After the missile crisis of October 1962, President Kennedy started rethinking his Cuba policy. On April 24, 1963, ABC news reporter Lisa Howard interviewed Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro as JFK considered the “sweet approach” to making peace with Cuba.
Tag Archive for Cuba
The Warren Commission didn’t get scared if Fidel Castro because of Lyndon B. Johnson’s chilling warning to Chief Justice Earl Warren about rumors that “if not quenched, could conceivably lead the country into a war which could cost 40 million lives.” Read more
At the Warren Commission conference in Washington this morning, Cuba scholar Peter Kornbluh gave a fascinating talk on how Kennedy pursued the idea of normalizing relations with Fidel Castro in 1963. In the bureaucracy this was known as “the sweet approach,” Kornbluh says. The idea was to lure Castro out of his alliance with the Soviet Union instead of overthrowing him.
“Kennedy had a change of heart after the missile crisis,” Kornbluh says. and he makes the case in his new book Back Channel to Cuba Kennedy pursued the idea right up through the last 72 hours of his life, Kornbluh says.
Cuba celebrates the 60th anniversary of the beginning of its revolution on July 26, 1953. Later this year America will commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963,
The events are ancient but linked. The connection between Cuba’s revolution and the death of the 35th American president remains a live issue in the political culture of both countries.
The assassination of JFK is one reason why this conflict between the United States and Cuba endures to this day.
On January 17, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote to J. Lee Rankin, the general counsel of the Warren Commission, on the evidence compiled as Commission Document 295: four letters postmarked in Havana that suggested or alleged that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a contract killing undertaken by Lee Harvey Oswald under the direction of an agent for Fidel Castro named Pedro Charles.
Hoover concluded it was “some type of hoax, possibly on the part of some anti-Castro group,” since the FBI Crime Lab found that the same Remington No. 10 typewriter had been used to prepare all four letters:
A faithful reader offers a correction to a comment by former Warren Commission staffer Howard Willens in his recent interview with JFK Facts. Willens mentioned the oft-heard story that Lee Oswald threatened to kill President Kennedy while visiting the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City in Septembert 1963 two months before the assassination of President Kennedy.
Willens’ mistake, this reader writes, “is worth correcting for the record.”
Diplomatic historian David Kaiser, the author of a new and well-reviewed book about World War II, took time out from flogging it to respond to John Simkin’s post on JFK’s Cuba policy, CIA looped in on Castro peace feelers.
Kaiser, author of The Road to Dallas, says the argument that JFK was a dove on Cuba is overdrawn. He dismisses the idea that Kennedy’s evolving Cuba policy fatally alienated the CIA.
One of the very best JFK document researchers recently called attention to two important JFK documents from 1963. They both concern President Kennedy’s exploration of normalizing relations with Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba.
Are the memos relevant to story of JFK’s assassination ? You be the judge.
“If the CIA did find out what we were doing [talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba], this would have trickled down to the lower echelon of activists, and Cuban exiles, and the more gung-ho CIA people who had been involved since the Bay of Pigs…. Read more
At the time of his death President Kennedy was thinking about it — and thinking hard. You can even hear JFK talking about it: just click here.
In 2003, Peter Kornbluh, an analyst at the non-profit National Security Archive in Washington, obtained a White House tape recording about JFK’s Cuba policy, made on November 5, 1963.
“William King Harvey is worthy of our attention,” writes Alan Dale. In 1962, Harvey served as chief of Task Force W, the CIA’s anti-Castro operation, and then lost his job after an argument with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. When Congress investigated JFK’s assassination in the 1970s, the CIA pulled a 123-page file on Harvey’s operational activities.
All of that file remains secret, according to the National Archives online database.
Dale writes of Harvey:
During “Sunshine Week” please come to this screening in downtown Washington DC of the documentary “JFK: A President Betrayed,” (which the New York Times called “well-researched”).
There will also be a discussion of “Constitutional Activism” as a means of expediting release, during 2014, of all JFK assassination-related records still withheld from the public.
[Editor's note: Thanks to Ramon in Houston for this translation of Antonio Veciana's comments to the Diario de Las Americas newspaper about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This translation replaces the Google machine translation that I published last week.]
By Iliana Lavastida/DLA
“The death of John F. Kennedy was a coup, an internal conspiracy, says Antonio Veciana with absolute conviction and willingness to reveal what he considers a historical truth.
In 2014, most Americanns are barred by law from visiting Cuba, the island nation closest to America. When it comes to Cuba, Amrica’s vaunted ideals of “free trade” are frankly repudiated by the government in Washington which justifies violation Americans’ freedom to travel in the name of supporting democracy and human rights.
A half century ago, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy came to believe that the ban on travel to Cuba was “inconsistent with “our views of a free society,” as these historic documents collected by the non-profit National Security Archive reveal..
The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg spent some time with the Cuban leader a few years back and asked him exactly that question.
Unlike some JFK conspiracy theorists who portray Castro as a demonic puppet master who somehow manipulated Oswald, Goldberg conveys a sense of the man who bedeviled Washington with his defiance of U.S. domination but who also sensed JFK was open to the mutual respect that still eludes the two countries after fifty years.