Castro and Revolutionary Justice

From the Foreign relations of the United States, 1958-1960. Cuba. Volume VI, 1958-1960

Cuba is criticized for “Revolutionary Justice”. Castro’s responds on 22 January 1959:

Editorial Note 238:

The rally, held in front of the Presidential Palace and attended by approximately 500,000 people, lasted 5 hours. The main speaker was Fidel Castro, who spoke for nearly 4 1/2 hours. Present were many foreign press correspondents, mostly from the United States and Latin America. Of the various U.S. Congressmen invited, only Powell and Porter were present. According to the Embassy’s summary of Castro’s speech, Castro asked the crowd, in the name of ‘‘revolutionary justice,’” to vote by a show of hands whether they approved the ‘shooting of the assassins.’’ All the hands were raised to the accompaniment of a “vengeful roar.’’ Castro also criticized the unfair press treatment of the Cuban revolution and said Cuba would demand the return of “war criminals’’ who had taken refuge in the United States. Castro’s only direct criticism of the United States, according to the Embassy, was the following:

“Great crimes have been committed in the name of peace, and I could address this question to the Congressmen who attack us: What did the United States do? What was done at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? In the name of peace two cities were bombed and more than three hundred thousand human beings killed. We have shot no child, we have shot no woman, we have shot no old people. Nevertheless, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, three hundred thousand members of the civil population died In the name of what? Well, they said it was done to achieve peace and also to keep many American combatants from being killed, Well then, I say to those Congressmen, apart from the fact that they have no reason to interfere in Cuban problems, that we are shooting the assassins so that they will not kill our children tomorrow. And when all is said and done the total of assassins we shoot will not be more than four hundred, which is about one assassin for every thousand men, women and children assassinated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” (Telegram 874 from Havana, January 22; ibid., 737.00 /1-2259)

It’s worth pointing out that historians differ on the total number killed, with different studies placing it as anywhere from 200 to 700 nationwide, with Guevara’s jurisdictional death total at La Cabaña ranging from 55 to 105.

I’ll put it this way, anti-Castro Cuban exiles killed way more innocent people than that!


Foreign relations of the United States, 1958-1960. Cuba. Volume VI, 1958-1960, Pgs. 380-381

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