“The president had asked his speechwriter, Theodore Sorensen, for language that would open a door to the Cuban leader, although, as Sorensen later observed, the audience was a very tough anti-Castro group.’”
Tag Archive for Cuba
“Todos somos Americanos.” We are all Americans.
With those words, President Obama made an epic and overdue announcement today: the United States and Cuba will normalize relations that were broken off in January 1961 as President John F. Kennedy took office. “These 50 years have showed that isolation has not worked,” the president said.
Not only will the United States open an embassy in Havana, it will release three Cubans imprisoned for decades on trumped-up spying charges. The Cubans will release U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, held for five years on trumped-up charges, and a previously unknown U.S. intelligence agent imprisoned for many years in Cuba.
“Everything is changed. Everything is going to change. The United States occupies such a position in world affairs that the death of a President of that country affects millions of people in every corner of the globe. The cold war, relations with Russia, Latin America, Cuba, the Negro question… all will have to be rethought. I’ll tell you one thing: at least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, an extremely serious matter.”
“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 a conference on the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report in Washington in September, Cuba scholar Peter Kornbluh gave a fascinating talk on how President Kennedy pursued the idea of normalizing relations with Cuba 1963. In the bureaucracy this was known as “the sweet approach,” Kornbluh says. The idea was to lure Fidel 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 sweet approach” right up through the last 72 hours of his life, Kornbluh says.
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.
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
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.
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.