The United States, Cuba, and Castro: An Essay on the Dynamics of Revolution and the Dissolution of Empire

By William Appleman Williams | Go to book overview

Introduction

Americans cherish many ideological axioms about democracy, but perhaps the most treasured one is the proposition that democracies do not start wars. Conscience would in this instance seem to be father to casuistry and fantasy. Not only did the United States begin the War of 1812 and the War with Mexico (by a blockade of Mexican troops on the Rio Grande), but it initiated two wars involving Cuba within the relatively short space of 63 years.

It is impossible either to understand the present impasse in American-Cuban relations, or to evaluate the recent books on Castro's Cuba by Theodore Draper, by Karl E. Meyer and Tad Szulc, and by Nicolas Rivero.1 unless one begins with the central truth that Cuba was ours to lose. This uncomfortable fact cannot be wished away. Not even the most elaborate and sophisticated exercise in disingenuousness can in the end circumnavigate the existence of an American empire which included Cuba.

Had American policy in action between 1895 and 1959 actually been successful according to its own standards, then there would have been no Castro and no CIA invasion. The current argument about whether or not the United States should intervene in Cuba and other Latin American countries is ridiculously irrelevant. It has been intervening ever since the 1780's and is still doing so today. The real issue concerns whether or not any kind of intervention is capable of effecting the traditional and existing American objectives.

More of that later. It is first necessary to get straight on

____________________
1
. Theodore Draper, Castro's Revolution: Myths and Realities ( New York, Praeger, 1962); Karl E. Meyer and Tad Szulc, The Cuban Invasion: The Chronicle of a Disaster ( New York, Praeger, 1962); and Nicolas Rivero, Castro's Cuba: An American Dilemma ( Washington, D.C., Luce, 1962).

-1-

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