Excellent piece at 28 Sherman reminding us who lost Cuba:
Batista aligned with the wealthy economic interests, sugar, tourism, the American Mafia, and Cuba was a pretty swank island in the Caribbean.
But the USG system did not want a dictatorship just 90 miles from American shores. The student riots, the intellectual rebels, and the peasant rebels were too romantic for the left and the USG system to ignore. Batista was “repressive”, killing or torturing anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 people. A dictator such as him could not be supported by Americans with a good conscience. Batista though was a great ally for America. In the words of Ambassador Arthur Gardner, “I don’t think we ever had a better friend”. Gardner admitted Batista was getting a cut of the money pouring into Cuba, but Batista “was doing an amazing job”. In March of 1958 Washington ended the sale of rifles and ended military aid to Batista, signing the order was General Eisenhower himself.
Setting up Batista for failure was a poor choice, but maybe not nearly as bad as the Eisenhower administration’s handling of the January ’59 overthrow. Batista had seen enough signs from the USG that he would not get support in a protracted struggle, and Castro’s band of murderous merry revolutionaries took over Havana on New Years 1959. This was a confusing and dangerous time. Very quickly on January 7th, the Eisenhower administration recognized this group of rebels as the legal government of Cuba. Castro’s revolution had very odd fighting with limited casualties on both sides that would not fill up an NBA arena. The USG jumped rather quickly to deem one side legitimate and the other side a useless relic, undeserving of any input.
Note the wretchedness resulting from America’s dilettante utopianism. Eisenhower paves the way for Castro in 1958, recognizes his government in 1959 — and a year later is embargoing the country, two years later his successor sponsors an invasion, three years later the island is the focal point of the closest the world has gotten to nuclear war. Overthrowing a stable and successful government didn’t work out? Oh well, what can you do, nothing to see here, let’s move along.
It would be interesting to tour the museums of a darkly enlightened society. I can imagine the exhibition for the late republic of America’s thirty-fourth chief executive: “Dwight D Eisenhower, America’s second communist president.”