Cuba’s “Successful Defiance” of US Hemispheric Power

The reasons for US-lead terrorist attacks against Cuba and the illegal economic embargo are spelled out in internal US records. International terrorism and economic warfare are justified not by what Cuba does, but by its “very existence,” its “successful defiance” of the proper master of the hemisphere.

Here are some internal records:

March 22, 1960, Special National Intelligence Estimate, Communist Influence in Cuba:

The Communists probably also believe that the US will lose in influence and prestige so long as Castro’s successful defiance of the US (including his acceptance of bloc assistance) continues, and that the US is faced with the dilemma of tolerating an increasingly Communist-oriented Cuba or of arousing widespread Latin American opposition by intervening.

February 17, 1961, Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency, Cuba:

Cuba will, of course, never present a direct military threat to the United States…

For the Communist powers, Cuba represents an opportunity of incalculable value. More importantly, the advent of Castro has provided the Communists with a friendly base for propaganda and agitation throughout the rest of Latin America and with a highly exploitable example of revolutionary achievement and successful defiance of the United States.

February 3, 1964 as quoted by Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, (2003)

Perhaps of even grater moment is that the primary danger we face in Castro is not what he does in the way of distributing arms, disseminating propaganda, training subversives, and dispatching agents, but in the impact the very existence of this regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American Countries.

The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the US, a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half. Until Castro did it, no Latin American could be sure of getting away with a communist-type revolution and a tie-in with the Soviet Union. As long as Castro endures, Communists in other Latin American countries can, to use Stalin’s words, ‘struggle with good heart’

Thanks for reading,


Piero Gleijeses quotes from the following reference: DOS, Policy Planning Council, “Caribbean: Cuba” (draft outline), Feb. 13, 1964, pp 13, 6-7, 8-9, 10, NSFCF, box 26

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