Well, the times -they are a-changin’. November 25th 2016 marks the death of Cuba’s Fidel Castro at the ripe old age of 90. From what I have read, while Cuba mourns, Miami celebrates. Whatever your opinion of Fidel, he presented the only workable model of a modern socialist revolution and outlived a half-dozen CIA directors that tried to kill him. Here are some of the attempts:
Fidel Castro survived over 600 assassination attempts
BY Stephen Rex Brown
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, November 26, 2016
“Before old age finally took its toll, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had survived a mob hit, poisoning at the hands of a former flame and cigars dosed with drugs.
All told, the revolutionary survived over 600 assassination attempts, Cuban officials boasted.
The U.S. government’s attempts on Castro’s life — who died Friday at the age of 90 — were so frequent that the former director of Cuban intelligence, Fabián Escalante, broke them down by administration: Eisenhower, 38; Kennedy, 42; Johnson, 72; Nixon, 184; Carter, 64; Reagan, 197; Bush Sr., 16; Clinton, 21”.
In fact, the hit teams of CIA-backed Anti-Castro Cubans weave a legacy from The Bay of Pigs, to the Kennedy assassination, to Watergate, and terror attacks including the bombing of a civilian airliner.
But what would have happened if U.S.-Cuba policy had been normalized over fifty years ago? A case can be made that with the pressure for “regime change” relaxed, the Cuban population would certainly suffered less repression. U.S. corporations that had been strip-mining Cuban resources probably would have resumed limited activity, under the watchful eye of the entrenched military government. With travel bans and the trade embargo lifted life in Cuba would have probably been considerably better. As it was, scrappy little Cuba did quite well in the fields of science, medicine and agriculture.
Che and Fidel
One of the things that may have contributed to the assassination of President Kennedy is that he had opened back-channel negotiations with Castro’s government. Here are a few details:
When J.F.K. Secretly Reached Out to Castro
“The president had asked his speechwriter, Theodore Sorensen, for language that would open a door to the Cuban leader, although, as Sorensen later observed, the audience was “a very tough anti-Castro group.”
That same day, Ambassador William Attwood, a Kennedy delegate to the United Nations, secretly called Castro’s aide and physician, Rene Vallejo, to discuss a possible secret meeting in Havana between Attwood and Castro that might improve the Cuban-American relationship, which had been ruptured when President Eisenhower broke diplomatic ties in January 1961.
Attwood had been told by Castro’s U.N. ambassador, Carlos Lechuga, in September 1963, that the Cuban leader wished to establish back-channel communications with Washington. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy worried that such talks would leak and embarrass his brother on the eve of his 1964 re-election campaign, but the president quietly encouraged Attwood to pursue the matter.
Kennedy’s national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, told Attwood that J.F.K. wanted to “know more about what is on Castro’s mind before committing ourselves to further talks on Cuba.” He said that as soon as Attwood and Lechuga could agree on an agenda, the president would tell him what to say to Castro; in the meantime, J.F.K. had to make a trip to Texas”.
Repeat: “J.F.K. had to make a trip to Texas”
And for details and documents, take a look at this report from The National Security Archives:
Kennedy Sought Dialogue with Cuba
INITIATIVE WITH CASTRO ABORTED BY ASSASSINATION,
DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS SHOW
Oval Office Tape Reveals Strategy to hold clandestine Meeting in Havana; Documents record role of ABC News correspondent Lisa Howard as secret intermediary in Rapprochement effort
While Castro ran an oppressive government that jailed political opponents, homosexuals and quarantined individuals with HIV, he offered a more egalitarian socialist government that undoubtedly benefited many others. The woman pictured below is definitely an example:
“Vilma Lucila Espín Guillois (April 7, 1930 – June 18, 2007) was a Cuban revolutionary, feminist and chemical engineer. She was one of the most important fighters in the struggle for Cuban women’s equality as well as fighting against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship”.
What happens next? We are approaching one hell of a rough four years under a *choke* President Trump.
Early reading suggests the Trump team will require more concessions from Cuba to maintain Obama’s relaxed relationship status. No way to know how that will proceed, or if Cuba ends up with a raw deal that they reject.
If Kennedy had not been executed in Dallas, we would have had a very different world – and not just for Cubans.