Marc writes:

> Again, even if this is true, what's the point? Cuba could have developed
al> ong
> stable, democratic lines, but the US prevented it. 

Which is exactely the point made in Quigley's, _Tragedy and Hope_ and 
Skousen's, _The Naked Capitalist_, Gary Allen's, _None Dare Call It Conspiracy_ 
and many other book. 

Since Gadianton Robbers based in the United States played a major role in 
financing and supporting the Bolshevik Revolution (See Anthony Sutton's, _Wall 
Street and the Bolshevik Revolution_),  it is not surprising to these same 
Gadianton Robbers playing a major role in bringing (and keeping) Castro to 

Fidel Castro's Climb to Power
by William P. Hoar

Fidel Castro's dictatorship in Cuba, contended Senator J. William Fulbright to 
President John F. Kennedy in March 1961, is a "thorn in the flesh, but it is 
not a dagger in the heart." Yet through U.S. actions, which helped put Castro 
in control in Havana, then ensured that he would be strong enough to hold that 
power, U.S. Presidents -- including, most recently, Bill Clinton -- have had to 
deal with the communist dictator of Cuba, who became much more than an 

Early Revolutionary Days 

Born in 1928 to a sugar cane contractor, Fidel Castro demonstrated an early 
affection for power, studying Hitler's Mein Kampf and spending hours mimicking 
before tape recorder and mirror the Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini. While 
some of his apologists have argued that Castro was somehow forced into 
communism (even after he boldly declared himself a Marxist/Leninist),his early 
history exposes him as a gangster and revolutionary. In 1947, for example, 
Castro participated in an invasion of the Dominican Republic. In 1948, when the 
meeting in Colombia of the Ninth International Conference of American States 
was attended by a large contingent of communist students, including Fidel, 
there were thousands killed in the Bogotazo riots. The bloody frenzy was 
touched off by the assassination of Liberal Party leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. 
Shortly before Gaitan's killing, Castro was seen in the presence of the 
assassin (who was himself killed); the communists were prepared to take 
advantage of the violence. 

Subsequently, U.S. Ambassador to Peru and Brazil William Pawley testified 
before Congress that he had heard a voice on the radio saying (hyperbolically, 
it turned out): "This is Fidel Castro from Cuba. This is a Communist 
revolution. The president has been killed; all the military establishments in 
Colombia are now in our hands; the navy has capitulated, and this revolution 
has been a success." The police and even the president of Colombia uncovered 
Castro's role -- identifying him and another Red as "first-grade agents of the 
Third Front of the USSR in South America." 

On July 26, 1953, Castro led an abortive coup attempt against Cuba's president, 
Fulgencio Batista. Although Castro and his brother Raul, a known communist, 
were sentenced to 15 and 13 years respectively, Batista amnestied them after 22 
months. The Castros left Cuba for Mexico, where they hooked up with Argentine 
communist Ernesto "Che" Guevara and others to prepare for an invasion of Cuba. 
The resulting 82-man "invasion" in December 1956 was a dismal failure, and 
Fidel and a small band of survivors took to the Sierra Maestra. 

Enter Herbert Matthews 

The American media, in particular Herbert Matthews of the New York Times, built 
up the myth of Fidel Castro -- the supposed agrarian reformer. John Kennedy 
compared the Cuban revolution to the American one, and called Fidel "part of 
the legacy of Bolivar." JFK also bought the fable of U.S. exploitation of a 
downtrodden Cuba. 

Matthews, who had earlier backed the communist side in the Spanish Civil War, 
also exaggerated such things as the alleged poor health care of Cubans and even 
a lack of shoes. Yet even Kennedy house historian Arthur Schlesinger admitted 
that pre-Castro Cuba ranked near the top in Latin America in "education, 
literacy, social services and urbanization." Cuba's communist revolution did 
not start from the "bottom up." Che Guevara, in the World Marxist Review, 
acknowledged as much: "The armed struggle was initiated by the petty 

In a series of articles starting in February 1957, Matthews blasted Batista and 
fawned on Fidel, "the rebel leader of Cuba's youth," who was a "flaming 
symbol." General Batista, assured Matthews, "cannot possibly hope to suppress 
the Castro revolt." Fidel Castro's program, came the word from the 
Times, "amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic, and therefore anti-

Matthews' coverage of Castro in the New York Times was reprinted by Castro 
supporters and distributed in Cuba, leading to a series of public-relations 
successes. As a Castro publicist put it: "Both Matthews and the New York Times 
could be considered practically in our pockets, so it was better to keep them 
in reserve for the future." A succession of media puffs were run by NBC, CBS, 
and Life. At the time that Batista supposedly could not resist Castro, Castro 
and his men had been involved in but two minor actions -- one in which they 
butchered sleeping guards, according to Guevara. Little wonder, as Guevara 
later admitted when the revolution was over, "The presence of a foreign 
journalist, American for preference, was more important for us than a military 

Others in the media also helped in the same vein as Matthews, including Jean-
Paul Sartre and C. Wright Mills. When a triumphant Fidel visited New York, in a 
stage-managed performance akin to the "guerrilla theater" in the Sierra 
Maestra, Norman Mailer proclaimed that "it was as if the ghost of Cortez had 
appeared in our century riding Zapata's white horse." Castro, wrote Mailer, 
was "the first and greatest hero to appear in the world since the Second War." 

Help at State 

Obviously it took more than press clippings to communize Cuba -- it also took 
the U.S. State Department. When Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith was posted to 
Havana, he was told outright that (as later recounted before a Senate 
subcommittee by another ambassador, Robert Hill) he had been "assigned to Cuba 
to preside over the downfall of Batista. The decision has been made that 
Batista has to go. You must be very careful." 

In charge of the project, as Smith found out, were Roy Rubottom, Assistant 
Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, and William Wieland, director of 
the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs. Both, as it happens, had been in 
Colombia at the time of the Bogotazo riots and knew about Castro's actions but 
had not reported about it at that time, nor did they deign to mention that most 
pertinent matter to Ambassador Smith when he went to Cuba in July 1957. As late 
as 1961, Wieland and Rubottom were officially peddling the line that Fidel was 
not a communist, though they knew otherwise, as was later determined in 
security hearings. Friends of Wieland, for example, testified that he had told 
them in 1957 and 1958 that he knew that Castro was a communist. There can be no 
doubt that Rubottom and Wieland were covering for Castro. 

Smith, a brave man who risked the wrath of all those pushing the Red line -- in 
Havana and in Washington -- later recalled in The Fourth Floor: 

I now know that those in charge of Cuban affairs in the State Department were 
advised from many other sources of the Communist infiltration of the 26th of 
July Movement and the Communist sympathizers who held important positions in 
the Movement, especially among the troops led by Raul Castro. 

>From the time Castro landed in the Province of Oriente in December 1956, the 
State Department received reports of probable Communist infiltration and 
exploitation of the 26th of July Movement. The State Department was aware of 
Castro's contacts with Communists in Mexico. Certain officials in the State 
Department were familiar with Castro's part in the bloody Communist-inspired 
uprising in Bogota, known as the "Bogotazo" of 1948. In addition to my reports 
and information from many outside sources, the State Department also had 
reports from its own Bureau of Research and Intelligence. 

All of which led Smith to testify before the Senate Internal Security 
Subcommittee that the U.S. "Government and the United States press played a 
major role in bringing Castro to power." The turning point in ousting Batista, 
and opening the way to Castro, many agree, was the announcement in March 1958 
that the U.S. was cutting off arms sales to the Batista government, a move 
engineered by Wieland and Rubottom, among others. Prior to that, Fidel (who 
never had more than 3,000 fighters) had not amassed more than 300 men. In 
cutting off support to Batista, the supposedly pro-Batista Eisenhower 
Administration signed the death warrant for resistance to communism in Cuba. 
Castro, in the meantime, was clandestinely supplied with arms from the United 
States while officials looked the other way. 

Former Ambassador William Pawley, the organizer of the Flying Tigers in China, 
repeatedly tried to warn President Eisenhower as well as Wieland and Rubottom 
of Fidel's communist allegiance. To no avail. Pawley later wrote: "I believe 
that the deliberate overthrow of Batista by Wieland and Matthews, assisted by 
Rubottom, is almost as great a tragedy as the surrendering of China to the 
Communists by a similar group of Department of State officials fifteen or 
sixteen years ago and we will not see the end in cost of American lives and 
American resources for these tragic errors." 

To imply that these were merely errors is, we believe, to be charitable. When 
Pawley was asked in 1961 by the general counsel of a Senate subcommittee about 
Wieland (who served as the ambassador's press attaché in Brazil) and about the 
possibility of Wieland's being a communist himself, Pawley demurred. Was 
Wieland serving "the cause of our enemies" intentionally? Answered Pawley: "I 
have got to say that he is either one of the most stupid men living or that he 
is doing it intentionally." 

Embassy Assistance to Reds 

Except largely for the ambassadors (Smith, and before him Arthur Gardner), the 
U.S. embassy in Havana was as pro-Castro as the State Department. New York 
Times correspondent Ruby Hart Phillips, who was presented with an orchid by 
Castro as he rolled into Havana, wrote that at the time of the revolution, "one 
man laughingly asked me if I knew of the 'Castro cell' in the U.S. Embassy. It 
was no secret that several of the officials there favored the overthrow of 
Batista and the assumption of power by Castro." The U.S. consul in Santiago was 
also sympathetic to Castro. 

The public affairs officer of the U.S. embassy in Cuba helped to arrange press 
interviews with Castro in the mountains; he went so far as to hide an 
underground Castroite (a Matthews confidante and later minister in Castro's 
cabinet) in his house. The embassy even harbored an American pilot who was 
illegally supplying arms to Castro but whose plane had crashed on its 20th 
mission. A "Student Directorate" assassination attempt on Batista was known 
beforehand by the embassy, which did nothing. 

His True Color 

While the State Department and the leftist U.S. media whitewashed Castro, even 
after he took over officially on January 1, 1959, and the bloodthirsty cry of 
Paredon! (to the Wall!) preceded hundreds of executions, not all had been 
blind. Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society, for instance, 
presciently wrote in the September 1958 American Opinion that Castro's whole 
past was evidence that "he is a Communist agent carrying out Communist 

Confiscations of U.S. property took place; schools were turned into propaganda 
factories; civil liberties were suspended; free elections were dismissed; and 
alliances with Moscow were made. On October 13, 1960 nearly 400 locally owned 
firms -- sugar mills, banks, large industries -- were socialized. After that 
came the socialization of all commercial real estate. There was a takeover of 
the courts. The rival anti-Batista forces agreed to lay down their arms, 
sealing their fate. Revolutionary "justice" and purges began, as the non-Reds 
in Castro's movement learned they had been duped. 

The horrendous suffering and torture in Castro's prisons has been painfully 
described by Armando Valladares, a 22-year veteran of such ordeals who was 
freed by Western pressure. In Against All Hope, Valladares writes movingly of 
condemned Cuban patriots crying, "Long Live Christ the King! Down with 
Communism!" -- until guards were unnerved and gags had to be applied before the 
firing squads took over. 

In comparison, the words of Herbert Matthews, not that long before, are as 
dust: "Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need 
to restore the constitution, to hold elections." 

How about the alleged anti-communism'? Well, as Castro explained in Le Figaro 
magazine in June 1986, back in 1959 the U.S. wanted "us to make a strategic and 
tactical error and proclaim a doctrine as a communist movement. In fact, I was 
a communist .... I think that a good Marxist-Leninist would not have proclaimed 
a socialist revolution in the conditions that existed in Cuba in 1959. I think 
I was a good Marxist-Leninist in not doing that, and when we did not make known 
our underlying beliefs." 

Belated Anti-Castroism 

In the summer of 1960, Cuba was flooded with Soviet arms. In response to the 
growing threat to the U.S., a plan was formulated by the Central Intelligence 
Agency during the Eisenhower Administration to oust Castro. Though JFK knew 
about this before the election (as, of course, did Vice President Nixon), 
Kennedy tried to make political hay of anti-Castro feeling in the presidential 
debates -- backing any exile effort against Castro. Nixon felt compelled to 
keep mum on the plans being considered. In short, JFK didn't inherit an out-of-
control policy when he came into the White House. 

The President-elect was also briefed during the interregnum about the idea 
(akin to a 1954 CIA effort in Guatemala) to get rid of Castro. The effort 
against Castro was not to be a military operation, however. And, as we know 
now, it was not going to get rid of Castro either. It is not far-fetched to 
think that the liberals in the new Administration, drawn into the notion 
begrudgingly (and some of whom favored "Castroism without Castro"), 
deliberately sabotaged the operation known now as the "Bay of Pigs" fiasco. 
Whether the effort might have worked may be debated, but that it couldn't work 
the way it was carried out seems indisputable -- with some 1,400 Cubans 
abandoned on the beaches to murderous fire from aircraft and tanks. 

By the time the anti-Castro move came, the plans had been revised drastically 
at JFK's orders. The President, however, seemed to have little idea of the 
dangers of an amphibious landing, especially at night. While the original plan 
did not involve direct U.S. forces, the CIA and military, it seems clear, 
expected that if need be U.S. forces would be available to prevent a failure. 
And, indeed, the Cubans were led to believe that they would have air cover and 
whatever other support was needed to succeed. 

However, Kennedy seemed obsessed with keeping the official forces of the U.S. 
out of action. A larger plan, centered on the city of Trinidad, was the initial 
proposal presented. But this site (which had a fallback plan for guerrilla 
activity from the Escambray mountains) was scrubbed at the last minute for one 
that would make "less noise" at the Zapata swamp area near Bahia de Cohinos -- 
the Bay of Pigs, which happened to be one of Fidel's favorite fishing spots. 

The Kennedy Administration, it has since been learned, was deeply involved 
(before and after the Bay of Pigs) in assassination plans against Castro; some 
involved a mobster who shared a mistress with JFK. LBJ, who said Kennedy was 
running "a damn Murder Incorporated in the Caribbean," later surmised that 
Kennedy "was trying to get Castro, but Castro got to him first." 

Be that as it may, the Cuban patriots never got the backing they were promised. 
This despite the King of Camelot's noble promise to "pay any price, bear any 
burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the 
survival and the success of liberty." 

Brigade 2506 

Named for the serial number of a Cuban who died in training, Brigade 2506 was 
supposed to land intact on Cuba's southern coast and establish a beachhead. 
Operation Pluto, as Mario Lazo pointed out in Reader's Digest in 1964 and a 
subsequent book, was essentially an air operation that demanded that Castro's 
air force be first knocked out on the ground. That is exactly what didn't 

The planning for the operation was hardly a secret. There were early accounts 
of training in Guatemala (the brigade later transferred to Nicaragua before 
embarking) in the New York Times, La Hora out of Guatemala City, and in 
subsequent reports in The Nation and elsewhere. Shortly before the invasion, 
the New York Times (among others) had much of the pertinent information, 
editing its front-page account of the coming assault slightly when the White 
House found out about it. Press secretary Pierre Salinger, who said that Castro 
knew everything eight days before the invasion but the time and place, called 
it "the least covert military operation in history." 

Two weeks before the Bay of Pigs, Nikita Khrushchev told Walter Lippman about 
the pending attack, saying it would fail. Secrecy was almost nonexistent. Even 
as the force was nearing its target, the New York Times actually called 
Revolución in Havana to see if they had any word on details yet; that 
publication alerted Fidel. 

Two top agents running the operation wanted to quit due to all the debilitating 
changes, as Peter Wyden points out in The Bay of Pigs. They were convinced to 
stay, but when action began, matters got worse. The President, who had 
equivocated before, began to hedge even more -- even as the operation was 
underway. As the political risk was lessened (in his mind, ostensibly), the 
military risks grew. 

The promised air "umbrella," it turned out, wasn't there for the Cuban exiles. 
There were supposed to be three air strikes, but after the first (largely 
ineffective) one caused a ruckus at the United Nations, the President cancelled 
the second one outright -- without even telling top military commanders. Chief 
of Naval Operations Arleigh Burke didn't find out until ten hours after that 
vital strike cancellation. Potential cover from the carrier Essex was vetoed. 
Only a moderate one and one-half strikes were permitted; of the 48 sorties that 
had been scheduled to knock out Castro's planes, only eight were allowed. Just 
a handful of Castro's planes were knocked out, with appalling results. 
Militarily, the operation was a fiasco, with ammunition and communications 
being early casualties. Then the bloodbath on the beaches began. 

Betrayal and Beyond 

Even so, CNO Burke thought the situation could have been retrieved by using a 
barrage from but one destroyer, but that too was refused by JFK, who said he 
didn't want the U.S. to become involved. "We are involved, sir," Burke 
reportedly argued. "We trained and armed these Cubans. We helped land them on 
the beaches. G**d***it, Mr. President, we can't let those boys be slaughtered 

But they were deserted. Cuban calls for help became more pitiful to those 
Americans who were handcuffed. A typical one from the beach commander: "Do not 
see any friendly air cover as you promised. Need jet support immediately. 
Pepe." Plea denied. The final message from the beach commander of the Free 
Cubans, sent to the U.S. vessels standing offshore of the Bay of Pigs: "I am 
destroying all my equipment. I have nothing left to fight with. The enemy tanks 
are already in my position. Farewell, friends!" 

Arthur Schlesinger noted the irony that the President was then willing to take 
more risks to take the Cubans off the beach than to put them on. Some 114 in 
the invading force were killed; 1,189 were captured; of the 150 or so others, a 
few were rescued and some never landed. Though the anti-communist underground 
had not even been alerted, Castro rounded up perhaps 300,000 Cuban suspects and 
declared that his was a socialist revolution after all. It gave Castro, 
reported Paul Johnson, "the opportunity to wage a terror-campaign against the 

The eventual ransom of the Cuban exiles was humiliating and complicated. At 
first, Castro's asking price was some $28 million in tractors. After show 
trials started, arrangements were finally made to get Brigade 2506 returned, at 
a cost of around $53 million in medical supplies and baby food, with the 
donating pharmaceutical companies given tax breaks by Robert Kennedy. 

When the men of Brigade 2506 were released, after a year and a half, President 
Kennedy was handed the flag of the brigade in a dramatic Miami ceremony. He 
vowed, "I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a 
free Havana." In 1976, however, lawyers for the brigade were forced to hire a 
lawyer to get the flag back from the U.S. government; it had been crated up in 
the Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. 

Some six months after the Orange Bowl event celebrating the release of the 
Cuban fighters, the President met with Herbert Matthews, as Matthews recounted 
in Revolution in Cuba. "Fidel Castro ought to be grateful to us," remarked 
Kennedy. "He gave us a kick in the a** and it made him stronger than ever." 
That is why some believe it was the perfect failure. 

Steven Montgomery

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