290. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1
1248. Cuban press and radio coverage of Fidel Castro’s trip to US continued voluminous through April 21. Two general trends becoming evident in handling: (1) Anti-America group such as Communist paper Hoy, 26 July organ Revolucion and Diario Nacional and radio commentator Pardo Llada taking line Castro has confronted essentially hostile audiences but nevertheless getting true picture nature and aims of revolution across to American people without cowering before colossus of north (2) balance of press taking attitude Castro making excellent impression and successfully removing remaining doubts in US re Cuban situation. Nationalistic press playing up Castro statements he seeking no financial assistance, but undertone apparent in many press comments they hope such aid forthcoming.
Castro’s declaration he views all dictatorships including communism harshly given top treatment. His statements concerning elections given delicate and circumspect handling. Wire services stories saying he favors massive US aid program in LA received wide play.
Castro trip correspondent for Revolucion Guillermo Cabrera Infante dedicated his Tuesday2 report to systematic depreciation US institutions starting with doubts about valor of US servicemen buried Arlington and ending with confidence Castro will win battle public opinion in NY in spite gangsters, Time, Life and their like.[Page 481]
Communist daily Hoy, Revolucion and Diario Nacional went to great lengths to discredit Castro’s questioners on TV program Meet The Press seen live in Cuba. Hoy showed concern for Castro’s anti-Communist statements. Asking Fidel to “clarify” his statements, Hoy suggested Castro’s words were twisted by translators and cited “international Yankee press conspiracy against Cuba” as real source such statements.
At meeting night April 20 honoring students killed after abortive April 1958 strike Raul Castro made violent anti-America speech very much out of character with Fidel’s pronouncements in US (Embtel 12403). July 26 organ Revolucion gave speech small play with details omitted, apparently recognizing conflict. Other papers, notably Diario de la Marina and Informacion, give speech frontpage treatment with full text.