemisphere that would allow them to

 

challenge U.S. hegemony. With Cuba, just such a foothold was

 

established. In addition, Cuba had willingly pursued entrance

 

into the Soviet bloc. Unique among the family of Soviet

 

revolutions, Cuba was the only country that had opted to enter

 

the Soviet orbit voluntarily. Despite the opposition that

 

still haunted Cuba's acceptance as a communist country, Cuba

 

provided the Soviets with a model that could be used to export

 

communism throughout the rest of Latin America. Consequently,

 

the Soviets were committed to Cuba at a level more than the

 

United States realized, but would soon discover, during the

 

Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

CHAPTER 5

 

THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

 

 

 

During his October 22nd report to the people, President

 

Kennedy referred to the presence of medium and long-range

 

ballistic missiles in Cuba. In preparation for the

 

President's address, an October 20th CIA estimate indicated

 

the presence of four MRBM and two IRBM launch sites in various

 

stages of construction and organized into at least three

 

regiments. Of these, two regiments of eight launchers each

 

were believed to be mobile and designed to launch the MRBMs

 

while one regiment of eight fixed launchers were believed to

 

be designed for the IRBMs.138 In January 1992, General

 

Anatoly I. Gribkov, General of the Army of the Russian

 

Federation, provided clarification that showed the true threat

 

facing the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

According to General Gribkov, "We brought...twenty-four R-12

 

launchers, and for each one, 1.5 missile loadings. In

 

addition, there were six Luna launchers, with 1.5 missile

 

loadings each, with nuclear warheads. That is, for six

 

launchers, there were nine tactical nuclear rockets."139 The

 

R-12's were SS-4's, with a missile range of 2,500 kilometers.

 

The tactical Luna missiles were FROGs (Free Rocket Over

 

Ground) with a range of 60 kilometers. At the time of the

 

crisis, 42,00 Soviet troops were in Cuba. "...In the event of

 

an [American] attack," Gribkov stated, " the aggressor would

 

have suffered great losses, either in the event of an air

 

attack with a subsequent landing , or in a direct assault. An

 

air attack would not have destroyed all the missiles. Even if

 

the intermediate-range missile regiments had been destroyed

 

leaving only the six Luna launchers, they would have been

 

ready with nuclear weapons, and we [were] all perfectly aware

 

of the fact that losses would have been tremendous."140 Had

 

the United States opted to attack Cuba rather than resort to

 

a quarantine, it was likely that Cuban, Soviet, and American

 

casualties would have been tremendously high and the island of

 

Cuba pulverized. In addition, with both the Soviets and the

 

Cubans willing to "fight to the last," a long, protracted war

 

could well have been imagined. Consequently, this chapter

 

will examine why Castro, faced with just such an option,

 

agreed to the deployment of missiles in Cuba, what

 

specifically Castro hoped to gain by placing the missiles on

 

the island, what agreements, if any, were made between Castro

 

and Khruschev, and what role Cuba and Castro played in the

 

events leading up to and concluding in the Cuban Missile

 

Crisis.

 

 

THE SOVIET DECISION TO SUPPORT CASTRO

 

 

The Soviet decision to place missiles in Cuba and

 

initiate the "Caribbean Crisis" was clouded in ambiguity. In

 

his report to the Supreme Soviet on December 12, 1962, Nikita

 

Kruschev claimed that his sole aim was to defend "little Cuba"

 

from the "imperialist monster."141 Indicating that he was

 

acting on a request from Castro, Kruschev stated that he

 

placed missiles in Cuba based on a Soviet-Cuban agreement

 

reached at the end of August and announced in a communique on

 

September 2, 1962.142

 

In support of these claims, General Anatoly I. Gribkov of

 

the Main Operations Directorate, Soviet General Staff has made

 

similiar comments. As the planner of Operation Anadyr, the

 

name of the secret deployment of men, missiles, and materiel

 

to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, General Gribkov

 

recalled that the Soviets grew concerned about Cuba's security

 

following the Bay of Pigs. In the Soviet estimate, the best

 

way to deal with the "critical situation" was to provide

 

military assistance to Cuba. In May 1962, the Soviet military

 

High Command was directed to prepare a proposal for a plan and

 

force structure to assist the Cuban military in securing the

 

defense of Cuba. A draft of this agreement was prepared and

 

called an "Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of

 

Cuba and the Government of the USSR on Military Co-operation

 

for the Defense of the National Territory of Cuba in the Event

 

of Aggression." The preamble of the draft agreement referred

 

to the necessity of taking steps "for the joint defense of the

 

legitimate rights of the people of Cuba and the Soviet Union,

 

taking into account the urgent need to adopt measures to

 

guarantee mutual security, in view of the possibility of an

 

imminent attack against the Republic of Cuba and the Soviet

 

Union." Consequently, the terms of the agreement provided for

 

not only the defense of Cuba, but also for the defense of

 

Soviet interests.143

 

Accordingly, the first draft of the agreement was

 

initialled by the Cuban Minister of Defense, Raul Castro, and

 

the Soviet Minister of Defense, Rodion Ya. Malinovsky, during

 

July 1962. However, an August revision of that draft was

 

never signed by either Castro, Nikita Khruschev, or their

 

representatives.144 During early May 1962, Aleksandr

 

Alekseev, former Ambassador to Cuba, was told by Khruschev

 

that "we (meaning either he, the Soviet government, or

 

someone) have decided to send missiles to Cuba because there

 

[was] no other way to protect Cuba's revolution despite our

 

interventions in the U.N. We have not been able to stop the

 

United States."145 Consequently, the defense of "little

 

Cuba," which was considered to be of vital importance to the

 

Soviets, was actually based on a Soviet-Cuban military

 

agreement that neither Kruschev nor Castro had signed.

 

Although Kruschev's primary goal for placing missiles in

 

Cuba, then, was to ensure the security of Cuba through an

 

"effective means of deterrence," three additional reasons,

 

equally important, have also been postualated for Kruschev's

 

decision. The first of these was Kruschev's desire to "repay

 

the Americans in kind" for surrounding the Soviet Union with

 

military bases and missiles, and to make the United States

 

"learn what it's like to live under the sights of nuclear

 

weapons."146 Intending to "do the same thing the Americans

 

do...to use the same methods," Khruschev took every precaution

 

to ensure the secrecy of the missile placement so "U.S. public

 

opinion [would] not be aware of this until November 4th or

 

after November 4th... The Americans are going to have to

 

swallow this the same way we had to swallow the pill of the

 

missiles in Turkey. We (the USSR and Cuba) are two sovereign

 

states, and when everything [was] ready in November, I will

 

travel to Cuba and we will tell the world about this

 

operation."147

 

Second, Khruschev's decision reflected the tensions and

 

continuing competition of Cold War politics. The placement of

 

missiles in Cuba was designed to test the resolve of the

 

United States so that "even though you do not shoot each

 

other, you still position weapons as close as possible ... in

 

order to open fire in case of conflict."148 As the failure

 

of American efforts at the Bay of Pigs seemed to demonstrate

 

eighteen months earlier, Khrushchev believed that he was

 

dealing with an "inexperienced young leader [President

 

Kennedy] who could be intimidated and blackmailed."

 

Subsequently, the Soviet leader secretly placed nuclear arms

 

in Cuba on the assumption that the United States, when faced

 

with such a fait accompli, would acquiesce to the Kremlin's

 

demands. Such a victory over the United States would not only

 

give Khruschev the victory he needed to preserve his prominent

 

position in the USSR, as the Bay of Pigs had done for Castro

 

in Cuba months earlier, but also strengthen Khruschev's

 

position within the international Communist community.149

 

A third reason for Khrushchev's decision centered on his

 

intentions to use the missiles as a bargaining chip in a

 

summit or UN confrontration with President Kennedy, e.g.,

 

trading the withdrawal of missiles in Cuba for commensurate

 

U.S. withdrawals in Turkey, so as to capture the real prize -

 

Berlin. Had the United States responded to the Cuban Missile

 

Crisis by striking Cuba such an act, in Khruschev's

 

estimation, would have split the NATO alliance, fueled anti-

 

Americanism in Latin America, and temporarily occupied the

 

United States while the Soviets used the opportunity to move

 

against Berlin. Accordingly, the deployment of missiles in

 

Cuba was an attempt to alter the Soviet's weak strategic

 

position as it related to the missile gap. The placement of

 

nuclear missiles in Cuba would have provided the Soviets with

 

a swift, comparatively inexpensive but significant addition to

 

their nuclear missile strike capability. Such a capability

 

could have altered the U.S.-Soviet Cold War balance of power.

 

Consequently, the Soviets had much to gain by placing nuclear

 

missiles in Cuba. Not only would the missiles have enabled

 

the Soviets to significantly alter the Cold War balance of

 

power and their position within the international Communist

 

party, but they also would have provided the USSR with a

 

bargaining chip useful in furthering their own international

 

objectives.

 

CASTRO'S DECISION

 

 

For his part, Castro denied that he initiated a request

 

to place missiles in Cuba. On the contrary, Castro stated

 

during a speech on January 2, 1963 that the introduction of

 

strategic weapons into Cuba had been decided by a mutual

 

agreement between the Soviets and Cuba. "Moscow offered them

 

to us...Such is the truth even if other explanations are

 

provided elsewhere."150 However, in an interview several

 

months following the crisis, Castro contradicted this

 

explanation by stating that the Soviets proposed placing the

 

missiles in Cuba "to strengthen the socialist camp on the

 

world scale. . Since we [Cuba] ...already [received] a large

 

amount of assistance from the socialist camp, we decided that

 

we could not refuse. That is why we accepted them. It was

 

not in order to ensure our own defense, but primarily to

 

strengthen socialism on the international scale."151 After

 

Khruschev's ouster in 1965, Castro again reiterated the

 

assertion that the missiles were placed in Cuba at the

 

Soviet's request and that he only agreed to their placement in

 

order to strengthen socialism. Even as late as January 1992,

 

Castro still asserted that "We analyzed the issues, and all of

 

us had the same interpretation: ... the real issue was

 

strategic; that it was imperative to strengthen the socialist

 

camp...if we expected the socialist countries to fight for us,

 

we, for simple reasons of image, could not selfishly refuse

 

that cooperation to the socialist camp."152

 

A review of the facts, however, indicated that Castro's

 

acceptance of the missiles was not as simple as reacting to a

 

proposed Soviet defense plan or supporting the aims of

 

internationl Socialism. Rather, Castro significantly

 

influenced the events and factors that not only led to the

 

Soviet decision for the missile deployment, but also provided

 

him with a legitimate reason for their use.

 

Castro's influence of the Soviet decision leading to the

 

missile deploment actually began two years earlier. In July

 

1960, President Eisenhower, in retaliation for the

 

confiscation of U.S.-owned oil refineries, reduced the Cuban

 

sugar quota by 700,000 tons. Reacting to the President's

 

action Krushchev sent a cable to Castro, committing the USSR

 

to assuming the 700,000 tons of sugar by which the American

 

quota was reduced. In addition, Khrushchev also stated that

 

"In a figurative sense, if it became necessary, the Soviet

 

military can support the Cuban people with "rocket

 

weapons."153 Although Khruschev later attempted to clarify

 

that he was speaking in "figurative" terms only, it appeared

 

that Castro preferred to look at Krushchev's offer as very

 

real. During a mass rally in Cuba on July 10, 1960, Castro

 

stressed numerous times that the Soviet offer of the rockets

 

had been both "absolutely spontaneous," to ensure it was

 

understood that he was "innocent" in the Soviet offer of

 

rocket assistance, and also real, not "figurative." Thus,

 

despite Soviet comments to the contrary, Castro not only

 

exaggerated Soviet intent concerning the missiles, but also

 

publicly reinforced the idea that the Soviets had offerred to

 

protect Cuba with missiles.

 

At the same time, the Soviets, since 1960, had resisted

 

Cuban demands for specific military-security guarantees. Even

 

after the Bay of Pigs, the Soviets carefully referred to

 

"capabilities" rather than commit themselves to Cuba's

 

defense. But Castro's demands, combined with an internal

 

Cuban struggle between the Cuban Communist Party and the

 

"Castroites," created tensions that severely strained Cuban-

 

Soviet relations through the spring of 1962. This

 

disagreement peaked at the end of March when Castro purged

 

Annibal Escalente, an old guard Communist who served as the

 

second in command of the Cuban Communist Party. In an effort

 

to reduce tensions in their relationship with Cuba and thus,

 

retain their valuable outpost in the Western Hemisphere, the

 

Soviets agreed to several of the demands made by Castro.

 

Consequently, by late spring, following the departure of

 

Escalente, an obvious shift had occurred in Soviet policy

 

toward Cuba. During the annual May Day slogans of 1962

 

celebrating Communism, Cuba's postion as a Communist country

 

was listed with those of other prominent Socialist nations.

 

During a speech to a group of Cubans in Moscow, Khruschev also

 

publicly stated, for the first time, that the USSR was

 

providing weapons to Cuba. In July 1962, Soviet ships

 

transporting military arms began sailing towards Cuba. Later

 

that same month, Raul Castro, upon returning from a visit to

 

the Soviet Union, boasted that the only serious threat now

 

affecting Cuba was an American invasion "which [Cuba could]

 

now repel."154

 

Thus, although Khruschev's official reason for offering

 

the missiles to Castro was to defend Cuba, Castro's acceptance

 

of them went beyond his public assertions that he wanted to

 

advance the cause of Socialism. To Castro, accepting military

 

support from the Soviets placed Cuba in the same position of

 

dependency that had existed between the United States and Cuba

 

for over two hundred years. Not wanting to develop such a

 

dependency again, although an economic dependence upon the

 

Soviet Union already existed, Castro framed his acceptance of

 

the missiles as an effort to suport Soviet political

 

objectives as they related to socialism. As Alekseev further

 

recalled, the draft military agreement was "brought...to

 

Castro" who "studied it. There were a great many technical

 

provisions; the political aspects were rather thin, and Fidel

 

Castro introduced the necessary corrections."155

 

In fact, Alekseev at first voiced concern that Castro

 

would refuse to accept the agreement. To Alekseev, Castro's

 

first line of defense for the Cuban Revolution was the

 

solidarity of Latin America. If missiles were installed in

 

Cuba, "... this would provoke a rejection of the Cuban

 

Revolution from the rest of the hemisphere." Subsequently,

 

when meeting with Castro in Cuba concerning the Soviet missile

 

offer, Alekseev recalled that "...Castro did not give an

 

immediate reply. After thinking about it, Castro asked if

 

"...this [was] in the interest of the socialist camp." And we

 

said, "No, this [was] in the interest of the Cuban

 

Revolution." This [was] what Khrushchev had said."156

 

However, it was apparent that Castro and the six members of

 

his Secretariat, the main policymaking body of the Cuban

 

government, believed that Soviet motives were not only to

 

defend Cuba. As Emilio Aragones, former Director of Cuba's

 

Bank of International Finance and a Secretariat member

 

recalled,"...in that meeting, comrade Fidel asked us our

 

opinion about the Soviet plan. We, the six members of the

 

Secretariat, were unanimously in favor of the emplacement of

 

the missiles in Cuba; but we six, especially Fidel Castro,

 

were sure that we were doing this and undertaking these

 

measures not so much to defend Cuba as to change the

 

correlation of forces between capitalism and socialism."157

 

As Dimitri Volkogonov, Director of the Institute of Military

 

History, Soviet Ministry of Defense, explained further, "I

 

think that when we talk of motives, we should keep in mind

 

that it was really a dual task: to help Cuba defend its

 

independence, and, on the other hand, to raise [the Soviet]

 

position as a strategic nuclear power.158 Accordingly,

 

Castro was made well aware that the reason for the placement

 

of the missiles was the defense of Cuba and of the Cuban

 

Revolution. Using missiles to defend the revolution, however,

 

would have undermined Castro's legitimacy within the Latin

 

American community. Consequently, accepting the missiles in

 

the name of Socialism, a Soviet political ideology, not only

 

allowed Castro to share the "blame" for the missiles with

 

Soviet Russia, but also changed the focus of the missile

 

deployment from one supporting a revolution to one supporting

 

an ideology. In essence, Castro shifted the focus of the

 

deployment from one that emphasized Cuban objectives to one,

 

that at a minimum, showed a shared emphasis on Soviet

 

objectives for Socialism.

 

 

CASTRO'S MOTIVES FOR ACCEPTING THE MISSILES

 

 

In addition to his public support for his Soviet

 

benefactors and for international socialism, Castro's

 

acceptance of the missiles also enabled him to achieve a far

 

more significant objective. First and foremost, the missiles

 

provided Castro with the ability to deter an American

 

invasion. Still convinced that the United states would invade

 

Cuba a second time, the missiles provided Castro with the fire

 

power he needed to deter such an invasion and thus guarantee

 

the security of Cuba and of the Cuban revolution.

 

In addition, Castro also believed that the missiles would

 

enable him to strengthen his ability to eliminate Cuba's

 

dependence on the United States. In essence, the missiles

 

would enable Cuba, as a member of the Soviet bloc, to "thumb

 

its nose" at the United States in retaliation for two hundred

 

years of oppression. By possessing nuclear missiles, Castro

 

could finally end any vestiges of Cuba's long history of

 

vulnerability to the United States.

 

 

CASTRO REACTS

 

 

The response in Cuba to President Kennedy's October 22nd

 

address to the nation and announcement of a quarantine was

 

received with a "curious mixture of exhilaration and

 

calm."159 While Castro himself was very calm, exhilaration

 

seemed to come from the Cuban people as they reacted to

 

Castro's announcement of a full-scale mobilization of Cuba.

 

Certain that the United States would launch a major invasion,

 

the Cuban newspaper "Revolucion" carried a banner headline

 

that read "The Nation on a War Footing." As Cuba prepared for

 

war, General Sergio del Valle, the Chief of Staff of the Cuban

 

Army during the crisis, recalled that the Cuban leaders

 

anticipated massive U.S. bombings followed by an all out

 

invasion. "We were convinced that the invasion or aerial

 

attack would be carried out long before the president

 

intervened on the 22nd... our entire population began to

 

prepare to defend the country...we mobilized 270,000 men, we

 

organized 56 infantry divisions, many of whom were not well

 

prepared...the entire nation was made ready..."160

 

Accordingly, for Cuba the threat of war and U.S. invasion was

 

very real. As Sergo A. Mikoyan, personal secretary and son of

 

Soviet First Deputy Premier Anastas I. Mikoyan remembered, the

 

threat was so real that many "Cubans and Soviets in Cuba were

 

ready to die to the last man" in order to defend their

 

homeland.161

 

Had the United States invaded Cuba, the ensuing conflict

 

would have been much different from that anticipated by U.S.

 

planners. The United States expected the main fighting to be

 

over in ten days and that U.S. forces would sustain 18,484

 

casualties.162 On the contrary, however, an invasion of Cuba

 

would have had far more catastrophic results. First, an

 

invasion would have ignited a guerilla war in Cuba that would

 

have lasted for years. And second, General Gribkov was given

 

authority to fire the Luna tactical nuclear missiles in the

 

event of an U.S. invasion. Consequently, had an invasion

 

occurred, such an action may have lead to nuclear holocaust.

 

As Castro prepared for the anticipated invasion, then,

 

the "chess match" between the United States and the Soviets

 

played on. While each nation's respective UN representatives,

 

to include Cuba's, called for UN Security Council action,

 

Khruschev responded to the President's plan to establish a

 

naval quarantine of Cuba. Sending a letter to the White House,

 

Khurschev declared that "...the measures outlined...represent

 

a serious threat to peace and security. The United States has

 

openly taken the path of...aggressive actions both against

 

Cuba and against the Soviet Union."163

 

On October 24th, UN Secretary General U Thant

 

subsequently sought to negotiate a settlement between the two

 

superpowers. On the United States part, U Thant called for a

 

voluntary suspension of the U.S. naval quarantine for a period

 

of two to three weeks while for the Soviets, a voluntary

 

suspension of arms shipments to Cuba. Although Kruschev

 

accepted U Thant's appeal, President Kennedy did not.

 

Instead, U.S. military forces were placed on a heightened war

 

readiness alert. Specifically, General Thomas Power,

 

Commmander in Chief, Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC), raised

 

the alert level of Strategic Air Command to DefCon 2. Unknown

 

to the President, however, the message announcing the DefCon

 

change was sent in the "clear," making it possible for Soviet

 

communications to also intercept and "hear" the transmission.

 

The following day, President Kennedy, in an additional

 

retaliatory move, sent a letter to Khruschev, laying

 

responsibility for the crisis on the Soviet Union. In his

 

letter, the President reminded the Soviet Premier of repeated

 

U.S. warnings against deploying missiles in Cuba and of

 

repeated Soviet assurances that no need or reason existed to

 

undertake such a deployment. Consequently, after receiving

 

both President Kennedy's letter and numerous reports of a

 

planned U.S. invasion while also reacting to the CINCSAC

 

DefCon alert order, Khruschev ordered that a letter be drafted

 

containing the basis of a solution to the crisis. Initially,

 

the Khruschev letter demanded that the U.S. submit to a non-

 

invasion pledge and withdraw its Jupiter missiles from Turkey

 

and Italy. Later that same day, however, Khruschev received

 

new reports suggesting that an American invasion of Cuba was

 

imminent. Subsequently, Khruschev re-dictated his letter to

 

the President, ommitting reference to the removal of missiles

 

from Turkey and Italy and sent the letter the next day.

 

Meanwhile, as the United States maintained its naval

 

quarantine of Cuba, Soviet vessels enroute to Cuba were forced

 

to turn back. Among these vessels was the tanker "Bucharest"

 

which was intercepted by U.S. naval warships but permitted to

 

proceed without boarding. The following day, the Lebanese

 

freighter "Marucla" under charter to the Soviet Union was

 

boarded by a party from the USS PIERCE and USS KENNEDY. When

 

no prohibited material was found, the ship, too, was allowed

 

to continue on its course.

 

On October 26th, Khruschev's re-dictated letter was

 

delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Several hours after

 

its delivery, however, Khruschev learned from Soviet

 

Intelligence that reports of an imminent U.S. attack on Cuba

 

were false and that the United States had not yet settled on

 

a specific course of action regarding the crisis. Seeing an

 

opportunity, Khruschev thus decided to reassert his demands

 

for the removal of U.S. missiles from Turkey. Preparing a

 

second letter to President Kennedy, Khruschev reiterated his

 

previous demands but inadvertently ommitted any reference to

 

the removal of missiles in Italy.

 

Meanwhile in Cuba, Castro continued to prepare the island

 

to defend against an U.S. invasion. As part of these

 

preparations, Cuban antiaircraft batteries were ordered to

 

open fire at all low-level overflights. Unaware that

 

intelligence concerning the U.S. attack was faulty, Castro's

 

order to shoot was based on the belief that the overflights

 

were preliminary air attacks on the missile sites. As Castro

 

later recalled,

 

... It should be said that a surprise air strike was a

threat that was hanging over us from the very

beginning...the situation grew increasingly tense, and

low level overflights more frequent, and we became

convinced that it was extremely dangerous to allow low-

level overflights.164

 

For Castro, the order to fire at the aircraft was meant, in

 

large part, to not only boost morale but to also encourage the

 

feeling among Cubans that they could act constructively to

 

protect themselves and their homeland.

 

After giving the order to fire, Castro, convinced that

 

nothing else could be done to prepare for the U.S. invasion,

 

dictated a letter to Khruschev. In the letter, Castro warned

 

Khruschev of imminent "aggression" by the United States within

 

the next 24 to 72 hours. The aggression he described

 

consisted of "two possible variants: the first and likeliest

 

one was an air attack against certain targets with the limited

 

objective of destroying them; the second, less probable

 

although possible, was invasion."165 In that same letter,

 

Castro also urged the Soviet Premier to launch a nuclear

 

strike against the United States if American forces invaded

 

the island.

 

Midmorning on the 27th, Khruschev's second letter to

 

President Kennedy arrived in Washington. Although having

 

received Khruschev's first, re-dictated letter, the President

 

chose to ignore it and, instead, respond to the Soviet

 

Premier's more attractive second proposal.

 

As Washington prepared to respond to the Kremlin's

 

second, more favorable recommendation, then, Castro continued

 

to believe an U.S. invasion was forthcoming. Consequently, on

 

October 27th, Cuban antiaircraft batteries opened fire on an

 

American U-2, killing its pilot, Major Rudolph Anderson, Jr.

 

Although Castro was blamed for the incident, General Gribkov

 

later related that actually "... our [Soviet] commander ordered

 

that [Soviet] batteries be ready, that our radars be

 

operational. The order to shoot down the plane was given by

 

General Stepan Naumovich Grechko at the regiment commander's

 

headquarters. From there it was transferred to the regiments,

 

and then to the battery commander. Immediately after the

 

information arrived, the aircraft was shot down."166 Later

 

that afternoon, Cuban 57mm guns also open fire at a low flying

 

F8U-1P aircraft on a reconnaissance mission. 167

 

That afternoon, Khruschev, while determining his next

 

move against the Americans, was read the contents of Castro's

 

letter of January 26th. To Khruschev, Castro's letter was

 

interpreted to be an appeal to launch a preemptive nuclear

 

attack on the United States. Thus, responding to Castro's

 

recommendation to launch a nuclear strike, Khruschev stated,

 

In your [Castro's] cable of October 27, you proposed that

 

we be the first to launch a nuclear strike against the

territory of the enemy. You, of course, realize where

that would have led. Rather than a simple strike, it

would have been the start of a thermonuclear world war.

Dear Comrade Fidel Castro, I consider this proposal of

yours incorrect, although I understand your

motivation.168

 

 

 

Despite this response from Khruschev, Castro contended that

 

his letter to Khruschev was not meant to suggest that a strike

 

be launched, but only to bolster Khruschev's "resolve," to

 

convince him that he should under no circumstances succumb to

 

U.S. pressures on Cuba's behalf, and to make clear that Cuba

 

would stay until the end, to annihilation if necessary. "...I

 

dared to write a letter to Nikita, a letter aimed at

 

encouraging him. That was my intention. The aim was to

 

strengthen him morally, because I knew that he had to be

 

suffering greatly... I proposed some ideas as to what should be

 

done in the event, not of an air strike, but of an invasion of

 

Cuba in an attempt to occupy it."169

 

 

WITHDRAWING THE MISSILES

 

 

Following the shooting of the American U-2, a carefully-

 

worded letter was sent from President Kennedy to Khruschev on

 

October 24th. Potentially part of a settlement but more of an

 

U.S. ultimatum, the letter proposed that should Khruschev

 

agree to remove the missiles from Cuba under UN observation

 

and undertake measures to stop the further introduction of

 

such weapons into Cuba, the United States would agree to

 

remove the quarantine of Cuba and provide assurances against

 

an invasion of Cuba.

 

As Khruschev pondered the gravity of the correspondence

 

from President Kennedy, he also pondered with equal concern

 

the recent actions of his Cuban ally. To Khruschev, Castro

 

was clearly acting like a maniac. Holding Castro responsible

 

for the downing of the American U-2, Khruschev stated in an

 

October 28th letter (to Castro) that the "...Pentagon is

 

searching for a pretext to frustrate this agreement. This is

 

why it is organizing the provocative flights. Yesterday you

 

shot down one of these [the U-2], while earlier you didn't

 

shoot them down when they overflew your territory. The

 

aggressors will take advantage of such a step for their own

 

purposes."170

 

Consequently, it came as no surprise, then, that

 

Khruschev kept Castro out of the decision-making process

 

leading to the removal of the missiles from Cuba and an end to

 

the crisis. Not only were Castro and Khruschev experiencing

 

long delays in communicating with each other, but Khruschev

 

was also concerned that Castro's participation in the attempts

 

to resolve the conflict would only complicate the issue

 

further. Accordingly, Castro was neither consulted nor

 

advised concerning the withdrawal of the missiles from Cuba;

 

a fact Castro still has not forgotten.

 

At 10:00 a.m. EST on the morning of October 28th, Radio

 

Moscow announced the text of a message from Khruschev that

 

simply stated that "The Soviet Government...has given an order

 

to dismantle the weapons, which you [the United States]

 

describe as offensive, and to crate them and return them to

 

the Soviet Union." While President Kennedy hailed Khruschev's

 

decision as "an important and constructive contribution to

 

peace," Castro received the message with outrage and

 

humiliation that he had not been consulted by either the

 

Soviets or the United States on a course of action clearly

 

impacting the welfare of Cuba.171 The Soviets had

 

unilaterally agreed to remove Cuba's ultimate deterrent in

 

what appeared to be an imminent threat of American invasion.

 

In retaliation, Castro, within hours of hearing of the

 

agreement, broadcast the terms of "five conditions" under

 

which Cuba would consider to resolve the crisis. The five

 

conditions included: ending the U.S. economic blockade of

 

Cuba, ending all subversive activities against Cuba, halting

 

all "piratical attacks" against Cuba from U.S. bases,

 

respecting Cuban airspace and territorial waters, and

 

returning the naval base at Quantanamo Bay to Cuba. As Castro

 

anticipated, the United States ignored the five conditions.

 

In retaliation and as a public statement that the two world

 

superpowers had ignored Cuban interests in what ostensibly was

 

a very Cuban affair, Castro refused to allow on-site

 

inspections of any kind to verify the withdrawal of the Soviet

 

missiles and bombers unless Cuba was granted the right to

 

inspect American facilities in southern Florida at which the

 

CIA trained anti-Castro exiles.

 

Castro maintained his defiant stance until November 20th

 

when both United Nations Secretary-General U Thant and Anastas

 

Mikoyan traveled to Cuba to resolve the problem. Insistent

 

that any "formula adopted by the [UN] Security Council

 

... guarantee the full sovereignty of Cuba," Castro demanded

 

that the United States' pledge not to invade Cuba be verified.

 

Reporting to U Thant, Castro declared that the U.S. "...would

 

not give up their intention of launching another aggression."

 

Rejecting U Thant's offer of UN assistance, Cuban President

 

Dorticos declared that "the danger of war would renew itself,

 

because the conditions that propitiated North American [U.S.]

 

aggression against Cuba would endure."172 After continued

 

intervention by the United Nations and negotiations between

 

Moscow and Havana, Castro finally agreed to allow the

 

withdrawal of the missiles. On November 20th, President

 

Kennedy announced at a press conference that Castro had agreed

 

to permit the withdrawal of missiles from Cuba within thirty

 

days. The following day, the President of the United States

 

terminated the quarantine of Cuba and the Cuban Missile Crisis

 

officially came to a close.

 

Accordingly, Castro's most significant actions during the

 

crisis, that of ordering the shooting of American aircraft and

 

of writing to Khruschev were predicated on Castro's belief

 

that Cuba faced imminent attack by the United States. Of more

 

importance, however, was the impact Castro's letter had on the

 

tempo of the actions taken by Khruschev. As Oleg Troyanovsky,

 

a Soviet Special Assistant for International Affairs who

 

played a key role in the drafting of Khrushcev's letters to

 

President Kennedy and in the interpretation of Kennedy's

 

letter to Khrushcev, remembered,

 

... what particularly worried the leadership in the Soviet

Union in the letter from Fidel Castro was the information

that there might be a landing within the next twenty-four

hours. This jibed with other reports and...talks between

Robert Kennedy and Dobrynin.. .There were a number of

reports then coinciding, which helped accelerate the

final decision to accept the Kennedy proposal.173

 

 

In addition, the news of the U-2 downing also increased the

 

Kremlin's concern about what further action, if any, Castro

 

would take. Although the exchange of correspondence between

 

Kennedy and Khruschev had already begun, the "news of the U-2

 

shoot-down-particulary considering the fact that troops had

 

been forbidden to shoot down any aircraft-increased the

 

nervousness in Moscow."174

 

CHAPTER 6

 

CUBA AND THE CRISIS

 

 

Despite the resolution of the crisis, then, it was quite

 

apparent that Castro had merely "succumbed" to the agreement

 

worked out between the two superpowers. Humiliated by the

 

Soviet manuever that had not included him and furious that he

 

had not been consulted while the United States and the Soviet

 

Union decided the fate of Cuba, Castro was exceptionally

 

bitter at the perceived Soviet abandonment. Although Castro's

 

prestige within Latin America suffered significantly following

 

the crisis, it was also apparent that, as Mark Falcoff has

 

commented, "Castro was...cut down to size." And even more

 

importantly, it appeared that the Soviets had betrayed Cuba's

 

loyalty not only by leaving the island "defenseless" in the

 

face of an anticipated U.S. attack, but also that Castro's

 

five conditions, proposed after the deal with the U.S. was

 

struck, were not even addressed. Consequently, the "October

 

Crisis," for Castro and Cuba, still remains unresolved.

 

Consequently, after reviewing the factors influencing Cuba's

 

participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis and analyzing the

 

events comprising that participation, Cuba's role can be

 

viewed as falling into three key areas.

 

First, Cuba as the location of the crisis. One of

 

Castro's chief goals for the Cuban Revolution was to correct

 

the island's problems. The main cause of those problems was,

 

in Castro's estimation, Cuba's dependence on the United

 

States. Subsequently, choosing to turn his back on the United

 

States and to seek Soviet support was an easy choice for

 

Castro to make. To Castro's satisfaction, the Soviet Union

 

provided Cuba with the economic subsidies, protection, and

 

international sponsorship the island needed. Castro, for his

 

part, provided Khrushchev with a key advantage in the Soviet

 

Cold War struggle with the United States. Accordingly, Castro

 

set the stage for the Cuban Missile Crisis by providing

 

Khruschev with the means with which to successfully challenge

 

U.S. missile dominance during the Cold War. That stage was

 

Cuba.

 

Second, Castro's influence on Khruschev's decisions

 

during the crisis. On October 26th, Castro wrote a letter to

 

Khruschev warning the Soviet Premier that U.S. "aggression"

 

was imminent. Of chief concern to the Soviets was Castro's

 

belief that the U.S. attack would occur within the next

 

twenty-four hours and that this information corresponded to

 

other reports the Soviets had received. Also contained in

 

Castro's letter was a recommendation that, should the

 

American's attack Cuba, that the Soviets launch a nuclear

 

strike against the United States. This recommendation coupled

 

with the shooting of the American U-2 on the 27th increased

 

Khruschev's concern regarding any future action Castro would

 

take. Subsequently, on October 28th a message was sent by

 

Khruschev to Kennedy indicating that the missiles were to be

 

dismantled and removed. Although it is clear that the

 

agreement to remove the missiles rested on negotiations

 

conducted between the United States and the Soviet Union, the

 

impact of Khruschev's concern for Castro's growing

 

restlessness cannot be overlooked. Tensions in the crisis

 

were growing at a rapid rate. Khruschev knew Castro expected

 

an American invasion, was willing to conduct a nuclear strike,

 

and was eager to strike back at the Americans. Armed with

 

this information, it is not surprising that he opted to end

 

the missile crisis peacefully before it escalated into a

 

nuclear war.

 

Finally, the third issue involves a "legitimate" motive.

 

As both Castro and General Gribkov testified, Khruschev's

 

stated objective for placing the missiles in Cuba was to

 

protect the island from U.S. attack. As previously discussed,

 

Castro had been concerned about Cuba's security since the Bay

 

of Pigs. Well aware of the United States' military

 

capability, any defense provided to Cuba would have to equal

 

the military strength of America if it was to be successful.

 

Consequently, the best method for providing such a defense was

 

to "do the same thing the Americans do...to use the same

 

methods." However, placing missiles in Cuba so as to

 

"protect Cuba" also provided Khruschev with a convenient

 

"cover" for his real intent, that of "repaying the Americans

 

in kind" and improving the Soviet Cold War position.

 

Accordingly, an examination of Cuba's role in the Missile

 

Crisis provides "lessons learned" that still have

 

applicability for today. First and foremost, the greatest

 

lesson that can be taken from the crisis is that the actions

 

of Third World countries do matter. Especially with Cuba,

 

whose history as President Kennedy stated over thirty years

 

ago, is closely shared with the United States, Castro and

 

Castro's Cuba still bear watching. Castro's ambitions for

 

Cuba and the "revolution" still remain strong. As a nation

 

committed to a national security policy of engagement and

 

enlargement, the lessons of U.S. relations with Castro and

 

Cuba's role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, need to be

 

remembered. Especially as the proliferation of weapons of

 

mass destruction rises, it is necessary to remember and take

 

seriously the impact "Little Cuba" had, and will continue to

 

pose, for U.S. national security interests.

 

Second, dealing with Castro and Cuba means understanding

 

Castro and Cuba. Previous analysis has reflected the chain of

 

events by which Cuba became the site of the missile crisis.

 

Important to that analysis was Castro's decision to break ties

 

with the United States. It has already been shown that U.S.

 

policy did not drive Castro to the Soviets, but was

 

influential in determining the evolution of the Cuban

 

Revolution and the tempo and direction of Castro's Russian

 

policy. Key to that U.S. influence was a basic

 

misunderstanding of Castro and the causes of the revolution.

 

An important part of this misunderstanding was underestimating

 

or not comprehending the real reasons why the Cubans initially

 

supported Castro and the Cuban revolution.

 

As previously stated in this thesis, the revolution was

 

successful because Cubans simply wanted to get rid of Batista

 

and the Batista government. The reasons why the Cubans were

 

anxious to remove Batista centered on social, political, and

 

economic problems within Cuba. However, when Castro

 

eventually came to power and proved to be opposed to the

 

United States, any U.S. attempts to "eliminate the Cuban

 

problem" appeared to be more of a vendetta against Castro then

 

a realization of the longstanding problems existent within

 

Cuba. Consequently, future policy decisions concerning Cuba,

 

with or without Castro, must be based on an understanding of

 

Cuba rather than on an emotional, "knee jerk" reaction to an

 

irrational dictator or government.

 

And third, for the United States and Cuba, history will

 

continue to repeat itself. As this thesis has consistently

 

shown, the relationship between the United States and Cuba is

 

based on a history of U.S. intervention. During the Cuban

 

Missile Crisis, that policy was tested to the breaking point

 

as the United States worked to prevent Cuba from becoming an

 

arsenal of Soviet nuclear weapons. As with U.S. actions

 

during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the history of U.S.

 

intervention in Cuba still continues today. Cuba's strategic

 

proximity to the United States, the presence of the U.S. Naval

 

Base at Quantanemo Bay, as well as the large Cuban-American

 

contingent within the United States still makes it necessary

 

to consider the island when pursuing policies affecting

 

national security interests.

 

Especially for military professionals, however, the

 

pursuit of U.S. national security interests implies that

 

continued involvement and/or intervention in Cuba remains

 

necessary. Should that involvement dictate the use of

 

military force, it is most likely that with the history of

 

U.S. intervention in Cuba, this force will be in support of

 

operations that can most likely be classified as Operations

 

Other Than War (OOTW).

 

Consequently, should the use of OOTW be required, it will

 

be necessary to accurately evaluate the threat. As previously

 

discussed in this thesis, however, one of the United States'

 

greatest failures when intervening in Cuba was not

 

understanding Cuba. In OOTW operations, this key inability

 

will prevent success unless the larger political-military

 

aspects of a crisis in Cuba are evaluated in terms of Cuba's

 

political, judicial, administrative, diplomatic, economic, and

 

social aspects. Subsequently, any such evaluation should

 

include not only an analysis of the type of insurgent

 

strategies used, but also what methods should be followed to

 

counter an OOTW threat. For the United States and its allies,

 

the methods to be used can only be determined by understanding

 

past Cuban reactions which must include an evaluation of

 

Cuba's historical relationship with the United States. Key to

 

understanding this relationship must be an awareness of

 

Castro's belief that the Cuban Missile Crisis still remains an

 

unresolved chapter in Cuban history and that Cuba still

 

continues to wage a "Cold War" struggle with the United

 

States. Most especially, the essence of that struggle needs

 

to be analyzed and understood for what it means to Cuba and

 

how it relates to a new, post-Cold War order focusing on the

 

"humanitarian" use of force and "humanitarian" intervention

 

rather than old, Cold War conflicts.

 

The essence of Castro's post Cuban Missile Crisis

 

struggle with the United States needs also to be considered in

 

light of the type of operations that will, most likely, be

 

conducted in Cuba in the future. As history repeats itself,

 

it is most likely that these struggles will be either

 

peacekeeping, peace-enforcement, or peacemaking. Conditional

 

to the type of operation used will be the amount of control

 

exerted by the opposing forces. Thus, still reminescent of

 

the Cuban Missile Crisis is the amount of control exerted by

 

Castro which, to a large extent, still exists within Cuba

 

today. Consequently, the obvious form a military operation

 

may take in Cuba will depend on the existence of Castro.

 

Should Castro not be alive or if he is unable to maintain

 

control, such operations must also consider the strength of

 

his designated successor and/or the strength of competing

 

factions. Also of consequence is the level of support

 

provided by the Cuban Communist Party, its ability to continue

 

the "Cuban Revolution" after Castro ceases to be a force in

 

Cuba, and the strength of any alternative parties. All of

 

these scenarios, however, require an understanding of Cuba and

 

its past, of which the Cuban Missile Crisis forms an integral

 

part.

 

EPILOGUE

 

 

At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was

 

believed that the United States had achieved a great

 

victory. The Soviets were forced to remove their missiles

 

from Cuba and the United States achieved greater position

 

inits Cold War competition with the Soviets. Cuba was

 

forced to comply with the terms of the deal struck between

 

the U.S. and the Soviets, while Castro's prestige within

 

Latin America suffered greatly.

 

However, when commenting on the Cuban Missile Crisis

 

twenty-three years later, Dr. Henry Kissinger stated that

 

the U.S. victory so significant in 1962, may now not be so

 

much a victory as a defeat. For although the missiles had

been removed from Cuba, Castro was still in power.175

 

Now, approximately 35 years following the end of the

 

Cuban Missile Crisis, Dr. Kissinger's comments still ring

 

true. The United States still enforces an embargo on Cuba

 

while Castro still continues to be an irritant to U.S

 

efforts in the Caribbean.

 

Consequently, although Cuba no longer enjoys Soviet

 

economic subsidies and military support, the struggle

 

between U.S. democratic ideals and Castro's communism

 

continues. While U.S. efforts regarding Cuba have borne

 

little success, it is obvious that Castro's feet are still

 

planted in Cuba, and that socialism and an inherent distrust

 

of the United States linger.

 

However, as the results of a recent poll conducted in

 

Cuba by a group of Mexican television reporters reflects,

 

Castro may still be in power, but the strength of his power

 

is now in question. As the poll shows, 66% of Cubans

 

indicated they were against Castro, while only 22% indicated

 

that they favored him. In addition, 77% said he was a

 

dictator whose greatest weaknesses were arrogance (43%) and

 

oppressiveness (35%). While 64% of the population stated

 

that the greatest successes of the Cuban revolution were

 

health and education, only 17% stated that freedom and

 

equality were successes. Key to this poll was the analysis

 

that the percent of Cubans who indicated they favored Castro

 

versus those who did not (22% and 66% respectfully) matched

 

the current demographic makeup of Cuba. In short, sixty

 

percent of the Cubans living in Cuba today were not born

 

when the Cuban Re