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Painting Castro Red


Tim Carroll
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As you know, I think one of the biggest mistakes our country made in the

1960s was the removal of Diem. I remember the controversy over Diem in the fall of 1963. National Review, which greatly influenced my political thinking in those years, was strongly outspoken in defense of Diem. In one sense, the issue could be summed up in the old adage: "You don't change horses in mid-stream."

There was a tremenduous amount of manuevering going on in both Washington and Saigon between late August of 1963 and the Diem coup of Nov 1st. JFK was clearly vacillating because his administration was engaged in a bitter internal debate. It was probably because of the internal dispute that JFK listened to the advise of Henry Cabot Lodge, who was "on the ground" in Saigon.

The best summary I recently encountered (since our earlier interchanges) is in Richard Reeves "President Kennedy: Profile in Power.

You have mentioned possible differences of opinion between JFK and RFK. We know RFK opoposed overthrowing Diem. Here is an interesting passage from Reeves' book.

Context: JFK had cabled Lodge that the White House intended to control the action in Saigon. Both Kennedy's thought that Lodge's cable acknowleding that was perhaps sarcastic. RFK told JFK: "I told you he [Lodge] was going to be trouble." According to Reeves, JFK snapped back at his brother: "You know what's terrific about you? You always remember when you're right."

Reeves, Chapter 53.

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Thanks for the tip on the Alterman book. That quote from Reeves is a great contribution to this discussion. I love that book. As I have asserted previously, it has generally been treated as unthinkable that JFK and Bobby diverged. Even in such an inoccuous book as Manchester's The Death of a President, it opens with a reception at which Bobby is despondent and ready to leave the administration.

As for Diem and Nhu, those Buddhist monk self-immolation "barbecues," according to Madame Nhu's characterization, were having great effect at the time, although by today's suicide terrorist standards it was pretty tame.

Tim Carroll

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As you know, I think one of the biggest mistakes our country made in the

1960s was the removal of Diem. I remember the controversy over Diem in the fall of 1963. National Review, which greatly influenced my political thinking in those years, was strongly outspoken in defense of Diem. In one sense, the issue could be summed up in the old adage: "You don't change horses in mid-stream."

There was a tremenduous amount of manuevering going on in both Washington and Saigon between late August of 1963 and the Diem coup of Nov 1st. JFK was clearly vacillating because his administration was engaged in a bitter internal debate. It was probably because of the internal dispute that JFK listened to the advise of Henry Cabot Lodge, who was "on the ground" in Saigon.

The best summary I recently encountered (since our earlier interchanges) is in Richard Reeves "President Kennedy: Profile in Power.

You have mentioned possible differences of opinion between JFK and RFK. We know RFK opoposed overthrowing Diem. Here is an interesting passage from Reeves' book.

Context: JFK had cabled Lodge that the White House intended to control the action in Saigon. Both Kennedy's thought that Lodge's cable acknowleding that was perhaps sarcastic. RFK told JFK: "I told you he [Lodge] was going to be trouble." According to Reeves, JFK snapped back at his brother: "You know what's terrific about you? You always remember when you're right."

Reeves, Chapter 53.

[/color]

Thanks for the tip on the Alterman book. That quote from Reeves is a great contribution to this discussion. I love that book. As I have asserted previously, it has generally been treated as unthinkable that JFK and Bobby diverged. Even in such an inoccuous book as Manchester's The Death of a President, it opens with a reception at which Bobby is despondent and ready to leave the administration.

As for Diem and Nhu, those Buddhist monk self-immolation "barbecues," according to Madame Nhu's characterization, were having great effect at the time, although by today's suicide terrorist standards it was pretty tame.

Tim Carroll

As I said, I'd love to get your comments on Alterman's treatment of the Cuban missile crisis. I'm sure his other chapters are equally intriguing. One problem with Key West is its small library. The library had to order books from all over the state so we had adequate information to research our stories. Now that the books are back, it is difficult to recheck them. Too bad there's not a Netflix type of business for books!

I think I mentioned this before. I reject the central thesis of the book, but there is a lot of interesting information in "Triangle of Death", and I think all serious students of the assassination should read it.

Madame Nhu was quite a character.

Have you read a book by one of the members of the last South Vietnamese government bitterly complaining that Nixon lied to them to persuade them to accept the peace accords that settled the War in Vietnam? I forget the name of the book but it was an interesting study of Nixon and Kissinger in action.

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Madame Nhu was quite a character.

Have you read a book by one of the members of the last South Vietnamese government bitterly complaining that Nixon lied to them to persuade them to accept the peace accords that settled the War in Vietnam?  I forget the name of the book but it was an interesting study of Nixon and Kissinger in action.

The settlement of the war was not significantly different than what was attainable four years earlier, and without the additional deaths and destruction. Peace with honor was the mantra. But how much honor is there in destruction?

Tim Carroll

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PAINTING CASTRO RED

During the late 1950s the world began to read and hear about a charismatic Cuban revolutionary operating out of the Sierra Maestra mountains. Fidel Castro was an ardent nationalist who had already spent years in one of Batista's prisons for leading an ill-conceived attack on an army installation, the Moncada Barracks, in one of Cuba's eastern provinces. Although sentenced to a fifteen-year term, he had been released after only two years in a general amnesty issued by the Cuban dictator as a sign of his good will and tolerance. Undaunted, Castro had immediately begun planning his next moves. From his mountain hideout, he began to give a series of interviews to American reporters designed to create a romantic and noble image of himself and his band of followers.

Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times was perhaps the best known of these, although among the others was the famous television personality, Ed Sullivan, whose weekly variety show was characterized more by acts such as "dancing bears, ventriloquists, and magicians," rather than serious interviews with political figures.[1] But even this was perhaps appropriate to the circus atmosphere of personal promotion generated by the public relations-savvy Castro. While meeting with Matthews, Castro arranged for his men to make a jungle clearing look like a busy command post by having them wander through in twos and threes, then change into different clothing and walk by again. This carefully orchestrated skit led Matthews to believe that Castro had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of guerrilla followers.

On New Years Day, 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, the United States' foreign policy establishment had a wide range of options available. So why was the choice made to alienate Castro, thereby driving him into the Soviet fold? Much of the answer can be found in the U.S.' policy in support of multinational corporations. This single-minded mentality (the business of America is business) had little tolerance for social reforms that might cut into profits and control. The absolutism of American capitalism was a very real factor, as Mills wrote, "in forcing the Government of Cuba to align itself politically with the Soviet bloc, as against assuming a genuinely neutralist and hence peaceful world orientation."[2] In his first speech as the leader of the new Cuba, Castro revealed an intended independence that would have been disconcerting to those that profited most from a subservient Cuba:

"The Revolution begins now.... It will not be like 1898, when the North Americans came and made themselves masters of our country.... For the first time, the Republic will really be entirely free and the people will have what they deserve.... This war was won by the people!"[3]

The shaping of Castro's image as communistic long before he would be forced to publicly adopt that guise was a form of self-prophesy. But initially, even the CIA's own resident expert on Latin American communism concluded after a three hour interview with Castro, that "Castro is not only not a Communist; he is a strong anti-Communist fighter."[4] The Eisenhower administration was alarmed by Castro's protestations about human rights and democracy at the same time that he was seizing control of the press, rigging elections, shutting down the casinos, and nationalizing industry. However, other than the issue of the casinos and the geographical and recreational immediacy to American interests, these practices had all been seen before in Latin American efforts to achieve social reform. But this was after McCarthyism had taken its toll on Western attitudes, and there was no room for shades of pink in that climate. It was the era of all or nothing in the fight against the Red Menace. Such extreme attitudes were reflected in a briefing given to CIA Director Dulles by Kenneth Crosby, a leading American businessman with interests in Havana. Crosby described Castro as "another Hitler" who had "tremendous influence over the people," comparable to that of Rasputin.[5]

Clearer heads, however, have questioned such a totalistic perspective. Thomas Patterson disputes the notion that Castro was always a Communist and committed to a Marxist view of the world before taking power. He notes that "even the veteran foreign service officer appointed U.S. ambassador to Cuba shortly after Castro's triumph acknowledged that Castro's Soviet alliance solidified only after the United States tried to overthrow the bearded leader."[6] More than simply placing the cart before the horse, U.S. policy created a Soviet beachhead in the Western Hemisphere. This constituted enemy-making of the first order.

"One school of thought argues that Castro's objectives, combined with the dynamics of revolution, propelled Fidel into the Soviet orbit. On the other hand, there is the contention that, by its actions and non-actions, the United States drove Castro to seek out the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, there was consensus that if presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy had responded to Cuba as President Carter later did to Nicaragua, Castro more likely than not would have been stymied in his radical course."[7]

Even if it were true all along that Castro was a Communist, few countries subscribed to the blanket criterion of "anything but communism" (the "ABC" of U.S. cold war foreign policy) in determining regime legitimacy.[8] Only a year after Castro came to power, secret official efforts had begun to depose him when Eisenhower's National Security Council deliberated over ways to bring "another government to power in Cuba." E. Howard Hunt, the man the Washington Post called the "Great Gatsby of the cloak and walkie-talkie set,"[9] had been sent to Cuba to check things out for himself and upon returning submitted an itemized list of suggestions geared toward toppling Castro:

1. Assassinate Castro before or coincident with the invasion (a task for Cuban patriots);

2. Destroy the Cuban radio and television transmitters before or coincident with the invasion;

3. Destroy the island's microwave relay system just before the invasion begins;

4. Discard any thought of a popular uprising against Castro until the issue has already been militarily decided.[10]

Before Hunt was to be appointed what James Reston described as "operational head of the CIA-Cuban Bay of Pigs disaster," he was asked whether he was too conservative to handle the Cuban exiles.[11] He responded that he was "a career officer" and that his "political views, whatever they may be, don't enter into it." In fact, the question would eventually prove to be well placed, given Hunt's right wing attitudes; he would eventually require replacement over this very issue. But his extreme operational recommendations were well-received, initiating what is perhaps the shadiest period in U.S. foreign relations. At the time, however, it was old home week, with the veterans of the Guatemala overthrow reunited. Hunt recalled, "We greeted each other warmly and remarked that the old crowd was rallying to the new cause."[12] "The first discussion of killing Castro" according to Richard Bissell, the number two man at the CIA, occurred when "first on [Hunt's] list was Castro's murder."[13]

A meeting of the National Security Council was held after which, on March 17, President Eisenhower approved a four-point military plan, laid out in a top secret policy paper, "A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime." This program had already received approval from the 5412 Committee, "the most secret operating unit of government." Leaving out any mention of Hunt's internal CIA memo recommending that "thorough consideration be given to the elimination of Fidel Castro," the document called for four steps:

(1) creation of a responsible and unified Cuban government in exile;

(2) a powerful propaganda offensive;

(3) a covert intelligence and action organization in Cuba, to be responsive to the exile opposition; and

(4) a paramilitary force outside of Cuba for future guerrilla action.[14]

Hunt was gratified to be informed that the project's action officer at the White House was to be none other than the Vice President, Richard Nixon. He later noted his disappointment that when the time came that he needed him, Nixon "had been supplanted by a new administration."[15]

Michael Beschloss has observed that all of this plotting and planning was conducted at a time when Castro "had yet to seize American property or establish diplomatic relations with Moscow."[16] Publicly, the official American policy was still friendliness toward the new Cuban government. The planned lodgment of a government-in-exile on a Cuban beachhead was never expected to actually topple Castro; the most hopeful prospect was that by presenting a military threat of unknown proportions, and fabricating rumors and propaganda of multiple landings, dissident Cubans might be encouraged to take up arms while borderline supporters would be frightened into quiescence. The idea was that, once established, the exiles would begin "broadcasting to the world as a government-in-arms. In other words, the best the constructed legitimacy of the exile beachhead government could have offered the Cuban people was civil war, a "bitter gift."[17] Of course, once the U.S. were to recognize the new government as the legitimate one, then requests for military support would have indigenous origins, giving the U.S. all the pretext needed, and avoiding any appearance of imperialism. To add to the construction of legitimacy, Hunt was directed to draft a new Cuban constitution which should include "land reform clauses and the rest of it."[18] While some supposed that the exile force would be able to advance toward Havana, Bissell knew better: the isolation of the landing site intended to keep Castro out would just as readily keep the exiles in.

Shortly after conducting a good will tour of America, Castro introduced an agrarian reform law to his Cabinet. The measure would authorize the Cuban government to take back much of the island's land from its owners, many of them being American-based companies. Immediately, the American press began to portray Castro as a Communist. This change was not merely a reflection of ideological sentiment. There was a very real monetary incentive behind the opposition to the agrarian reform. Chief among the companies who vehemently opposed the expropriation of land was the conglomerate, some would say oligarchy, United Fruit, a company that had already been instrumental in the overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954.

The Boston-based United Fruit Company had unique connections within the U.S. government. Both John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State, and his brother Allen Dulles, the Director of the CIA, had been partners in the law firm that represented this company. John M. Cabot, Eisenhower's Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, was the company's major stockholder. Sinclair Weeks, the Secretary of Commerce, had been director of United Fruit's registrar bank.[19] Although some of these officials had divested themselves of their interests in the company, the Washington-United Fruit network was a significant one. These were the days "when the United Fruit Company's reputation for being able to call in the Marines or the CIA to its Central American banana fiefdom was a principal company asset."[20]

Along with United Fruit, a major stakeholder in the control of Cuba was the American Mafia. When Castro ordered the Cuban casinos closed down he made himself a significant enemy of the Mafia. That U.S. foreign policy would be concerned with the interests of United Fruit is not as surprising as that the government would readily climb in bed with the Mafia. In September of 1960, a high-ranking CIA official met with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, his West Coast associate Johnny Roselli, and Santos Trafficante, the Florida and Havana underworld chief who had been put in jail by Castro after the takeover of the casinos. The purpose of the meeting was the planning for the murder of the Cuban leader. The Deputy Director for Plans of the CIA, Richard Bissell, thought that hiring gangsters to kill Castro was the "ultimate cover," because "there was very little chance that anything the Syndicate would try to do would be traced back" to the U.S. government.[21] It seems reasonable, however, that this was not merely operationally expedient; it was also a reflection of a mutuality of interests between the American intelligence community and the underworld. Nor was it the first time this partnership had been activated. The alliance had begun during World War II after a series of sabotage incidents on the East Coast culminated in the burning of an oceanliner, the Normandie.

"With Operation Underworld, Roosevelt made the Mafiosi all but official masters of the U.S. East Coast docks and gave implicit protection to their activities everywhere. With his instructions to Patton in 1943, he restored the Mafia to power in Sicily. When he sent Lansky to Batista in 1944, he paved the way for the spread of Syndicate influence throughout the Caribbean and Central America."[22]

The same month that the CIA and Mafia resumed their unholy partnership, this time planning for the assassination of a sovereign head of state, Castro publicly labeled the U.S. activities against his country as subversive and warlike. In a speech before the United Nations in September of 1960, he railed against the international criminality being practiced by the U.S.:

"The government of the United States considers it has the right to promote and encourage subversion in our country. The government of the United States is promoting the organization of subversive movements against the revolutionary government of Cuba.... Does this mean, by chance, that the Cuban government has the right to promote subversion in the United States?"[23]

Castro seems to have been beset by the strange notion that what goes around comes around, turn about is fair play, and some kind of equitable treatment between nations is to be expected. His statements consistently reflect a resistance to the kind of one-sidedness presumed by the United States. Given that legitimacy in international relations involves certain standards and codes of conduct, Castro's expectations may have been legitimate, but misplaced. It was Castro's rejection of the U.S. military double standard in the hemisphere, which assumes Latin America weakness and North American strength, that encouraged him to form an army which could later beat off the Bay of Pigs invasion.

That same summer, Soviet Premier Khrushchev announced that "the Monroe Doctrine has outlived its time, has outlived itself, has died, so to say, a natural death." Reflecting Nietzsche's views on the state of stale, obsolete constructions, the Russian continued, "Now the remains of this doctrine should best be buried as every dead body is so that it should not poison the air by its decay." Noting that the doctrine may have been reasonable in its day, he noted that now it belonged to,

"... the imperialists of the United States of America, the colonialists, who, like vultures, snatch the last crumb out of the mouths of the dying children and old folk just to wax fat and rich. And it is through the Monroe Doctrine that they want to assure themselves the right to go on with this robbery forever."[24]

The representation that Castro posed a Communist threat to the U.S. was demonstrably in place long before any supporting facts were to emerge. The New York Times' reporter, Herbert L. Matthews, had come under attack for his sympathetic coverage long before Castro announced that he was a Communist that "almost brought on a nuclear war." The newspaper reported public demonstrations "protesting editorials on Cuba and editorial writings of Herbert L. Matthews in The Times, as well as information in the news columns that the protesters interpreted as favorable to Fidel Castro, and therefore to communism."[25]

During the 1960 presidential election season, the candidates found that voters considered Cuba and Castro to be the most important foreign policy issue. A big fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond spy thrillers, Kennedy asked the novelist at a dinner party what should be done about Castro. Fleming responded that since Latinos cared primarily about money, religion and sex, the best way to handle the Cuban would be to humiliate him. This suggestion would later be operationalized during the Kennedy administration.

Never one to turn away from political advantage, Kennedy accused the Republicans of permitting "a Communist menace" to emerge "only eight jet minutes from Florida." He continued, "We must make clear our intention not to let the Soviet Union turn Cuba into its base in the Caribbean-and our intention to enforce the Monroe Doctrine." He called for more propaganda and sanctions to "quarantine" the Cuban revolution, along with more support for Cubans who opposed the Castro regime. The twisted result was that those Americans who did not support a belligerent stance toward Cuba voted for Nixon, who was desperately pushing the CIA to take action before Election Day. Those who preferred a tougher stance against Castro voted for Kennedy, who was far more ambivalent about overthrowing Castro by force.

With the transition from Eisenhower to Kennedy, there was a corresponding shift from the former's "hidden hand" approach to the latter's heroic model of leadership, so long exploited in his literary efforts. David Halberstam has written that in Kennedy's time "style became as important as substance, and on occasion more important."[26] That Kennedy recognized the public relations aspect of politics is not surprising. In this, he was only ahead of his time in the implementation of Madison Avenue methodologies. The process of constructing legitimacy involves similar marketing and packaging. Advancing previous models that relied upon historical personages as authorizing figures, Kennedy sought to promote himself as an embodiment of the heroic model. Just as it is not considered unusual that the images of great sports figures are found on boxes of cereal, political leaders package policies in the trappings of personal appeal and lofty rhetoric. Although this approach eventually gave Kennedy a hallowed place in history, his politics of personality would add a volatile element into the mix of U.S.-Cuban relations, pitting him directly against Castro's charismatic leadership.

Notes

1. William B. Breuer, Vendetta: Castro and the Kennedy Brothers, (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997), 26.

2. C. Wright Mills, Listen Yankee, (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1960), 186.

3. David J. Finlay, Ole R. Holsti and Richard R. Fagen, Enemies In Politics, (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1967),95.

4. Georgie Anne Geyer, Guerrilla Prince - Fidel Castro, (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1991), 240.

5. Seymour M. Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot, (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1997), 162.

6. Susan Eckstein, "Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution" Political Science Quarterly, (Summer 1995 v110 n2), 335(2).

7. Donald E. Rice, The Rhetorical Uses of the Authorizing Figure. (New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc., 1992), 112.

8. Alexander M. George and William E. Simons, eds. The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, Inc, 1994), 178.

9. E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day, (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), Frontispiece.

10. Ibid., 38.

11. Ibid., Frontispiece.

12. Ibid., 24-26.

13. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept The Secrets: Richard Helms & The CIA, (New York: Alfed Knopf, 1979), 147.

14. Peter Wyden, The Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979), 25.

15. E. Howard Hunt, 40.

16. Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963, (New York, HarperCollings Publishers, 1991), 102.

17. Powers, 117.

18. E. Howard Hunt, 82-83.

19. Robert Smith Thompson, The Missiles of October, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 57-58.

20. Richard J. Barnet and Ronald E. Müller, Global Reach, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974), 57.

21. Wyden, 41.

22. Carl Oglesby, The Yankee and Cowboy War, (Kansas: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, Inc., 1976), 34.

23. Donald E. Rice, The Rhetorical Uses of the Authorizing Figure: Fidel Castro and Jose Marti, (New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc., 1992), 115.

24. Robert F. Smith, The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy, 1917-1960, 1960), 100.

25. William E. Ratliff, The Selling of Fidel Castro, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Inc., 1987), 4.

26. David Halberstam, The Powers That Be, (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1979), 545.

Right on history, that I lived in and remember. Thanks.

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Check my memory, I think the Vienna summit was in 1961.  (If you agree the summit was in 1961, edit your post and I will edit this one to delete the reference.)

Tim Gratz:

You were absolutely right to correct my basic, but substantive, typo, citing the Venna Summit as 1963 rather than 1961, as it should have been written. I made the correction within a few short hours, but don't see that you followed-up on your commitment to "edit this one to delete the reference," days later. It was an embarrassing and stupid mistake, as I immediately acknowledged.

Clearly I know my history well enough to remember June, 1963 as the month JFK made his last trip to Europe, where the crowds in each country went virtually berserk with idolotry for the leader of the free world, most interestingly in Berlin. As with the contrast in a few short years between the receptions received by JFK and V.P. Nixon in Venezuela, Kennedy was far more popular globally than he was in his own country, where the civil rights struggle and the residue of McCarthyistic anticommunism had his popularity ratings very low.

As for the topic of this seminar, Painting Castro Red, I will repost the following:

At the Summit in Vienna in June, 1961, "Khrushchev warned that while Castro was no Communist, 'you are well on the way to making him a good one.' The President had claimed that the United States attacked Cuba because the island threatened American security: 'Can six million people really be a threat to the mighty U.S.?' If the United States felt threatened by tiny Cuba, what was the Soviet Union to do about Turkey and Iran? 'These two countries are followers of the United States. They march in its wake, and they have U.S. bases and rockets.... If the U.S. believes that it is free to act, then what should the U.S.S.R. do?'"*

*Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991), 200-201.

Tim Carroll

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Mr. Weyl's seminar demonstrates that Fidel was a student of communism since his college days.  Mr. Weyl is a wise man who knows wherof he speaks.  As you know, Mr. Weyl was once a Communist himself. 

As I noted in Mr. Weyl's book post: "You were a communist in college 72 years ago [1932]? And then took a sharp turn to the right? I'd like to hear more about that."

Tim Carroll

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Mr. Weyl's seminar demonstrates that Fidel was a student of communism since his college days.  Mr. Weyl is a wise man who knows wherof he speaks.  As you know, Mr. Weyl was once a Communist himself. 

As I noted in Mr. Weyl's book post: "You were a communist in college 72 years ago [1932]? And then took a sharp turn to the right? I'd like to hear more about that."

Tim Carroll

Tim, as I posted in the Book Forum, many of the most dedicated anti-Communists were former Communists. As I understand it, though, Mr. Weyl was not a "far rightist"; for instance, he rejected any association with the Joihn Birch Society. I think we would both like to hear more from him personally about his political history.

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Mr. Weyl's seminar demonstrates that Fidel was a student of communism since his college days.  Mr. Weyl is a wise man who knows wherof he speaks.  As you know, Mr. Weyl was once a Communist himself. 

As I noted in Mr. Weyl's book post: "You were a communist in college 72 years ago [1932]? And then took a sharp turn to the right? I'd like to hear more about that."

Tim Carroll

Tim, as I posted in the Book Forum, many of the most dedicated anti-Communists were former Communists. As I understand it, though, Mr. Weyl was not a "far rightist"; for instance, he rejected any association with the Joihn Birch Society. I think we would both like to hear more from him personally about his political history.

I'm not sure I agree with the original point that being a former communist evidences that regarding Castro, Mr. Weyl "knows wherof he speaks." Khrushchev was still claiming Castro not to be communist as late as June, 1961. Mr. Weyl's avatar photo certainly doesn't look like he's 90 years old.

Tim Carroll

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