As already posted by the ever-vigilant princes keeping a view All Along the Watchtower here at Babalu Blog, the New York Times has gone on record: they find no more evidence of Cuban interference in Venezuelan affairs today than they found evidence of Communist sympathies in Cuba’s leaders in 1959.
Fine. We expect that. But what made the New York Times invaluable to the Castro brothers and Che Guevara’s plans to Stalinize Cuba was the influence their Cuba “expert” and Castro intimate Herbert Matthews exerted over the State Department officials who actually crafted U.S. policy towards Cuba…..
Whoops?!–did I just use the term “influence?” Please forgive me. The folks close to this issue at the time describe the matter much more forcefully:
On August 27, 1960 during Senate subcommittee hearings titled, “Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean,” two former U.S. ambassadors to Cuba testified to this “influence:”
Senator DODD: “You have been quoted, Mr. Gardner, as referring to, “Castro worship” in the State Department in 1957. …you are quoted as saying you fought all the time with the State Department over whether Castro merited the support or friendship of the United States…Mr. Gardner, do you have any idea why the United States allowed Castro to get arms from the United States, and would not allow Batista to have arms to preserve his government…you have been quoted as saying that Washington, “pulled the rug out” from under Batista?”
Mr Gardner: “I feel it very strongly, that the State Department was influenced, first, by those stories by (the New York Times’) Herbert Matthews, and soon (support for Castro) became kind of a fetish with them.”
Senator Dodd: “(in preparation for his post) your successor as Ambassador to Cuba, Earl Smith was actually (sent by his State Dept. superiors) to be briefed by New York Times’ Herbert Matthews?”
Mr. GARDNER. “Yes, that is right.”
Mr Smith: “I would say the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section (were the top Castro sympathizers.) It was revealed that the No. 2 CIA man in the embassy had given unwarranted and undue encouragement to the (Castro) revolutionaries…..Senator, we (the U.S.) are responsible for bringing Castro in power. I do not care how you want to word it.”
I mention this because I search in utter vain for any hints in Sec. of State’s Kerry’s declarations that Cuba might have a role (or stake) in Venezuelan matters.
“Foreign reporters — preferably American — were much more valuable to us at that time (1957-59) than any military victory. Much more valuable than recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda.” (Che Guevara 1959)
“To our American friend Herbert Matthews with gratitude. Without your help, and without the help of the New York Times, the Revolution in Cuba would never have been.” (a beaming Fidel Castro decorating Herbert Matthews with a medal during a visit to the New York Times offices in April 1959.)
And for crying out loud, amigos. Let’s not forget a fabulous song and performance by something relatively rare in today’s music–an original, an innovator.