The F-1 Hybrid
F OR MONTHS CUBANS HAD been buffeted, on radio and television, in the newspapers, on public billboards, by reminders that the prime minister would address the nation on the tenth anniversary of the revolution: "Everyone to the Plaza with Fidel!" And assurances to a dead hero: "We're Doing Fine, Camilo!" Now, in the last days of December 1968, they poured into Havana once more—campesinos and factory workers alike wearing straw hats—by bus, rail, trucks, and private vehicles, close to a million, according to the notoriously unreliable government sources. (A visiting West Indian, Barry Reckord, asked a disillusioned black crane operator if he intended to join the Maximum Leader in the plaza. No, he replied. "I have to do what he says anyway, so why should I bother to listen to him?") The invited guests included the parents of the martyred Tania, Erich and Nadzieja Bunke (the Cubans would not accept German accounts of her perfidy), the mother of Camilo Cienfuegos, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Novikov of the Soviet Union, the Moncada Brigade of Cuba's "heroic" workers waving red-and-black flags, a group of North Vietnamese, and, from the United States, a few long-haired and out-of-place members of the Students for a Democratic Society. One young American, wearing a Malcolm X sweatshirt, kept repeating: "Out of sight! Out of sight!" There were also scores of foreign correspondents, though none from a major American journal or newspaper. Vogue sent blond, miniskirted Kristi Witker, a onetime photographic model in New York and film actress in Japan. She was the only reporter granted a private interview—of sorts—by the Cuban Maximum Leader.
Upon her arrival in Havana, Witker, together with other visitors, was