513. Paper Prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency1

COMMUNIST INFLUENCE IN CUBA

Summary

In late 1958, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union requested that high level delegates from Latin American CP’s attend the XXI CPSU Congress in early 1959 to discuss the selection of one country as a base for a hemispheric attack on US policy as well as problems of financial and material support. Cuba appears to have been selected as this base, and the consolidation of the USSR’s cultural organization dealing with Latin America, teamed with Cuban cultural activities, provides possible cover for channelling Soviet financial and material support to Latin American Communists and their collaborators.

International Communist strategy for gaining control in Latin America is the “national liberation struggle”. Because this strategy involves manipulation of non-Communist nationalists, special emphasis has been placed on Chinese Communist tactical guidance, particularly with reference to clandestine and subversive activity. The application of these tactical concepts in Cuba is indicated by the role played by pro-Communists who may be, in fact, Communist party members. Although the Communists may wish to bring known Communists into the Cuban government, this goal may currently be subordinated to the broader objectives of hemispheric subversion.

The Cuban Communist Party (PSP) program was approved in December 1957. This was stated to be an interim program for national liberation, and not the ultimate Socialist program. It listed objectives which correspond to those being carried out by the Castro government. Immediately thereafter, in early 1958, International Communism [Page 905]changed its policy toward the Castro guerrilla movement. Unity agreements were reached with Castro-affiliated labor elements, and with the aid of Raul Castro and Ernesto Guevara, the guerrilla forces were infiltrated. In August 1958 a secret agreement between the Communist Party and the 26th of July Movement was reported from within the Communist movement.

Following the Castro victory, the Cuban CP quickly surfaced and reestablished its overt organization and press. With the aid of Guevara and Raul Castro the Communists gained control over the political indoctrination in the armed forces, into which they infiltrated many members of the Communist youth. They next helped organize the Agrarian Reform Institute under Antonio Nunez Jimenez (a crypto-Communist), which has become an autonomous politico-economic empire. Concurrently, they expanded their influence in labor, despite some opposition, and actively furthered international Communist youth objectives. With respect to foreign relations, Cuban policy has been in accord with the goals of the Soviet-inspired “liberation struggle”. Specifically, Cuban government officials have supported Communist objectives: a Latin American “peoples’ congress”; a WFDY sponsored Latin American Youth Congress; and a congress of “underdeveloped nations”. Closer relations have been established with the USSR, including a commercial treaty.

Efforts have been made to extend aid to opposition elements abroad, thereby aiding the “liberation struggle”. Ernesto Guevara, charged with aid to foreign revolutionaries, has sought to have the Communists accepted in unified movements. To supplement official state-to-state relations, the Cuban government representatives abroad have worked on a “people-to-people” level, lending support to leftist political, student, labor, and cultural groups in which Communists are included. Some Communist infiltration of the diplomatic service is known to exist, and known Communists have been appointed to the Cuban UNESCO Commission. “Cultural counsellors” with regional responsibilities, reportedly Raul Castro’s appointees, include some persons with Communist associations.

There is little reason to doubt that the Cuban governmental leaders under Castro are accepting Communist guidance and are organizing the government so as to serve the purposes of International Communist subversion. Internal Communist sources revealed, during 1959, increasing confidence on the part of the Communists with respect to their influence. Although there is evidence that the Communists fear the “chauvinist” and “bourgeois” attitudes of Fidel Castro, there is no evidence whatsoever that they doubt the friendship of Raul Castro and Ernesto Guevara, who probably have more organizational control over governmental operations than Fidel. However, the replacement of anti-Communist President Urrutia by President Dorticos, [Page 906]and the replacement of a number of moderate or non-Communist cabinet members by radicals and pro-Communists have been the direct result of Fidel’s actions.

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  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 84, Habana Embassy Files: FRC 67 A 677, Communism. Secret; Noforn/Continued Control. Document number not declassified. This 67-page paper was transmitted to certain diplomatic posts in the American Republics as an attachment to CA–10924, June 27, in which recipients were authorized to use the paper as background information in discussions with officials of the host government. Recipients were asked, however, not to refer to certain information cited in an unsigned memorandum, dated June 16, that was attached to the cover sheet. None of the information cited therein was in the Summary. The decision to circulate the paper was apparently taken at Herter’s direct suggestion. In a June 6 memorandum to INR, to which was attached a copy of the paper, Krebs noted that Herter thought “a good deal of the material contained therein might be used effectively in other Latin American countries.” Krebs asked INR to check with CIA to see whether the paper could be distributed, perhaps in sanitized form. (Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers)