The Cuban Castro Redemption

By Conde, Carlos D. | The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, March 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Cuban Castro Redemption


Conde, Carlos D., The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education


I was an AP correspondent in Austin, Texas in April 1961 when I was sent to interview a boatload of antiCastro Cuban forces that had survived the botched overthrow of the bearded revolutionist and were rescued by a passing cargo freighter which dropped them off in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Physically and morally depleted but grateful to be alive, they were upset with the outcome and outraged at the U.S. government for failing to provide them with die air support and backup assistance they had been promised.

Had it done so, today may have seen a different Cuba.

Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement revolutionary forces had ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista in January 1959 and now a rebel force with the support of the U.S. government had tried to overthrow Castro for his infidelity to the revolution's ideals.

It took Castro's forces three days to defeat the U.S.- sponsored rebels and an infinite amount of time for the U.S. to face that reality and to this day, the government continues to dwell on the whatif's with its continued antagonism toward Castro's Cuba.

Back then, the Bay of Pigs' ragtag survivors seemed more upset with the U.S.'s perfidy than Castro's fate claiming that President Kennedy's administration had reneged on the promised support and never had intentions to provide it

The Bay of Pigs invasion and the inland fighting were unmitigated disasters as Castro's forces filled up his prisons with rebels he didn't execute.

It created the Cuban Missile Crisis with Russia in 1962 and Kennedy's 13-day showdown with Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev over installation of missile sites directed at U.S. targets.

Khrushchev blinked first and cancelled the site construction and took his missiles home but only after the U.S. promised not to invade Cuba.

The U.S. tried another tactic; economic strangulation with an embargo on commerce and trade with Cuba by U.S. interests and a ban on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens except for specific, sanctioned activities which continue to this day.

President Kennedy signed it but not before he sent his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, on the eve of the embargo to procure as many Cuban cigars as he could find, and did - 1,200 Petit Upmann.

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