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302. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1

1327. Embassy has received from varied sources including some well-connected with GOC that there will be significant changes made in top governmental positions when Castro returns. Predicted moves revolve around two separate but related postulates:

(1)
Castro increasingly disturbed over Communist activities.
(2)
There is tension between Castro and brother Raul over assistance extended to revolutionary groups planning invasions of other Caribbean countries, and over Raul’s extreme leftist orientation, coupled with his move to place loyal personal followers in all key positions in the armed forces.

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According to reports Castro’s mother, sister Juana, and elder brother Ramon are all opposed to activities of Raul and his wife Vilma Espin. There is also persistent report that Raul and Camilo Cienfuegos had a heated argument ending in blows over position and power of “Che” Guevara, and support being given to expeditionary groups.

Among predicted changes are Urrutia’s designation to a position on Supreme Court, and his replacement as President by Miro Cardona. It is frequently rumored that Foreign Minister Agramonte will be dropped, for variety of reasons, including lack of competence and drive. However, this may be reflection of consistent and violent Communist campaign against him. It is also said that several Cabinet Ministers with notably leftist tendencies will be dropped, but names are not mentioned.

One source, with apparently good knowledge of trouble within Castro family, has reported that Raul and “Che” Guevara may both be assigned abroad as military attachés, with Guevara going to Argentina, and that Fidel might resign as Prime Minister and assume command of armed forces.

Embassy considers it possible some changes may be forthcoming in fairly near future. Cubans opposed to communism, both in and out of government, are beginning to take more firm and outspoken stands. However, exaggerated stories from US re influence and strength of communism within the GOC like Novins CBS broadcast2 do not help this trend in highly nationalistic atmosphere here. Much better that initiative for correction come from within Cuba and I am hopeful it will.

Bonsal
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/5–659. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Reference is to Stuart Novins’ May 3 television broadcast entitled “Is Cuba Going Red?”