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

1684. Prime Minister Fidel Castro appeared unexpectedly on daily radio program of Jose Pardo Liada yesterday from 1330 to 1445. Purpose apparently to excoriate United States and Cuban opposition groups. Tone and attitude arrogant, insolent and provocative. Principal points were:

1.
Called remarks of Vice President Nixon at Miami press conference January 17 on Cuban treatment of American private interests and sugar quota “insolent remarks against Cuban people”.
2.
Called United States note of January 112 ‘threatening”. Stated it published in press (apparently referring to UPI story) before presentation contrary to usual practice. Criticised Ambassador Bonsal for saying on arrival January 12 he intended to work toward improved relations, telling acting Minister Foreign Relations when requesting appointment he “Merely wished to extend greetings”, (inaccurate) and then presenting note. Said those who “applaud certain Ambassadors” (see point 6 of Embassy telegram 1677)3 display “complete lack of patriotism”.
3.
Called Captain Antonio Michel Yabur and Lt. Manuel Artime traitors. (They former officers of FAR and INRA, respectively, who have sought refuge abroad and whose departing letters to Castro accusing him and GOC of Communism were published in Habana daily Avance on January 15.) Said he has some documents which will publish opportunely which show “connections existing between those traitors and certain Embassies and Chanceries and a certain policy”.
4.
War which ended in 1898 resulted only in replacement of Spanish domination by United States domination. Three year military occupation of Cuba was only for purpose of economic and political domination of Cuba. As final gesture, United States occupation rigged [Page 748]elections so Bartolome Maso defeated, Estrada Palma elected. Such things not previously taught in Cuba. Only a “series of permanent lies” was taught. Cuban people now for first time in control their own country.
5.
Revolutionary government has three main tasks: reorganize the governmental structure; reorganize armed forces with new personnel; and reconstruct economy after 57 years of domination by monopolies, of exploitation by foreign interests and national minorities.

Castro’s basic theme was that revolution is defending Cuban sovereignty. Therefore persons opposed to revolution are traitors and anti-patriotic. Ninety percent of Cuban people support revolution, and opposition therefore has to find support abroad, specifically from United States, where there is “insidious hostile campaign” originating in “international oligarchies and foreign press”. Castro also harped on class struggle theme, saying that supporters of GOC included “peasants, workers, students, young people, untainted professionals, and that sector of middle class which understands the revolution”. He repeatedly said the revolution was supported by the less privileged classes, and in veiled threats added that privileged classes still enjoyed many comforts because of tolerance of GOC, implying that Cuban people might cause a change in that attitude. Said “only hope which counter-revolutionaries have is in support of monopolies which have been injured, of foreign chanceries, of foreign tyrannies, of mercenaries of all sorts”.

Ostensible purpose of appearance was presentation by Pardo Liada of check of 250,000 pesos voluntarily contributed as result his appeal, for purchase of armaments. Castro said money would assuredly be invested in armaments, which were “best investment our people can make at present”. Castro had words of warm praise and affection for Pardo Liada, who has long record as thoroughly unprincipled opportunist currently violently anti-American. In past two months he has been unequalled in viciousness and virulence of his attacks.

Castro appears to be stepping up his policy of attacking United States as traditional and continuing enemy of Cuba and Cuban people.

Bonsal
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/1–1960. Confidential; Priority.
  2. See Document 422.
  3. Telegram 1677, January 18, cited several examples from the January 11 issue of Revolucion to show that the newspaper had become even more extremely anti-American and intransigent. Point 6 of the telegram described the prolonged applause by a movie audience when Ambassador Bonsal appeared in a newsreel. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/1–1860)