[Marxism] Another Cuba-US relationship was, and is, possible

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 29 23:13:55 MST 2003

by Walter Lippmann, November 30, 2003

This message addresses the notion that there is no and
can be no change in Washington's blockade of Cuba and
that rational people don't even discuss such options.

Only those who want to see the blockade continued, 
such as the Cuban-American exiled rightwing, the US
far-right, and whoever wants everyone to believe you
cannot fight city hall and win, would reject, out of
hand, such historical speculation as this. 

Can we say that speculation about how the assassination
of President Kennedy might have affected the relations
between the US and Cuba as nothing more than “garbage”? 
That's what a long-time supporter of THE MILITANT and of
the Socialist Workers Party (USA) here argues stridently.
That's not reasonable. Here are some reasons why not.

The Cuban Revolution has survived into now its fifth
successful decade by a mixture of agitation, education and
organization of its population, transformation of the
structure of social relations on the island and having made
a close study of the institutions and politics of the
United States of America. 

Cuba has to know what its opponents are up to, so that it
may take appropriate actions in its own self-defense. Look
at the lengths to which the Cubans went to keep tabs on the
terrorist groups based on Miami? Look at the lengths to
which they have gone to win a new trial for the Five. Cuba
isn't simply demand-ing freedom for the Five, but actually
they demand a new trial, outside of Miami, where they can
present their reasons for having gone to the lengths that
they have to track the Cuban exile terrorists.

Intellectuals in the United States and other countries have
the leisure of arguing out to the nth degree what is the
"correct" view on this or that issue, based on some kind of 
argumentational logic. Facts, which are stubborn things, may
or may not play a role in such deliberations. For political
sectarians, I argue, reality is only ONE of the factors
which must be taken into consideration, and not invariably
the decisive factor...

The Cuban government and its leadership have a great stake
the knowing, with certainty what actually happens in the
United States and especially with its government leaders,
up to and including Washington's Commander-in-Chief. 
I'dwould venture to say that Cuban officials know more than
virtually anyone on any of these e-mail lists about those
events. (Putting aside readers located at CIA headquarters 
in Langley, Virginia, of course <g>.)

The rulers of the United State were hell-bent, through the
Warren Commission, to as quickly as possible close the book
on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They
weren't very happy at the broad skepticism which greeted
the Warren Commission's report. Still less are the powers
that be happy with the general collapse of government
credibility which became known as the "Vietnam syndrome".
Simply put, they're also not happy that their official
pronouncements aren't publicly accepted at face value.

Speculation about the assassination of JFK has never been a
great interest of mine. I figured that the government lied,
but haven't given it a great deal of thought. After all,
Democrats and Republicans have more or less done more or
less the same things to overthrow the Cuban Revolution for
now going on fifty years. What difference could it really
have made? 

Many use such speculation as a reason to think or advocate
or hope that having Democrats in the White House would
somehow make a notable difference in US foreign or other
policies. I don't do that, but can't stop those who do.

Still, I think that when a Division General of the Cuban
state security forces decides to give long and detailed
interviews, in advance of the publication of one of a
SERIES of books on this topic, which includes some elements
he himself label "speculation", we might just stop for a
few moments before labeling such "thinking out loud" as 
just "garbage" on the eve of 2004. Consider these lines
from his recent interview with Radio Progreso:

Escalante Font, who for years was chief of Cuban Security
In an exclusive interview, Division Gen. (retired) Fabián
and the Cuban counterespionage services, outlines a theory
that he develops in a book soon to appear: the
assassination was a "dual-purpose operation - kill the
President of the United States and link the deed to Cuba,
so as to go ahead with a definitive military action."

Since Escalante retired, in the mid-1990s, he has devoted
much of his time to write about "the CIA's secret war
against Cuba," the title that covers the four books he has
published. [Read it all at Radio Progreso, linked here.]

We’ve seen material in US media in recent weeks which is
again trying to link Cuba to the Kennedy assassination in
what can only be an effort to lay a foundation to justify
even further US action against the island. Thus looking at
the past history and considering how things might have been
is both timely, appropriate and indeed imperative today.

Labeling such informed speculation as “garbage” is akin to
the idea pushed by Washington and its supporters that the
resistance to Washington’s occupation is nothing more than
remnants of the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Thinking like
this is what informs THE MILITANT these days, which also
argues that the Miami exile rightists play no independent
role whatsoever.) This IS what the Bush administration is
arguing, and which the Socialist Workers Party (USA) has
long argued. Cubans on the island don't think so and they
make quite a compelling case, in my opinion.

The Cuban-American exiles are desperately doing everything
in their power to maintain the blockade as if it were in
some way ordained by the Supreme Being. They want everyone
to think it’s permanently set in concrete. But what has in
the past been created by human hands, can be uncreated by
human hands as well. 

Groups such as the National Security Archives has done a
great number of valuable public services by publishing a
raft of official government papers which present something
less than the tooth fairy’s version of US history. The NSA
has, for example, provide us with a photocopy of the US
government’s “Operation Northwoods” documents, and much,
much more. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude.

Yes, another US-Cuban relationship was, and IS, possible!

Walter Lippmann, Moderator, CubaNews list

-----Original Message-----
From: Barry Schier [mailto:bschier at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2003 1:46 PM
To: change-links at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [change-links] Re: Secret Cuban moves to improve relations

With the 40th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. 
Kennedy (a.k.a. JFK), it was almost inevitable that two long-time 
cottage industries would go into full gear to push garbage out the 
door for anyone who would buy it.  As I (a former switchman-brakeman) 
read the Guardian article "Killing of Kennedy may have derailed Cuba 
pact" and the similar La Jornada article "Documentos desclasificados 
revelan intentos por modificar 'el esquema hostil'" (both
(reprinted below), it reconfirmed my long-held opinion that the 
Speculation Express has become a runaway train.

The principal products, of course, are conspiracy theories containing 
more intricate interconnections than Rube Goldberg contraptions; 
unlike that cartoon about crackpot inventions which had a 
deliberately self-mocking tone (and was consciously humorous), the 
cartoonish conspiracy theories are dead serious about who (and how 
many) made JFK dead.   

Then there is the matching product, made of even more flimsy 
materials  – (speculation on) that JFK would have done so-and-so if 
only he were not killed by that fatal fusilade and didn't die in 
Dallas. (If JFK would have repeated the Miracle of the Loaves and 
Fishes, Black people would had had to receive their loaves and fish 
at the back doors of Jim Crow restaurants and not drink from "Whites 
only" water fountains after the meal – JFK's statement of opposition 
to authorities' particularly egregious arrest of Martin Luther King 
reaches memory and mouths, while a there is a collective amnesia that 
this same man was the Commander in Chief of the country and refused 
to dispatch troops or otherwise intervene during the late days of the 
Southern-fried version of apartheid, e.g., while elected Birmingham 
bigots regularly dispatched dogs and high-pressure fire-hoses against 
civil rights demonstrators.)  An historical record of one thousand 
days of steady and increasing "advisers" / troops and other forms of 
U.S. involvement in Indochina ordered by the Commander-in-Chief for 
that war; yet, it is claimed that his assassination prevented JFK 
from carrying out a `secret plan' for U.S. withdrawal from VietNam.  

And now for the latest pretty product: a trailer of trash from "
whole history of US-Cuban relations might have been quite different 
if Kennedy had not been assassinated  
"assembly line (a.k.a., 
liberal printing presses).  An historical record of one thousand days 
of steady and increasingly vitriolic denunciations of – and  threats 
against – the government established as a result of the Cuban 
Revolution does not deter these folks from asserting that JFK really 
wanted normalization of U.S. relationship with Cuba his assassination 
prevented JFK's secret plan from being carried out, i.e., that 
a "rapprochement was cut off in Dallas 40 years ago by Lee Harvey 
Oswald."  It was JFK who instituted the U.S. embargo against Cuba – 
which has continued UNINTERRUPTED for four-plus DECADES, pursued with 
vigor by "liberal" and "conservative" presidents alike.  

It was JFK who initiated the policy of giving significant incentives 
for any Cuban who would emigrate from Cuba and come to the United 
States to voice verbal venom against the Cuban revolution.   The 
Washington-orchestrated acts against Cuba were not merely VERBAL 
attacks: Cuban counterrevolutionaries were fully funded by the JFK 
Administration to regularly attempt MILITARY attacks against Cuba.  
JFK ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion.  Ordering and directing a 
military invasion and a "missile crisis that led the world to the 
brink of nuclear war" were NOT harbingers of intentions to "negotiate 
the normalisation of relations with Fidel Castro 
"! (That the 
results of the would-be invasion of Cuba by gusanos turned out to 
become almost synonymous with the word "debacle" was not because of 
any lack of resolve of JFK to destroy the Cuban Revolution, but 
because of the total resolve of the Cuban people to defend their 

-- Barry Schier

Subject: Killing of Kennedy may have derailed Cuba pact 
Newsgroups: soc.culture.cuba [Posted by PL]
Date: 2003-11-26 12:58:27 PST 

Killing of Kennedy may have derailed Cuba pact
By Julian Borger in Washington
November 27, 2003

Days before his assassination, president John F. Kennedy
was planning a meeting with Cuban officials to negotiate
the normalisation of relations with Fidel Castro, a
declassified tape and White House documents reveal.

The rapprochement was cut off in Dallas 40 years ago by Lee
Harvey Oswald, who appears to have believed he was
assassinating the president in the interests of the Cuban

But the new evidence suggests Dr Castro saw Kennedy's
killing as a setback. He sought a dialogue with the next
administration, but Lyndon Johnson was at first too
concerned about appearing soft on communism and later too
distracted by Vietnam to respond.

Peter Kornbluh, a researcher at Washington's National
Security Archives, said the new evidence "shows that the
whole history of US-Cuban relations might have been quite
different if Kennedy had not been assassinated".

Dr Castro's and JFK's tentative flirtation came at a time
of extraordinary acrimony in the wake of the US-backed Bay
of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles and the missile crisis
that led the world to the brink of nuclear war.

On a newly declassified Oval Office audiotape, recorded 17
days before the assassination, Kennedy is heard discussing
the option of a meeting with his national security adviser,
McGeorge Bundy.

The president agrees in principle to send a US diplomat,
Bill Attwood, but frets that news of the secret mission
could leak out.

The key intermediary was Lisa Howard, an actress who had
become a leading television journalist when she landed an
interview with the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev.

In April 1963 she interviewed Dr Castro, and returned with
a message that the Cuban leader was anxious to talk. The
president was receptive.

The CIA was pursuing various schemes aimed at assassinating
or undermining Dr Castro, but Kennedy's aides were
increasingly convinced Havana could be weaned away from

The administration gave a nod to Ms Howard, who set up a
meeting between Mr Attwood and the Cuban ambassador to the
UN, Carlos Lechuga.

Her flat then became a communications centre between Mr
Attwood and the Castro regime. Dr Castro's aide, Dr Rene
Vallejo, called at arranged times to talk to Mr Attwood,
and in the northern autumn of 1963 suggested Mr Attwood fly
to Mexico and on to Cuba, where the Cuban leader would talk
to him alone in a hangar.

The plan, however, was sunk by the assassination. Ms Howard
continued to ferry messages from Dr Castro, in which the
Cuban leader expresses his support for Johnson's 1964
election and even offers to turn the other cheek if the new
US leader wanted to indulge in some electoral Cuba-bashing.
But the new president did not have the Cold War credentials
of having faced down Moscow over the Cuban missile crisis.
The moment had passed.

The Guardian

This story was found at:

--- In change-links at yahoogroups.com, "Walter Lippmann" 
<walterlx at e...> wrote:

(LA JORNADA is a mass circulation 
leftist daily in Mexico City which 
supports the Cuban Revolution. It's 
circulation is, I'm told, 100,000 daily. 

The paper's Havana correspondent reports 
here on secret contacts between the 
President JFK and the Cuban government 
aimed at trying to improve relations 
between the island and the United States. 

This article dovetails  the long interview 
with Fabian Font which we sent out yesterday. 
Though somewhat speculative, Cuban experts 
who know lots more than any of the readers 
in some way to the Kennedy assassination. 

Many unanswered and very interesting 
questions tantalize us today and as we 
see the ongoing role of the Cuban-American 
exiled right-wing minority in US politics, 
articles such as this are of great interest.

La Jornada México D.F. 
Sábado 29 de noviembre de 2003 
Documentos desclasificados revelan
intentos por modificar "el esquema hostil"  
En secreto, Castro y Kennedy buscaban 
forma de cambiar la relación Cuba-EU  
Washington negociaba en 1963 
el envío de un emisario a La Habana  


La Habana, 28 de noviembre. John F. Kennedy recibió 17 días
antes de ser asesinado esta propuesta de Fidel Castro: un
avión recogería en México a un emisario de Estados Unidos
para llevarlo a un aeropuerto privado cerca de Varadero,
donde hablaría a solas con el líder cubano.

Inmediatamente después de concluida la conversación, el
enviado de Kennedy sería devuelto a territorio mexicano.
¿Por qué no hacerlo al revés, con un emisario cubano en
México o en Naciones Unidas, como prefería la Casa Blanca?
Porque Castro quería sostener la conversación

México aparecía, en cualquier caso, como un territorio
seguro y mutuamente aceptable.

Este episodio, entre otros detalles de los intentos por
apaciguar el conflicto entre Cuba y Estados Unidos hace 40
años, forma parte de un paquete de información secreta y
desclasificada que acaba de difundir el Archivo Nacional de
Seguridad de la Universidad George Washington.

"Los documentos muestran claramente que Kennedy quería
cambiar el esquema de hostilidad en las relaciones con
Cuba", escribió en un análisis el investigador Peter
Kornbluh, líder del proyecto en el archivo.

Castro también había ofrecido señales para un
entendimiento. Primero a un abogado muy cercano a los
Kennedy, James Donovan, a finales de 1962. Luego, en una
entrevista con Lisa Howard, de ABC News, en abril de 1963.
Cuando Kennedy recibió la propuesta, hacía meses que ambos
gobiernos habían tomado nota de esos indicios de
distensión, tras el despliegue de misiles soviéticos en
octubre de 1962, que desembocó en una crisis y puso al
mundo al borde de una guerra nuclear.

Estados Unidos ya había roto relaciones con Cuba, le había
declarado el bloqueo económico, había patrocinado la
invasión anticastrista de playa Girón, había desatado una
campaña de desestabilización de la isla y ensayaba intentos
para asesinar a Castro.

El más extenso de los 10 documentos facilitados por el
archivo es un memorándum secreto de ocho páginas, dirigido
por William Atwood, periodista y entonces embajador alterno
estadunidense en Naciones Unidas, a Gordon Chase, asistente
del consejero de seguridad nacional, McGeorge Bundy. En su
memo del 8 de noviembre de 1963, Atwood reseñó la serie de
mensajes ultrasecretos entre La Habana y

Washington, que se llevaron a cabo desde abril de ese año,
en una línea de contactos en cuyos extremos estuvieron
Castro y Kennedy.

Lisa Howard era el enlace y usaba como centro de
comunicaciones su departamento en Nueva York. Ella recibió
la propuesta de recoger al enviado de Kennedy en México,
relató Atwood. En nombre de Castro la transmitió por
teléfono el 31 de octubre el médico René Vallejo, veterano
de la revolución y hombre de confianza del líder cubano.
Lisa le dijo a Vallejo que dudaba que un funcionario
estadunidense pudiera viajar a Cuba, pero quizás el propio
médico de Castro podría ir a México o a Naciones Unidas.

Vallejo, quien hablaba un inglés fluido, respondió que
Castro quería hablar personalmente, pero no descartaba otra
opción. Lisa identificó entonces al emisario: sería Atwood,
el ex editor de Look Magazine, quien había entrevistado a
Castro en 1959 y, casualmente, ya estaba invitado a viajar
a La Habana.

Esa previa invitación, narró el propio Atwood en su
informe, se había producido más de un mes antes, el 23 de
septiembre. En plena conspiración, Lisa ofreció un coctel
para "amigos que habían estado en Cuba". Alejados, en una
esquina del departamento, el estadunidense habló esa noche
con Carlos Lechuga, embajador cubano ante Naciones Unidas.

Lechuga dijo que sería una buena idea que Atwood volviera a
Cuba para retomar el contacto con Castro. Atwood contestó
que, ahora como diplomático, requería autorización oficial.

Al día siguiente, Atwood informó a Robert Kennedy sobre esa
plática. El procurador general le dijo que sería un riesgo
el viaje a Cuba, pero que se podría hablar con Castro en
México o en Naciones Unidas. Que mantuviera el contacto con

Ya en octubre, Lisa sugirió, y Atwood aceptó, abrir un
canal directo con La Habana. Sería Vallejo, quien había
gestionado para Howard la entrevista con Castro.

El 5 de noviembre Atwood habló con Bundy y Chase en la Casa
Blanca para ponerlos al corriente. Ese mismo día, Bundy
llevó el caso Cuba a la Oficina Oval.

La conversación de Bundy con Kennedy fue grabada y también
fue difundida por el Archivo Nacional de Seguridad. En la
cinta, de casi seis minutos, el presidente dice que Atwood
podría viajar si quedaba fuera de la nómina oficial. Así
sería creíble un desmentido, en caso de que trascendiera a
la prensa que los dos gobiernos tenían pláticas secretas.

Según los documentos desclasificados, la secuencia concluyó

El 11 de noviembre Vallejo llamó a Lisa para ofrecerle un
nuevo plan: 1) El avión cubano recogería al emisario de la
Casa Blanca en Cayo Hueso, 2) O bien, podría ser
estadunidense la nave que llegara a un "aeropuerto secreto"
cerca de La Habana y 3) Por los cubanos, sólo Castro y
Vallejo estarían en las pláticas. No el Che Guevara.

El 18 de noviembre, Atwood habló con Vallejo desde la casa
de Lisa. La respuesta estadunidense era que sería necesario
un contacto preliminar en Naciones Unidas para esclarecer
los términos de la conversación central.

Vallejo contestó de inmediato que no podía viajar en ese
momento, pero que se darían instrucciones a Lechuga para
sentarse con Atwood a discutir la agenda.

El 19 de noviembre, Chase reportó a Bundy las novedades.
"La pelota está en el campo de Castro. Tan pronto como
hable Lechuga, Bill (Atwood) hará una cita para discutir la
agenda. Bill estará en contacto con nosotros".

El día que mataron a Kennedy, el 22 de noviembre de 1963,
Atwood escribió a Chase un anexo a su memorándum, con un
resumen de las negociaciones.

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