Skip to comments.When Castro Became A Communist
Posted on 07/25/2003 7:28:36 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez
The fundamental question of when Fidel Castro became a communist has had a profound and enduring impact on the foreign policy of the United States . From December 1956, the time Castro landed his armed expedition from Mexico against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista; to Batista's downfall on January 1, 1959; to President Eisenhower's approval of covert action against the Castro regime in March of 1960;(1) the U.S. ostensibly pursued a policy of non-intervention in the Caribbean area and the Western Hemisphere as a whole. Conceivably, the U.S. could have invoked the Rio Treaty(2) at any point during this time period given the information available to official Washington concerning Castro's involvement with international communism and the threat it posed to the national security interests of the United States.(3)
During this post-World War II period commonly referred to as the Cold War, the Soviet Union had become America's principal adversary. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's (1924-1953) adverse reaction to U.S. economic aid to Europe also known as the Marshall Plan (1947); Stalin's coup in Czechoslovakia (1948); the Soviet blockade of Berlin's Allied sectors (1948); and, the Soviet arming of North Korean troops before the invasion of the South ultimately leading to the Korean War (1950-1953); all of these events helped to shape U.S. foreign policy toward the inter-American region.
In an effort to secure hemispheric unity and mutual defense against the threat of Soviet expansion, the Ninth Inter-American Conference was held in Bogota, Colombia in April 1948, leading to the creation of the Organization of American States (OAS).(4) The strategic importance of Cuba, therefore, with regard to the Gulf-Atlantic-Caribbean shipping lanes, the Panama Canal, and the Guantanamo Naval Base, could not have been more compelling.
It is in this setting in May of 1960 in Washington that Salvador Diaz-Verson presented corroborative testimony of Castro's early links with the growing anti-Americanism of the Soviet Union before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security.(5) Diaz-Verson testified about the destruction by the Castro forces(6) of the files he had created and meticulously maintained on Cuban communists throughout Latin America on behalf of the Anti-Communist League of Cuba.(7) This criminal act, which was widely reported by foreign newspaper correspondents in Havana the following day on January 27, 1959,(8) revealed the destruction of the Diaz-Verson archives more than one year before President Eisenhower's directive approving covert action against the Castro regime in March of 1960. Justifiably in fear of his life, Diaz-Verson fled into exile on March 19, 1959.(9)
Whether or not Fidel Castro was a "card carrying" member of the Communist Party(10) became the litmus test by which U.S. actions toward Cuba were determined. Castro's communist affiliations with the Third International for Latin America were not unknown; (11) in the events of the so-called Bogotazo, (12) ample evidence was readily available providing proof that Castro was an enemy agent of the Soviet Union intent on defeating the United States.(13) As early as mid-1957, former Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs, Spruille Braden, who also served as U.S. ambassador to Cuba from 1943 to 1945, gave an interview to the Washington weekly, Human Events, citing Fidel Castro's communist activities.(14)
Contrary to America's security interests in Latin America,(15) it became U.S. policy to: abandon a friendly government in Cuba,(16) fail to support a viable alternative to Castro,(17) and to prematurely recognize the Castro government(18) which was widely portrayed as a non-communist product of a democratic revolution.(19) Vice President Richard M. Nixon had expressed his concern over Castro's communism in a confidential memorandum distributed to the CIA, the State Department, and the White House following a three hour meeting with Castro during his visit to Washington in April 1959.(20) Castro's trip had been arranged by Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, Roy Rubottom,(21) who was fully aware of Castro's communist leanings and affiliations having been posted in Bogota, Colombia at the time of the Ninth Inter-American Conference in 1948,(22) scene of the infamous Bogotazo.(23)
By the time Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state on May 1, 1961(24) and proclaimed himself a "Marxist-Leninist" in a televised speech on December 2, 1961,(25) communist power in Cuba had been consolidated.(26) Cuba would not only provide a base for anti-American activities in the Western Hemisphere but the island would also serve to project Moscow's influence throughout the Third World further exacerbating Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
In a 1987 book review entitled "Cuba and Its Critics," Saul Landau(27) referred to an interview he had had with Castro revealing his early dedication to communism. According to Landau, "Fidel Castro in 1968 explained to me that he had become a Marxist from the very time that he read the Communist Manifesto in his student days, (emphasis added) and a Leninist from the period when he read Lenin while in prison on the Isle of Pines in 1954."(28) This account coincides with Diaz-Verson's iteration of the destruction of the archival proof "of Fidel's disloyalty from his schooldays (emphasis added) onward."(29)
Scholars throughout the years unceasingly have debated Castro's communism;(30) the question of when Castro became a communist;(31) or, for that matter, if he ever truly was a committed communist suggesting Castro became a communist only out of pragmatism. Arguments have been presented contending that the United States forced Castro into the arms of the Soviet Union(32) and onto the path of international communism. Now, with the collapse of the Soviet system and the end of the Cold War, comes the opening of the archives of the former Soviet Union.(33)
Throughout this debate, Landau's highly credible account of his 1968 interview with Castro has been ignored. Even Castro's televised admission on December 2, 1961(34) of his own communist roots has been dismissed as "assertions" and described as "after-the-fact," and as "self-serving."(35) While Diaz-Verson's account of when Castro became a communist has been conveniently dismissed,(36) it has never been disputed or denied. Notwithstanding the destruction of Diaz-Verson's files, Castro's so-called "student days" or "schooldays" clearly span from high-school-to-university encompassing the 1943 period(37) designated by Diaz-Verson as the time when "the Cuban youth who had already entered into the Soviet Union's service and who received a monthly sum of money to cover their expenses began visiting agent Bashirov's residence" in Havana included "Fidel Castro Ruz."
Diaz-Verson, a distinguished Cuban journalist and intelligence officer, gathered evidence of Castro's connection with the Soviet Union dating back to 1943. His account of when Castro became a communist is of importance from a U.S. policy perspective; it is both historically significant and contextually accurate. Cuba established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in October 1942 with Maxim Litvinov having presented his credentials in April 1943.(38) Given that Cuba had the strongest Communist Party in Latin America at the time "regarded as a sort of Caribbean regional headquarters"(39) in which the "Soviet government placed a high value,"(40) it is not unthinkable that Castro did indeed come under the influence of Gumer W. Bashirov in the early months of 1943 as Diaz-Verson has described in his seminal paper reprinted below entitled "When Castro Became A Communist."
There is every indication that Castro would have been thwarted long before Batista's downfall on January 1, 1959. America's policy of non-intervention would have become inoperative had President Eisenhower discerned the extent of the communist threat that a Castro-led Cuba posed to the United States(41) as eventually was made clear by the Eisenhower-Khrushchev exchange of July 9, 1960. At that time, President Eisenhower justifiably evoked the Rio Treaty and declared, "I affirm in the most emphatic terms that the United States will not be deterred from its responsibilities by the threats Mr. Khrushchev is making. Nor will the United States, in conformity with its treaty obligations, permit the establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the Western Hemisphere." (Department of State Bulletin, July 25, 1960, pages 139-140).(42) Had the Castro communist revolution been viewed less as a rebellion from within or as an insurrection against the established order as it was portrayed and more for what it really was, a Trojan horse attack by the forces of international communism led by Fidel Castro, then U.S. policy makers would have dealt with it as such and Castro, disguised as a democrat, would never have been successful in taking over Cuba. Instead, Castro's unhindered rise to power made U.S. policy appear indecisive and paralyzed. Diaz-Verson's paper provides the key in helping to understand when Fidel Castro became a communist; in its entirety it shows how the U.S. policy process collapsed from within and how Cuba was lost to Soviet-Russian influence for nearly four decades.
* Fidel Castro began working for the Soviet Union in 1943.
* In January 1959, he destroyed the evidence of his connections with the Soviet Union.
As soon as Fidel Castro Ruz learned that file "A-943" in our records contained irrefutable evidence of his connection with the Soviet Union and that those records also contained data which proved the communist militancy of his closest colleagues, he ordered their seizure. Those documents were seized on the evening of January 24, 1959 at the Vedado neighborhood of Havana. Fidel had just entered Havana surrounded by demagoguery, falsehood and lies and he needed to cover up, for the time being, his treacherous purposes. We knew and had the proof that Fidel Castro was one of Moscow's agents. We had been able to gather photographs, documents and reports indicating he was an agent for the Soviet Union although he was not a regular member of the Communist Party. And it was natural that the traitor would worry about neutralizing whatever could translate into evidence of his wickedness at the time of revolutionary and blind excitement.
Since founding the Third International, the Soviet Union divided its worldwide organization into two large sectors. On the one part, there appeared the Communist Parties, "facade organizations." On the other part, there were those agents directly linked to the Moscow regime who never were registered with the red groups in their countries of origin. The former were comprised of those who had to intervene in national politics, vote, run for elective offices and agitate their respective peoples through press, radio, meetings, civic and patriotic organizations. The latter were formed by foreigners, who never were meant to function as activists, as well as those who performed espionage, subversion and acts of deceit under different "covers." Those were the cases of Lombardo Toledano in Mexico and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. These persons, who acted on behalf of the Soviet Union, never appeared on the rosters of any Communist Party. Their work was directly with the Soviet government well above the communist parties or delegates. And Fidel Castro is one of those agents.
During the time we have been in exile, we have been gathering data, reconstructing reports, and recalling details. We are therefore able to offer a summary about Fidel Castro's activities as an agent for the Soviet Union since 1943 when he was only 17 years old.
In 1943 while the battle for Stalingrad was raging and North Africa was being invaded by British and American troops, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR convened in Moscow to consider and try to stifle U.S. prestige which had been on the rise because of its heroic deeds in World War II. That entity discussed the need for Soviet Russia to extinguish that popularity and to help to continue the internal struggle against the United States. Several resolutions were adopted in that meeting. Aside from Communist Parties was the creation of youth groups, intellectuals, and artists in every country of the Western Hemisphere to act within a new political strategy.
In accordance with these plans, on April 7, 1943, Maxim Litvinov arrived in Havana and was accredited as Ambassador from the USSR. He was replaced by Andrei A. Gromiko a few months later who was charged with the implementation of Moscow's new strategy including the accreditation of 150 Soviet officials in Havana.
Among the officials who arrived from abroad was Gumer W. Bashirov. An agent in charge of recruiting youth for the USSR, he had lived in Spain during the Civil War and spoke Spanish fluently. He then became the agent in charge of recruiting Cuban youth for the USSR. Bashirov settled not at the Soviet Embassy compound in Vedado but took residence alone at number 6 Second Avenue between First and Third Streets in the Miramar subdivision of Marianao (a city east of Havana).
In the first months of 1943, the Cuban youth who had already entered into the Soviet Union's service and who received a monthly sum of money to cover their expenses began visiting agent Bashirov's residence. The list recorded then the following names:
Fidel Castro Ruz, Manuel Corrales, Luis Mas Martin, Baudilio Castellanos, Eduardo Corona, Antonio Carneado, Jaime Grabalosa, Juan Bradman, Jorge Quintana, Flavio Ortega, Arquimedes Poveda, Agustin Clavijo, Raul Valdes Vivo, Antonio Nunez Jimenez, Alicia Alonso, Oscar Camps, Walterio Carbonell, Alfredo Guevara Valdes, Adan Garcia and Baldomero Alvarez Rios.
Some of these youth, such as Luis Mas Martin and Abelardo Adan, were chosen to be sent to Czechoslovakia for training. Others departed with bogus passports to Mexico, Venezuela, and Guatemala; some visited Moscow. The Soviet Embassy in Havana had already become the center of red operations for Latin America. The propaganda distributed throughout the region was printed in the embassy and all subversive problems on the Continent were taken care of there as well. Meanwhile, at the beautiful Miramar residence, Bashirov continued to train Cuban youth sending them on various missions. But militant anti-communists were taking photographs of these visits, identifying the Soviet agents and obtaining copies of letters, bogus passports, and documents that corroborated these clandestine activities.
By mid-1944, Bashirov had traveled to Moscow having returned to Havana with instructions to modify his work. Several of the Cuban-born youth who worked under his command would join the Socialist Youth or the bourgeoisie political parties, that is, the non-communist political parties, in order to operate within them in accordance with the instructions that they would gradually receive.
However, some names, for the time being, were reserved for the future. Among those names were Fidel Castro, Antonio Nunez Jimenez and Alicia Alonso. These agents had to remain as a reserve. That was Moscow's wish.
In the post-World War II era, the international situation was taking a new course. Havana had become the center for red operations in all of Latin America. The announcement that a conference would take place in Bogota, Colombia to adopt resolutions against communist activities in the Western Hemisphere attracted a great deal of interest within the Soviet camp. Frances Demont, the treasurer of the "World Federation of Democratic Youth" arrived in Havana on February 2, 1948, carrying $70,000 in her luggage for propaganda against the Bogota Conference. Interviews took place at Bashirov's residence in Miramar. On February 25, Basily Bogarev, the chairman of the Soviet Youth; Jarolov Boucet, a Czech; Luis Fernandez, a young Spaniard communist; Eugene Karbul, a Frenchman; Ivan Mischine, a Russian; and Mirorat Pesis, a Yugoslavian; arrived in Havana and quickly met to agree upon their plan to thwart the Bogota Conference.
While meetings continued in Havana, Luis Fernandez, the Spaniard communist visitor who resided in Moscow, was sent to Bogota to gather information about the prevailing conditions there. Upon returning to Havana, he submitted his report in which he stressed that the election held in Colombia in March 1947 had pointed out a fissure in the political work of the Colombian Communist Party which had been left with no representation in the parliament. Augusto Duran, the Secretary General of the Colombian Communist Party, was accused of negligence. Later, in a Communist Congress held on July 24, 1947, it was agreed to divide the Communist Party into two parts. One would act in the future under the name of the "Workers' Party" (Partido do los Trabajadores) led by Duran while the other, the "Colombian Communist Party" under the control of Gilberto Vieira, would proceed with its operations. This weakened communist action in Colombia and required, as Bashirov explained, that agents be sent from the outside to act on that matter.
While they were still meeting to discuss the plans which were to be developed, an order arrived in Havana from Moscow that contained the manner in which actions should be executed in Colombia. Lázaro Pena, a communist labor union leader, would go to that nation to organize groups of workers to promote strikes, demonstrations, conduct sabotage and foment disruptions in Bogota on April 9, 1948 to prevent the international meeting from taking place. Fidel Castro Ruz and Alfredo [Guevara] Valdes would travel as students to subvert Colombian youth. At the "Claridge Hotel" in Bogota, they would receive arms intended to attack priests, churches and nuns to stir the Catholic spirit of the Colombian people and force them to take to the streets in protest of those events.
Fidel Castro and Alfredo Guevara faithfully fulfilled their mission and attacked several priests and nuns as well as many Colombians with the purpose of disrupting the Bogota Conference where measures were going to be considered to counter the progress of communism in the Americas.
Castro and Guevara, who took asylum in the Cuban Embassy in Bogota, departed for Havana and reported to their boss, Bashirov, about the results of their actions for which they were highly congratulated.
In trying to take advantage of the opportunity, Castro and Guevara requested to be sent to Czechoslovakia to take a course in sabotage. But, the Kremlin only authorized Guevara's trip and denied it for Fidel Castro. Castro wrote a letter to Abelardo Adan Garcia who was in Prague, that was intercepted by us, in which he told Adan: "Our friend has told me that he is keeping me in reserve for greater endeavors and that I should not get `burned' by traveling now. They have a plan in which I will be the axis that will be implemented very soon. It is possible that we will see each other then without fear of Yankee imperialism..."
In 1952, when Cuba broke relations with the USSR, Bashirov departed for Mexico. On July 14 of the same year, Fidel Castro Ruz, with a counterfeit Cuban passport in the name of Federico Castillo Ramirez, flew to Mexico on a Mexican airliner returning a month later with the subversive plans that he would implement afterwards inside Cuba with the decisive help of the Soviet Union.
As part of the Soviet strategy, Fidel Castro had run for a seat in the Cuban House of Representatives from the Orthodox Party (Party of the Cuban People -- Orthodox) in the thwarted election scheduled for June 1, 1952. The Soviet Union had infiltrated several figures of his private organization in that new political entity among whom were Vicentina Antuna, Eduardo Corona and Fidel Castro. That permitted Castro to begin meeting at the party's premises, located at 109 Paseo de Martí Avenue in Havana, with groups of communist youth to deliver Leninist conferences, since he always was a passionate reader of Lenin's works.
There, one afternoon at the Orthodox Party's place, Fidel Castro received Basily Bogarev, a young Russian who had been in Havana in 1948. Bogarev urged Castro to launch his revolutionary activities as soon as possible to stir the nation. In order to do things correctly, the money needed for that armed movement should be sought inside Cuba. Just in case anything went wrong, there would not be any evidence that could show the Soviet Union's intervention.
At that time, Raul Castro was in Prague taking a course in communist political indoctrination. Fidel, who wrote to him frequently, gave him the news that we were gradually obtaining.
A faithful executor of Moscow's orders, Fidel Castro launched a search for money in Cuba and carried out numerous swindles, gyppings and extortions. With that cunningly-obtained money, Castro deceived a group of youngsters by taking them to Santiago de Cuba where 80 of them were slaughtered in the illogical and absurd attack against the Moncada Barracks. Numerically overwhelmed, this assault was performed with .22 caliber revolvers and .12-gauge shotguns against soldiers equipped with machine-guns and modern rifles. Castro took those 80 Cubans to their deaths with the sole purpose of destabilizing life in Cuba as he had already done in Bogota.
Once in prison, Fidel Castro continued to receive assistance from the Soviet Union. His contact was a young woman who called herself Caridad Mercado. From the time she arrived from Mexico with that mission, she went to live in a small house at Lomas de San Vicente, Santiago de Cuba. Later on when Castro was pardoned by the Batista government and departed for Mexico, he continued to receive financial aid from the Soviet Union while in exile. Following his pilgrimage to the United States and upon his return to the City of Palaces (Mexico City), the Soviets had already prepared the ship and armaments that he would take to Cuba with the addition of "Che" Guevara another agent of the Soviet Union whom Castro had not previously met, but who imposed Soviet imperialism upon him.
The above material was, in summation, what the 269 pages contained that made up the secret files labeled "A-943" located in our archives. They were stolen by hordes of armed bearded communists complying with direct orders from Fidel Castro. He learned about the existence of those secret files and his personal dossier filled with irrefutable evidence through the treason of a youngster -- the son of a journalist with the Informacion newspaper -- who had worked in our offices and skillfully managed to inspect the dossier. On January 19, 1959, he had a secret meeting with Castro at the Hilton Hotel in Havana and told him all he had learned.
Fidel Castro met on that same night with Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Luis Mas Martin, Luis Fajardo Escalona and Jorge Quintana to prepare the attack on our offices. It was urgently necessary for him to have those documents in his possession since they showed him to be an agent for Moscow. It was also necessary for him later to cut our life so that we would not be able to reveal that information as we are doing now with God's favor.
The files, containing his photograph and those of his companions entering and leaving Bashirov's house in Miramar and the photocopies of letters and other documents as well as the details of his bogus passport, were in Castro's possession at his residence in Cojimar (a small town east of Havana) to where all these documents must naturally have disappeared. But the faithful recollection of all these treacherous deeds committed by the traitor who was the Soviet Union's agent in Cuba since 1943 has not disappeared from our mind. We have thus been able to reconstruct that which Fidel Castro believed would be lost forever.
The current ruler of Cuba became a Soviet agent in 1943. He became a Soviet official not a Cuban one. He is the most repugnant and cynical traitor that the history of the Americas has recorded because he has sold his country, his family, and his fellow Cubans to an international enslaving power which has already erased from Cuba all vestiges of freedom, dignity and sovereignty, converting a rich and joyful country into a miserable and terrorized piece of land.
Fidel Castro, the most outstanding Soviet agent in the Americas, must not be seen as "one more Cuban," but as an enemy of Cuba and as an executioner for the Americas.
At least, that is what History has shown him to be.
Salvador Diaz-Verson was born in 1905 on November 3rd in Matanzas, Cuba, and became a journalist early in life immediately following the untimely death of his father in July of 1918. He began his newspaper career as a cub reporter working for El Imparcial later going on to write for the Heraldo de Cuba in 1921 and El Pais in 1930.
Diaz-Verson dedicated himself to the study of communism and communist activities in the Americas. Shortly after the creation of the Communist Party (Popular Socialist Party - PSP), he founded the Anti-Communist League of Cuba which was inaugurated at the University of Havana on May 14, 1925. In 1934, he became Chief of the Cuban National Police.
Throughout World War II, Diaz-Verson served as secretary of the Committee for the Defense of Democracy formally created in 1940. Described as an underground organization that worked with Allied governments in tracing and closing off Nazi submarine refueling stations in the Caribbean, the Committee also identified and destroyed Nazi informational broadcasting facilities; by 1947, Diaz-Verson had become the Committee's president. From 1948 until March 10, 1952, he served as Cuba's Chief of Military Intelligence during the government of Dr. Carlos Prio Socarras (deposed by Batista in 1952). Beginning in May 1954, he participated in the First through Fourth Congress Against Soviet Intervention in Latin America and was present at the creation of the Inter-American Organization of Anti-Communist Newspapermen on April 10, 1957. Prior to Castro's takeover, while working for the newspaper Excelsior, Diaz-Verson also served as the organization's first president.
Diaz-Verson published works on Cuban culture, art, and literature. He authored numerous books including: Nazism in Cuba (1944), Communism and Cowardice (1947), The Tzarist's Movement Dressed in Red (1958), History of an Archive (1961), The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (1963), and One Man, One Battle (1980). While living in exile in Miami, Diaz-Verson, was a frequent contributor to Diario de las Americas (Miami), La Nacion (Miami), The 20th of May (Los Angeles), La Tribuna (New Jersey), Hola (Spain), and La Cronica (Puerto Rico). Salvador Diaz-Verson died in exile in Miami on February 15, 1982.
"When Castro Became a Communist," by Salvador Diaz-Verson, was originally titled: "Since When Has Castro Been a Communist?" The article was first printed in Spanish in El Mundo (Miami) in 1960 and again in Ideal Magazine (Miami) in 1979. It was translated from Spanish to English by Jose G. Roig and edited for style by Ralph J. Galliano who also wrote the introduction and biography of the author to recreate the Diaz-Verson paper entitled "When Castro Became a Communist: The Impact on U.S.- Cuba Policy."
"When Castro Became a Communist," by Salvador Diaz-Verson, is presented as the first paper in the Occasional Paper Series published by the Institute for U.S.-Cuba Relations. This paper initially appeared in Spanish in El Mundo (Miami) in 1960 and again in Ideal Magazine (Miami) in 1979 titled, "Since When Has Castro Been a Communist?" Specifically for the purpose of inaugurating the Institute's Occasional Paper Series, the original Diaz-Verson paper was translated from Spanish to English, edited for style, an introduction written to place it in its proper historical perspective and titled, "When Castro Became a Communist: The Impact on U.S.-Cuba Policy." Diaz-Verson's paper is worthy of reprinting because it adds to the growing body of currently available scholarship and knowledge that deals with this decisively pivotal period in U.S. foreign relations. Throughout the last half of the twentieth century, the fundamental question of when Fidel Castro became a Communist has had an enduring impact on the foreign policy of the United States. This paper will assist historians, professors, students, and Cuba watchers in contributing to the ongoing debate. The Institute plans to publish a minimum of four papers each year and welcomes submissions that further the study of U.S.-Cuba policy.
The Institute for U.S.-Cuba Relations was established in 1993 as a non-partisan, tax-exempt, public policy research and education foundation whose purpose is to study U.S.-Cuba relations past, present, and future. In addition to the Occasional Paper Series, the Institute publishes books under its imprint the U.S.- Cuba Institute Press and it publishes a monthly newsletter called the U.S.- Cuba Policy Report. The Institute is classified as a Section 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and is recognized as a publicly supported organization described in Sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Code. Individuals, corporations, companies, associations, and foundations are eligible to support the work of the Institute for U.S.- Cuba Relations through tax-deductible gifts. The Institute neither seeks nor receives federal taxpayer funding. Alberto M. Piedra, Chairman. Ralph J. Galliano, President.
1. Nestor T. Carbonell, And The Russians Stayed: The Sovietization of Cuba (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1989), pp. 89-90, 122.
2. The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) was opened for signature at Rio de Janeiro on September, 1947, advised by the U.S. Senate on December 8, 1947, and entered into force on December 3, 1948. The Summary of Major Inter-American Conferences, Meetings, or Events, 1826-1988 (B) World War II-Related Conferences Leading to the Creation of the OAS, 1936-1948 states: "The Treaty defines the principal obligations of the signatories in the event of armed attacks against an American state or acts of aggression short of armed attack. A security zone in which the treaty is operative was drawn and the Organ of Consultation was created." Congressional Research Service Library of Congress, report, Inter-American Relations, December 1988, S.Prt. 100-168, p.1.
3. In September 1957, the Bolanos Report analyzed and assessed the Mexico City based Soviet operations in the Caribbean. The Bolanos Report, issued by Gloria Bolanos who was the former private secretary to the late Guatemalan President Carlos Castillo Armas, resulted from material supplied by Armas' personal intelligence staff in their attempts to penetrate the Soviet center in Guatemala including the Asistencia Tecnica (AT) - technical assistance set up in 1955-1956 as an espionage cell by Colonel Jaime Rosenberg and Ernesto "Che" Guevara and linked to Fidel Castro. Bolanos "concluded that the failure to recognize the Castro movement as `an operation conceived and executed by the Caribbean Comintern' reveals inexcusable `mental paralysis'." A year and a half later, the authoritative British publication, the Intelligence Digest, corroborated Bolanos' assessment of the Castro movement. Nathaniel Weyl, Red Star Over Cuba: The Russian Assault on the Western Hemisphere (New York: Devin-Adair, 1960), pp.114-118. "By 1957, the Intelligence Digest was able to publish detailed reports about the Communist affiliations of leaders of the Castro movement...It was published on two occasions and sent to a key list of several hundred United States Government officials concerned with Latin America..." Id., p.175. "In the spring of 1958...[T]he United States Government could, at this juncture, have released the voluminous information in its files, showing that the Fidel Castro movement was Communist-infiltrated and Communist-controlled. It could have made it clear that the United States would consider the victory of the Castro movement a threat to its security." Id. pp.178-179. Nathaniel Weyl who had been a Communist in the 1930s was in the same unit as Alger Hiss. Weyl was a Latin American specialist who knew the top leaders of the Cuban Communist Party.
4. "In April 1948 a Pan-American Conference had been arranged to be held in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, to reform the old Pan-American Union of American states into a more closely knit organization, the Organization of American States (OAS)." Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p.814. "The New York Times, of January 10, 1948, first announced that Gen. George C. Marshall, then Secretary of State, would attend this meeting...Almost immediately the combined forces of the Latin American Communist apparatus went into high gear in opposition to the Conference." U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, hearing, Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean, August 13, 1959, Part 2, Appendix, p.115.
5. "I had privately an archive which comprised 250,000 cards of Latin American Communists and 943 personal records. This was the result of my trips all over Latin America visiting country by country, what were the conditions of communism, and what numbers of Communists there were in each place." Id., May 2, 1960, Part 7, p.425.
6. "January 26, 1959. They [A group of four men armed with machine guns arrived] gagged the employee, they destroyed the furniture, and they took what was inside the metal files. The neighbors, because it was an apartment house, saw from the balconies that it was a truck of the 7th military regiment. They testified, and it was published in the newspapers of January 27, 1959 in Havana." Id.
7. The Anti-Communist League of Cuba was founded on May 14, 1925 at the University of Havana. Salvador Diaz-Verson, One Man, One Battle (New York: World Wide Publishing Company, Inc. 1980), p.17.
8. "The newspapers, however, did play up the attack on my office. One front page in particular bannered a headline reading REDS ATTACK OFFICES OF THE ANTI-COMMUNIST LEAGUE. Another ran a story of which the lead ran: The office of Salvador Diaz-Verson of the Anti-Communist League was yesterday attacked. It is believed that avowed Communists, disguised as revolutionaries, committed the crime. Valuable archives were stolen." Id.,p.105.
9. "Well aware of my long enmity toward Communism, Fidel's lieutenant [Che Guevara] presently closeted himself with two of his soldiers who could be specially trusted. They were instructed to file reports swearing that as they were marching Castano to his death they had heard the unhappy lieutenant cry out: `Everything that I have done that was wrong I have done because of the influence of Salvador Diaz-Verson, who was my mentor!' Because of this order, the trumped-up petition was now begun." Lieutenant Castano Quedado is described as the "Chief of the Department of Investigations of the BRAC (Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities) and an expert on Marxism." Id., p.106.
10. General C.P. Cabell, Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security that "we believe that Castro is not a member of the Communist Party, and does not consider himself to be a Communist." U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, hearing, Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean, November 5, 1959, Part 3, p.164. Arthur Gardner, former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba from 1953 to 1957, in Senate testimony expressed his frustration with State Department officials including Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, Roy R. Rubottom, over the issue of whether Castro was a communist. Gardner gave testimony as follows: "Senator Dodd. I see. During these conversations with these several persons whom you have named, did you, from time to time, tell any one of them, or all of them, that Castro talked and acted like a Communist, and should not be supported by the United States? Mr. Gardner. Yes. But the purpose of these conversations always seemed to be was whether Castro carried a Communist card or not. We all knew - I think everybody knew - that his brother, Raul, was a Communist. But they seemed to argue about it as if that was important. Senator Dodd. You mean the technicality of party membership was made a matter of importance rather than his general attitude? Mr. Gardner. Yes, that is right." Id., August 27, 1960, Part 9, p.667.
11. Rafael Lincoln Diaz-Balart's testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security points out that "Castro is not a card holder of the Communist Party in Cuba" but that "Castro is a member of the Third International" where no card is issued. As fellow students at the University of Havana, Diaz-Balart knew Castro personally, his sister Mirta once having been married to Castro. Id., May 2, 1960, Part 7, pp.352-53. David Horowitz helps to clarify the meaning of the Third International for contemporary readers as follows: "The picture is consistent with that myth now struggling to be born in our literary culture that these people were small `c' communists whose belief in democratic values far outweighed their commitment to big `C' Communism. But this is a mendacious myth, as well as being malevolent in its revisionism. In fact, the members of this colony like Emily and my parents also inhabited another, secret world as soldiers in the Third International founded by Lenin. In their eyes, a sixth of humanity had entered an entirely new stage of history in Soviet Russia in 1917, a triumphant humanity that would be extended all over the world by the actions of the loyal Communist vanguard they had joined. The world of liberal and progressive politics may have been the world in which outsiders saw them, but their secret membership in this revolutionary army was the world that really mattered to Emily and my parents and to all their political friends. It was the world that gave real significance and meaning to what otherwise were modest and rather ordinary lives.... All their legitimate political activities were merely preparations or fronts for the real tasks of their political commitment, which they could discuss only with other secret agents like themselves. Their activities in the democratic organizations they entered and controlled and in the liberal campaigns they promoted were all part of their secret service. Their real purpose in pursuing them was not to advance liberal or democratic values but to serve the interests of the Soviet state-- because in their minds the Soviet Union was the place where the future had already begun." Peter Collier & David Horowitz, Deconstructing The Left: From Vietnam to the Clinton Era (Los Angeles: Second Thought Books, 1995), p.60.
12. The Bogotazo, at which Castro was actively present, refers to the three days of bloody riots beginning on April 9, 1948, in Bogota, Colombia what were sparked by the assassination of Colombian Liberal Party leader, Jorge Gaitan. "Castro had a rendezvous with Gaitan about the hour of his death but he apparently wished to ask advice about booking a theater for a meeting." The author's note refers to a comment by Gloria Gaitan de Valencia in America Libre, on May 22, 1961. Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p.816, n.66. "The Bogota uprising of 1948 was the arena in which Fidel Castro played his first serious role as an instigator and organizer of Communist insurrection. At the time he was 21 years old and a student in the faculty of laws of Havana University. He had been exposed to Communist indoctrination for the past two years, had accepted Marxian ideology eagerly and had probably submitted himself to Communist discipline." Nathaniel Weyl, Red Star Over Cuba: The Russian Assault on the Western Hemisphere (New York: Devin-Adair, 1960), p.1.
13. Former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, Arthur Gardner, testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security: "Senator Dodd. Do you know, Mr. Gardner, that there was abundant information available about Castro's background at that time? Mr. Gardner. Oh, certainly. Senator Dodd. It was well known that he had been in Colombia, and of his associations and his activities. You know this to be a fact? Mr. Gardner. Absolutely." U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, hearing, Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean, August 27, 1960, Part 9, p.676. "A protest to coincide with this assembly was planned by Cuban and Argentinean students, with a sprinkling of others from other parts of Latin America...Among those asked from Cuba were the president and the secretary of the FEU, Enrique Ovarcs and Alfredo Guevara (the Communist leader in the University of Havana), along with Castro, representing the law faculty of the University of Havana, and Rafael del Pino, a Cuban-American who registered every year as a student but did not attempt much to study, also like Castro a member of UIR. Their meeting at Bogota was to prepare for a full meeting inaugurating a new inter-American student organization to be held in the autumn, in which Castro had always been interested. Both Communists and Peronists throughout South America collaborated in these student plans." Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p.814. "Had American officials and publicists made a diligent and serious study of the role of Fidel Castro in the Bogota uprising, they could scarcely have escaped the conclusion that, as early as 1948, he was not merely an implacable enemy of the United States, but a trusted Soviet agent as well." Nathaniel Weyl, Red Star Over Cuba: The Russian Assault on the Western Hemisphere (New York: Devin-Adair, 1960), p.ix.
14. "Mr. Braden says of Fidel Castro, leader of the fledgling Cuban revolt, that, according to official documents he has seen, `He is a fellow-traveler, if not a member of the Communist Party and has been so for a long time. He was a ring-leader in the bloody uprising in Bogota, Colombia in April, 1948, which occurred (and obviously was planned by the Kremlin) just at the time when the Pan-American Conference was being held in that capital, with no less a person than Secretary of State George C. Marshall present. The uprising was engineered and staged by Communists, and the Colombian Government and Colombia press subsequently published documentary evidence of Fidel Castro's role as a leader in the rioting which virtually gutted the Colombian capital. The appearance of this Cuban at the head of the recent uprising in his own country stamps the insurrection as another part of the developing communist pattern of such subversion throughout Latin America -- although a number of thoroughly decent and patriotic Cubans have been misled into sympathizing with, and in some cases supporting, the Fidel Castro movement." Human Events (Washington, D.C.), "Cuban Revolt," August 17, 1957, p.2.
15. Spruille Braden testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security described the threat a Castro-led communist Cuba posed for the United States: "I best may summarize my opinion in respect to Cuba and the Caribbean area generally by saying that, in all of my years of intimate contact since early childhood with Latin America, never have I seen the situation so dangerous as it is now for the defense of the United States. The principal threat to out security, of course, is communism and its ever present weapon - anti-Americanism... I pray with all my heart, body, and soul, that the Communists and their most useful tool to date, Fidel Castro, may be ejected from their control of Cuba." U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, hearing, Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean, July 17, 1959, Part 5, p.245.
16. Testimony of Spruille Braden before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security: "But I observed that when the United States, in the face of the solid support against the Soviet and communism given us by the Batista regime, refused to ship arms to that Government (bought and paid for by it, frequently on the recommendations of our military, naval and air missions), it inevitably would convince the Cuban people that we were supporting Castro and opposed to Batista. I said that this interpretation would lead to Castro's victory, which would result in chaos throughout Cuba, which in turn would lead to Communist control of that island. This is exactly what happened." Id., p.249. Testimony by Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith who served in Cuba from 1957-1959: "It is also that, upon instructions, I spent 2 hours and 35 minutes on December 17, 1958, with Batista, and I told him that the United States or rather certain influential people in the United States believed that he could no longer maintain effective control in Cuba, and that they believed it would avoid a great deal of further bloodshed if he were to retire." Id., August 30, 1960, Part 9, p.687.
17. Testimony by Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith: "Batista made three big mistakes. The last big mistake he made was when he did not hold honest elections, which he had promised me on numerous and many occasions that he would have. Rivero Aguero, the former Prime Minister of Cuba, was elected, I believe it was November 8, 1958, to succeed Batista. It is true, in reply to your question, Senator, that the U.S. Government instructed me through the State Department to say that we would not give aid and support to the Rivero Aguero government when installed because we did not feel that he could maintain effective control of the country." Id.
18. Testimony of Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith: "Mr. Smith. It has always been the policy of the U.S. Government not to be one of the first or one of the last to recognize a friendly government. It has always been the policy of the U.S. Government, before they recognized a new Government, to be sure of the following. I do not place them in order of their importance, but they are -(a) If a government is communist or too much infiltrated with communism. (b) Whether a Government will honor its international obligations. (c) That the new Government can maintain law and order. And we always hope that they have the support of the people. In this case, I believe we were very hasty in the recognition of the Castro government. Senator Eastland. How long? Mr. Smith. Batista left in the early morning hours of January 1, 1959. Several days later, a few days later, a very few days later, I was called by telephone - Rubottom told me to come to the United States... Then as soon as I arrived in Washington, they told me that we were going to recognize the new Government and I was to rush back and do it." Id., pp.700-701.
19. Testimony of Joseph Zack Kornfeder before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. Kornfeder had been a member of the Communist Party USA and one of the principal founders of the Communist Party of Colombia and of Venezuela. "In other words, you are likely to have a phenomenon in the coming years where the Communist-inspired revolutions wouldn't look like Communist revolutions. They will have all the outside trappings of being bona fide spontaneous democratic rebellions." Id., Part 2, August 13, 1959, pp.34, 51.
20. "In it I stated flatly that I was convinced Castro was `either incredibly naive about Communism or under Communist discipline' and that we would have to treat him and deal with him accordingly - under no illusions about `fiery rebels' in the `tradition of Bolivar.' My position was a minority one within the Administration and particularly so within the Latin American branch of the State Department. Trying to `get along with' and `understand' Castro continued to be the State Department line despite my own strong recommendation to the contrary..." Richard M. Nixon, Six Crises (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1990), pp. 351-352.
21. Nathaniel Weyl, Red Star Over Cuba: The Russian Assault on the Western Hemisphere (New York: Devin-Adair, 1960), p.38.
22. "One of the American officials who witnessed the Bogotazo was Roy Rubottom, secretary to the American Embassy and to the U.S. Delegation to the Inter-American Conference... According to Who's Who in America (Volume 29), Rubottom was assigned to Bogota during 1947-49." Id., p.38.
23. A thorough history of Castro's activities at the Bogotazo is presented in the form of the translation of a Bogota, Colombia newspaper article which appeared in La Republica on January 21, 1959 entitled "Fidel Castro Participated in the Events of April 9." U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, hearing, Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean, July 17, 1959, Part 5, pp.277-78.
24. "The announcement of Cuba's `socialist revolution' was made by Castro on April 16, the day before the [Bay of Pigs] invasion, in an offhand, almost accidental way. He repeated it more fully and formally on May 1... For the more orthodox Cuban Communists, however, the real transition to the `socialist revolution' had come six months earlier, on October 13, 1960, when 382 business enterprises, almost all of them Cuban, were nationalized." Theodore Draper, Castro's Revolution: Myths and Realities (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962), p.115. April 16th was actually the date the newspaper article appeared reporting on Castro's comments made on April 15th.
25. "On 2 December [Castro] explained to a somewhat surprised nation in a television speech that he had been for many years an apprentice Marxist-Leninist at least, even at the university, that he and his comrades had in the 1950s consciously disguised their radical views in order to gain power, and that, having become progressively more experienced, he had become a better Marxist and would be so until the day of his death." Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p.1373.
26. "...the very thing now needed by Castro to consolidate his regime was an unsuccessful attack from without, backed, though not to the hilt, by the U.S. Both the French and the Russian revolutions had been consolidated by invasions by exiles." Id., p.1312.
27. Saul Landau is described as "a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC" in Volume 39 of Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine. Author and former leftist activist, David Horowitz, characterizes Landau as a Castro apologist who "traveled to Cuba to meet with the Vietnamese and launch the Venceremos Brigades. The ostensible reason for this effort was to provide help for the Cuban sugar harvest. The real reason was to meet Cuban and Vietnamese officials in Havana to map out strategy for the war in America, the `other war,' which would ultimately defeat the United States in a way that the battlefield situation in Vietnam never could have." Peter Collier & David Horowitz, Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the '60s (Los Angeles: Second Thoughts Books, 1995), p.172.
28. Saul Landau, "Cuba and Its Critics," Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine (New York, 1987), May, Vol. 39, p.4. Peter Collier & David Horowitz quote Landau in their book Destructive Generation. Id, p.261, n.
29. Salvador Diaz-Verson, One Man, One Battle (New York: World Wide Publishing Company, Inc., 1980), p.105.
30. "In essence, those who have looked into Castro's political past to substantiate the `communist' theses have reached their conclusions based on Castro's participation in the bogotazo of 1948, his alleged affiliations with the Cuban Communist Party during the insurrection, or through `reading' his speeches and writings prior to 1959. Castro's involvement in the bogotazo fails to substantiate his communist `involvement' but aids one in placing him as a man-of-action in the best Cuban revolutionary traditions." Rolando E. Bonachea, United States Policy Toward Cuba: 1959-1961 (Washington, DC: Ph.D. Dissertation Georgetown University, 1975), p.49.
31. "In explaining the radicalization of the Cuban Revolution, it has been argued that Castro had been a communist all along ([Nathaniel] Weyl, [Earl E.T.] Smith). This dissertation will demonstrate the above assertion to be false ([Theodore] Draper, Bonachea and Valdes, [Hugh] Thomas). Id., Abstract, (unnumbered pages) p.3.
32. Wayne S. Smith, The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic Account of U.S.- Cuban Relations Since 1957 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company,1987), p.45.
33. Among other available sources these include the Archive of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR) and the Intelligence Service of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU). Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997), Acknowledgements, p.vii. "Many in official Moscow doubted the sincerity of Castro's autobiographical musings about his communist past. According to evidence on his youth supplied by the Cuban communist party, Moscow could conclude only that Fidel Castro was fantasizing, or was playing the role of supplicant, when he claimed to have been a communist all along...The Kremlin was glad to hear that Castro now considered himself a communist but until mid-1959 this same man, the KGB reported, `took pains to avoid harsh criticisms of the imperialistic policies of the United States and strove not to ally himself with communists.' Castro's March 1959 statements that `none of the activity of the July 26 movement has anything in common with communism' and that he was `by no means a communist' still hung in the air in Moscow and inspired much skepticism." Id., p.72, n.60. Note 60 is: Semichastny to CC, April 25, 1963, File 88497, pp. 363-64, SVR. (p.365).
35. Wayne S. Smith, Portrait of Cuba (Atlanta: Turner Publishing, 1991), p.92.
36. Referring to Castro's speech of December 2, 1961 when he proclaimed himself a "Marxist-Leninist," Theodore Draper says, "It is clear that this speech gave little or no confirmation to the story of Salvador Diaz-Verson that Castro had `entered the service of the Soviet Union' in 1943 at the tender young age of seventeen..." Theodore Draper, Castro's Revolution: Myths and Realities (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962), p.147. Hugh Thomas says, "An ex-police officer of President Prio, Salvador Diaz-Verson, claims that Castro was recruited as a Soviet agent in 1943 by the Russian diplomat Bashirov. See his article in El Mundo (Miami), 9 December 1961. No one who has known Castro at any time could believe this." Hugh Thomas, Cuba:The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p.809. In actual fact, Salvador Diaz-Verson became Chief of the Cuban National Police in 1934. From 1948 until March 10, 1952, he served as Cuba's Chief of Military Intelligence during the government of Dr. Carlos Prio Socarras (deposed by Batista in 1952).
37. In 1941, Castro entered the prestigious Jesuit-run Colegio de Belen in Havana at age fifteen and graduated in the Spring of 1945 at the age of eighteen. Georgie Anne Geyer, Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991), pp. 37,44. At Belen, Castro read Lenin's What Is To Be Done and Hitler's Mein Kampf. Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p.807. In October 1945, Castro, at age nineteen, attended the University of Havana during which time he participated in the Bogotazo in April 1948. Id., Geyer, p.47. Castro graduated from the University of Havana with a law degree in 1950 at the age of twenty four. Id., Thomas, p.817.
38. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1944 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966), Volume IV, p.851.
39. Id., p.852.
41. Author Thomas G. Paterson in his book Contesting Castro, as late as 1994, contends through his writings, that links between Castro and Communists did not exist. He does, however, acknowledge that such a discovery would have led to more direct U.S. intervention. "Indeed, had serious links between Castro and the Communists in fact existed, and given the prevailing Cold War mood intensified by the Berlin crisis and Nikita Khrushchev's belligerence, the United States might very well have intervened directly to prevent a rebel triumph, to prevent a Communist victory, and to forestall another `who lost ____?' debate in the United States. One of the reasons why the Cuban rebellion had not pushed itself to the top of President Eisenhower's worry list was that U.S. officials had not discovered a Communist threat in Cuba." Thomas G. Paterson, Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), p.187.
42. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987), Volume VI, pp. 996-998.
It's provided for its historical perspective.
I'm just waiting for when he becomes dead!
That should have been a dead give away...
You MUST pick up a copy of "Cuba In Revolution. Escape From A Lost Paradise" by Dr. Miguel Faria, Jr.
In 1959 I was in La Vibora.
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