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Picture Quiz: Caballeria

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Below is a photograph by Raul Corrales called Cabelleria. The question is: "What is the connection between the photograph and the JFK assassination?"

Here are some clues:

Raul Corrales was a close friend of Fidel Castro.

The photograph is a work of communist propaganda.

The original caption (that provided the connection with the JFK assassination) was not accurate.

The photograph was originally dated 1959. In fact, it was taken in 1960.


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Caballería translated means 'cavalry'.

I don't know what the connection to the JFK assassination is but I was under the impression that this image was staged and represented guerrilla horsemen entering the plantation owned by United Fruit.

The photograph shows a reenactment of an 1895 battle in the Cuban war of independence. It was commissioned by Castro to show the links between the revolution and imperialism.

The caption claimed that the revolutionaries were taking over a plantation owned by the US-owned United Fruit Company in 1959. In fact, it was taken several months after Castro gained power and had nothing to do with the revolution.

Although meant as a work of propaganda, the photograph illustrates a basic truth about the revolution. It posed a serious threat to the interests of American capitalists who had invested in the region. Their main concern was that events in Cuba would spread to other Third World countries where huge profits were being obtained.

It therefore became important to companies like United Fruit to get rid of Castro very quickly. To obtain this objective they were willing to fund agents from Operation 40 to kill Castro. As David Phillips points out in his autobiography, this was a pointless activity as the Castro regime was firmly established by 1961 and only an invasion by the American military would have the required outcome. After the Bay of Pigs it became clear that this would not happen. Therefore, a much more sensible option would be to kill Kennedy rather than Castro. It was a natural reaction to employ the same people who had been trying to kill Castro, to kill Kennedy (Operation 40).

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