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

977. Following are Embassy impressions of results of recent events, including Huber Matos resignation, Castro appearances on TV October 222 and mass rally October 26 and presentation note October 27.3

Publicly expressed anti-Americanism at new high and continuing. Long-time residents state current level exceeded only in months immediately following downfall Machado in 1933. Campaign continues [Page 649] actively fomented by top governmental figures and press and radio organs associated with government, with latter become aggressive and violent in tone. Consulate Santiago reports similar pattern.
A few cases of molestation and taunts of Americans are being reported. On other hand there have been many cases Cubans making special efforts be courteous and helpful. Embassy of opinion anti-American attitude neither deep-seated nor at alarming level among Cuban people as whole. However, some resident Americans seriously considering sending families out of Cuba, and many with teen-age children are quite concerned. A few resident Americans are making plans to depart themselves. Officials of local schools regarded as “American” worried. Embassy, Consulate Santiago and Consular Agent Camaguey have all received inquires as to plans for protection or evacuation. Habana hotels have had heavy cancellations from intending visitors. Shipping agents report three planned visits by cruise ships canceled.
Generally considered that extremist elements in GOC, headed by Raul Castro and “Che” Guevara, definitely have upper hand, at least for time being, apparently with full approval Fidel Castro.
Moderate elements within government worried and secretly consulting among themselves concerning course to follow. Reports are that some may be on way out, others would like to resign but fear treatment similar that accorded Urrutia and Matos. Moderates apparently feel themselves in weak position. Persistent rumors state several will shortly be out of government. Those most persistently named are Felipe Pazos, Rufo Lopez Fresquet, Manuel Ray and Faustino Perez. This would leave extremists in complete control.
[sic] INRA a most powerful civilian agency of government proceeding rapidly and often illegally with land seizure. Numerous reports of considerable confusion and incompetence in its operations. In most cases seized land reportedly not distributed to individuals but operated as “cooperatives”, with management, financing, purchasing and distribution handled by government. This appears to be state socialism at best, commune pattern of Chinese Peoples Republic at worst. Many disaffected Cubans expect INRA, which already handling “industrialization” program to expand into additional fields such as control export-import activities.
Matos incident has seriously shaken government. Firm, ruthless manner in which it handled by Castro and others has probably halted any further immediate defections. However, it has increased sense of uneasiness and worry among governmental circles.
Sources within opposition consider projected “militarization” of people if carried out a dangerous development. They point to armed forces publicly acknowledged total about 35,000 “youth patrols” which receiving some military drill, and decision give military training to public and arms if necessary.
Opposition elements maintain Castro support now confined almost completely to lower classes, which constitute undisciplined, uneducated, extremist, highly volatile majority. Embassy believes this somewhat exaggerated, but that support for Castro among middle and professional classes has significantly lessened.
Opposition leaderless, fearful, without program. Many express hope errors, incompetence and excesses of Castro regime will bring disillusionment and hastening collapse. They also hope US will bring heavy economic pressure, thus hastening collapse. Opposition and potential oppositions state they handicapped by activities members former Batista regime, especially those in US.

Consensus of resident Americans and Cubans not associated with government is that situation will continue deteriorate. Many expect rate deterioration to accelerate.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/10–3059. Confidential; Priority.
  2. See Document 377.
  3. See Document 379.