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

6
Castro and the Challenge Inherent in the Constitution of 1940

The grave charge that Castro betrayed the Cuban Revolution seems at first hearing to be a direct and uncomplicated accusation. But even a moment's reflection serves to raise a troublesome point. Even if the interpretation is valid, it does not tell us much about the evolution of the Revolution per se unless we are told why Castro turned Judas.

The only straightforward answer to that question is the one provided by those, like Nathaniel Weyl, 1. who assert--but have yet to prove--that Castro was a Communist from the beginning of the story. Other commentators have hinted or implied, with varying degrees of sophistication, that the key lies in Castro's drive for power. But this single-factor interpretation has pretty much had its day in sociology, as well as in history, and few still consider it satisfactory as an explanation of complex human affairs.

To say that a man in politics wants power is to speak the truth, but it is to do so at such a level of generality--even banality--as to mouth one of those dangerous whole truths which distort reality as much as, or even more than, the more notorious half-truths.

It is more fruitful to review the natural history of the accusation. The first use of it that I have been able to find came in a remark attributed to a middle- or upper-class Cuban printed in a news story in the New York Times during April, 1959. It appeared again in that form, but was more often used by the reporters themselves. Even so, the indictment was not

____________________
1
. Nathaniel Weyl, Red Star Over Cuba ( New York, Devin-Adair, 1960)

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