Cuba and the Future
Cuba and the Future
On January 16, 1992, a distinguished group of civilian and military intellectuals met, under the auspices of the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, for a roundtable on "Cuba and the Future." Not long thereafter, the editor of this volume received a phone call from a Newsweek correspondent, who was working on a story on Cuba. The reporter, it seemed, had gotten wind of the meeting from the magazine's Miami office. According to his sources, the Army's top strategists had recently gathered in Carlisle Barracks for a top-secret session that included Joseph Fernandez, Felix Rodriguez, and other covert types of Iran-contra and similar fame. Reportedly, by the end of the day the participants had come to the unanimous conclusion that the United States ought to invade Cuba.
This information took me somewhat aback, since I had organized and attended the roundtable and had witnessed nothing of the kind. Accordingly, I killed the report as quickly and definitively as possible: The Iran-contra folk had not been at the meeting. This was a brainstorming, rather than a planning, session. It was unclassified and open to selected members of the public. The views expressed were entirely those of the participants and did not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. Army. (So far as I know, the Army has no position on Cuba.) There had been no talk of an invasion. Indeed, to the extent that a consensus had been reached at all, it was rather "dovish" in character.
In contrast to the conventional wisdom, most of the participants felt that Castro would probably survive in the short run and, quite possibly, for much longer. They were unanimous in the view that socioeconomic hardship alone would not be enough to create a revolutionary situation. In recent years, the security apparatus had been purged and strengthened, and the regime showed little reluctance in aggressively using it to suppress dissent and prevent the formation of an organized opposition. This absence of any au-