[Marxism] Did Cuba end up 'towing the moscow line'?

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 16:49:32 MST 2013

On 2/9/2013 10:05 PM, John Wesley wrote:
> Why do all these accounts overlook the fact that the Soviets, tired of all the Guevarist revolutionary romanticism, by 1968 gave Fidel the choice of either towing the Moscow line, or be left to the mercies of the US ?

These accounts "overlook it" because it simply wasn't so.  See, for 
example what Fidel says about 40 seconds into this clip from episode 18 
of the CNN documentary series "Cold War." It is about Cuba and the 
Soviets in relation to Nicaragua and the civil wars in Central America 
in the 1980s.


Referring to U.S. accusations that the was a Cuban-Soviet plot to take 
over all of Central; America, Fidel responded:

"Look, if a Soviet-Cuban master plan actually existed we would have won 
the Cold War. (Laughs) If there had been a master plan. But 
unfortunately there was no such plan, quite the opposite. Cuba's actions 
conflicted with Soviet interests at that time."

Nor was that something new.

Five years ago on this list I documented another such divergence between 
Cuba and the Soviets -- the decision to send troops to Angola in 1975 to 
prevent a takeover of the country by  CIA- and South Africa-backed 
Angolan groups on the eve of the country's formal independence.


Here are a couple of excerpts.

Interview: Fidel Castro, president, Cuba:
"The Soviets knew absolutely nothing about it. We took the decision because
of our long-standing relations over many years with Neto, and with the
independence movement in Angola."

"It was a question of globalizing our struggle, vis-à-vis the globalized
pressures and harassment of the U.S. In this respect he did not coincide
with the Soviet viewpoint. We acted ... but without their cooperation. Quite
the opposite! There were criticisms. So?"

Interview: Karen Brutents, Communist Party Central Committee:
"In Moscow this was greeted without enthusiasm. It was only when the Cubans
had landed that we got involved. Because the Cubans kept asking us for help.
They wanted weapons; they wanted food supplies. Once we started sending
things to Angola, we were soon in over our heads -- even though it wasn't in
our plans to go there."

The links inn that post to the CNN cold war transcripts no longer work, 
but the material is available in the wayback machine of the internet 

The URL for the first episode is:


By changing the 01 to 17, 18 or whatever, you can access the web 
material about the various episodes, 24 in all. There are links to 
episode summaries and complete scripts.

The episodes are now --finally!-- available on DVD, but have also been 
posted to youtube. This playlist has them all:


Trying to help revolutionary movements in Latin America and the Third 
World has been and remains, the North Star of Cuban foreign policy since 

The Spanish version, which I produced, had all of Fidel's statements 
(and those of other Latin Americans) without overdub translation, but 
AFAIK was never released on VHS or DVD.

And looking again at this material really  brings home how much 
bourgeois media has degenerated in the past 20 years.


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