US Helps fidel Consolidate Power – 1959
by Charles Morse
American government officials and key media figures, along with pro castro partisans in this country, assisted castro in seizing power and then consolidating that power in the critical year 1959. The machinations of State Department officials William Wieland and Roy Rubottom, working with New York Times correspondent Herbert L. Matthews and others; resulted in a direct order to Batista to leave Cuba clearing the way for castro and his murderous gang. Few Americans realize the level of complicity with regard to how American official power, combined with friendly media, installed castro. This constitutes a disgraceful and indelible stain on American history. Those involved in this treachery have never been held to account.
castro’s puppet President Urrutia was installed Jan. 1, 1959, the same day Batista fled to the Dominican Republic. Immediately, the island was engulfed in violence. It is commonly accepted that raul castro, fidel’s brother, was involved, among other massacres, in personally machine-gunning 250 people into a ditch outside Santiago de Cuba. The castro government’s act was returning the death penalty. The pretence of a trial was more often relinquished and the reign of terror raged. The left’s response to this blood soaked regime, then and to this day, is dialectical rather than fundamental. Their opposition to political violence, usually expressed in insufferably high-minded tones, only applies if the accusations are directed at the so called “enemies of the people”. If Communists, like castro are conducting the violence, according to their immoral “Revolutionary” logic, it serves “progress”.
castro’s activities were widely reported to a shocked world, and yet, castro’s American friends continued to help castro consolidate power. castro’s triumphal visit to the US, April 1959, was met by an astonishing degree of mass media pimping. Questions concerning mass murders and increasing Anti American rhetoric were left unanswered as castro was greeted to standing ovations at Harvard and a luncheon attended by Secretary of State Christian A. Herter. Herbert Matthews and other left wing media totems continued a hypnotic drumbeat of praise for the Communist dictator.
Also in April 1959, American ambassadors to Latin American countries met in El Salvador to discuss the growing Cuban crisis and its implications in the hemisphere. Even at this early stage, terrorists from Cuba had already landed in Panama and the Dominican Republic with the goal of butchering as many people as possible in the name of “peace”. This meeting was “neutralized” by Wieland and Rubottom. The American ambassador to Cuba, Philip W. Bonsal, is on record as having stated “Cuba had needed a revolution”.
In May 1959, under the “Agrarian Reform Law”, castro began “expropriating” land from Cubans and foreigners. Typically, castro, the “workers hero” also abolished trade unions placing workers under the heavy handed state. Thus began the near starvation conditions and virtual slavery that sadly continues to this day. The New York Times declared, “An agrarian reform was overdue in Cuba”. American Ambassador Bonsal continued a policy of appeasement and capitulation in Havana as did the State Department and President Eisenhower in his public utterances during this critical year.
On October 21, 1959, the conviction of the nationally respected Major Hubert Matos for treason was condemned both in Cuba and worldwide. Matos had resigned his post in protest of Communist indoctrination policy and was subsequently arrested. The coverage of the show trial by Herbert Matthews is quite revealing in terms of a leftist point of view. Matthews wrote, “By the logic of the Revolution, Hubert Matos was a traitor. Those who condemn the…way he was treated had to condemn the Revolution”. In other words, truth and justice are defined by what is good for “”the revolution”
The year ended with Cuba in desperate condition.”Revolutionary courts” and busy firing squads had supplanted the court system, private property had been abolished, opponents had been driven underground or “liquidated”, and schools and the press had been converted into tools of “indoctrination”. “Forward thinking” Americans continued to support this “transformation” with heart skipping excitement. The evidence that key figures in our government and influential media figures knew that castro was a Communist is overwhelming. Understanding why Americans, who enjoy all the fruits of our free market Capitalist system, would support Communism in Cuba would, perhaps, lead us to a better understanding of our own times.
There’s more damning evidence from Senate hearings conducted in 1960 with former ambassadors to Cuba, Arthur Gardner and Earl Smith.
First let me say that to date I have made no public statement regarding my experiences in Cuba because I did not feel that, as a former Ambassador, it was my function to say anything which might be interpreted as critical of the administration which I had served. I have only the greatest respect and admiration for President Eisenhower, whose integrity is beyond question.
However, the establishment of a Communist regime in Cuba involves the defense and safety of this country and as you asked me to testify before you, I do so, recognizing that the welfare of the United States must transcend personal desires and reticence.
From personal experience I have learned that many very influential sources in the United States are dedicated to the overthrow of all dictatorships. They are as opposed to anti-Communist rightist dictators, who are friendly to the United States, as to the Communist dictators whom they regard as progressive. They adopt a doctrinaire attitude toward this question which is so impractical that they ultimately unwittingly defeat themselves. If dictatorship versus democracy were the only question that faced us, it would not be difficult to make a decision. However, as we are in the midst of a struggle for survival, other considerations are pertinent.
If the policy of the United States is to bring about the overthrow of dictators in the hope that democracy will follow, then I believe that the United States must be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to preserve law and order and prevent chaos during that interim period of transition. If free and open elections are to be held, when a dictator is overthrown, a provisional government must be formed and such government needs outside support to maintain law and order. To do otherwise leaves a vacuum for the Communists to gain control. Such a vacuum did not occur in Cuba while I was the U.S. Ambassador there. Instead, a group was ready to seize power — a Communist group.
If we are to intervene sufficiently to bring about the overthrow of dictatorships, then we should intervene to whatever extent is required to fulfill our purpose. 0therwise, in my opinion, we must wait for the normal self-development of a people and not assist revolution. And we must be prepared to receive the criticism of supporting friendly governments recognized by the United States, although they have been labeled dictatorships. To make my point more clear, let me say that, we helped to overthrow the Batista dictatorship which was pro-American only to install the castro dictatorship which is pro-Russian.
The State Department’s complicity in castro’s takeover of Cuba is documented in numerous sources. For starters, read the Senate hearing transcripts at Latin American Studies.
Here we are 46 years later and the situation in Cuba, described as bad in 1960 has descended into a living hell.
The new policy report requests 80 million dollars in assistance for Cuba if they can somehow manage to free themselves of communist tyranny. Keep in mind we’re giving 30 million to Lebanon. While I’m grateful to the U.S. for all this great nation has done for Cuban exiles, in my opinion, this offering is too little, too late.
For further reading:
Cuba: Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs, 1945-4963: http://www.lexis-nexis.com/Academic/2upa/Ilas/sdCentralCuba1.asp
fidel castro’s climb to power: http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39873a5266f3.htm
Terrorism’s True Roots: http://www.jbs.org/artman/publish/article_71.shtml
fidel castro supermole: http://www.amigospais-guaracabuya.org/oagsg022.php
Lazo, Mario. Dagger in the Heart; American Policy Failures in Cuba. New York: Funk & Wagnalls .