EAN DANIEL WAS EATING lunch in Varadero with the prime minister. J They talked mostly of John F. Kennedy. Castro was pleased with the directions their conversation had taken, and he was saying good things about the American president. They were interrupted by a telephone call. Vallejo said it was Dorticós. He wanted to speak with Castro. It was urgent. As Castro put the receiver to his ear, his face clouded over. "Wounded?" His voice seemed strained. He paused. "Very seriously?" He listened intently, then returned to the table and sat down. "It's bad news," he said. The American president had been shot in Dallas. He speculated: Who could have done it? Perhaps it was the work of a madman? Or a Vietnamese? A member of the Ku Klux Klan? Vallejo tuned the radio to the NBC station in Miami, and they listened in troubled silence to a series of bulletins on the stricken Kennedy's condition. Then came the report that the president had died. Castro stood up. "Well," he said, "there is the end of your mission of peace. Everything is changed." He thought the assassination could affect the lives of millions in every part of the world. And especially the lives of Cubans. As he invariably did when he was agitated, he paced the floor. "I'll tell you one thing," he said. "At least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, a very serious matter." He reminded Daniel that in the Sierra Maestra he had always opposed assassinations, even of Batistianos.
All American radio and television stations left the air for fifteen minutes. When the broadcasts resumed, Daniel heard an announcer describe the trouble Jacqueline Kennedy had in removing her blood-soaked stockings. Castro stormed in disbelief. How could anyone speak like that of the