Engagement with Castro Has Clearly Failed -- Time to Try an Embargo
By Humberto Fontova
"Gosh, maybe if we were only nice to Castro," goes the liberal mantra on
In fact, the U.S. elite's fetish for "engagement" with Fidel Castro
began before he was even in "office."
"Me and my staff were all Fidelistas." (Robert Reynolds, the CIA's
"Caribbean Desk's specialist on the Cuban Revolution" from 1957-1960.)
"Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except
[Republican] ambassador Earl Smith." (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba,
Their advice was taken, and January 7, 1959, thus marks a milestone in
U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had the State Department extended
diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as quickly as they
bestowed this benediction on Fidel Castro's that day.
Nothing so frantically fast had been bestowed upon "U.S.-backed"
Fulgencio Batista (note the obligatory prefix, used in every MSM and
"scholarly" mention of him) seven years earlier. Batista had in fact
been punished by a U.S. arms embargo and heavy diplomatic pressure to
resign for a year. Batista was subsequently denied exile in the U.S. and
not even allowed to set foot in the country that "backed" him.
In fact, during Castro's first sixteen months in power, the U.S. State
Dept. made over ten back-channel diplomatic attempts to ascertain the
cause of Castro's tantrums and further "engage" him. Argentine President
Arturo Frondizi was the conduit for many of these and recounts their
utter futility in his memoirs.
Result: In July 1960, Castro's KGB-trained security forces stormed into
5,911 U.S.-owned businesses in Cuba and stole them all at Soviet
gunpoint -- $2 billion was heisted from outraged U.S. businessmen and
stockholders. Not that all Americans surrendered their legal and
hard-earned property peacefully. Among some who resisted where Bobby
Fuller, whose family farm would contribute to a Soviet-style Kolkhoze,
and Howard Anderson, whose profitable Jeep dealership was coveted by
Castro's henchmen. Both U.S. citizens were murdered by Castro and Che's
In July 1961, JFK's special counsel Richard Goodwin met with Che Guevara
in Uruguay and reported back to Kennedy: "Che says that Cuba wants an
understanding with the U.S.; the Cubans have no intention of making an
alliance with the Soviets. So we should make it clear to Castro that we
want to help Cuba." (How Che managed a straight face during this
conversation requires an article of its own.)
Result: Soviet Nuclear missiles, locked and loaded, in Cuba a year later
-- and pointed at Goodwin's and Kennedy's very homes.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford (under Kissinger's influence) allowed
foreign branches and subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade freely with
Cuba and persuaded the Organization of American States to lift its
Result: Castro started his African invasion and tried to assassinate
Ford. You read right. On March 19, the Los Angeles Times ran the
headline "Cuban Link to Death Plot Probed." Both Republican candidates
of the day, President Ford and Ronald Reagan, were to be taken out
during the Republican National Convention. The Emiliano Zapata Unit, a
Bay Area radical group linked to the Weather Underground, would make the
Jimmy Carter, in a good-will gesture, lifted U.S. travel sanctions
against Cuba and was poised to open full diplomatic relations with Castro.
Result: More thousands of Cuban troops spreading Soviet terror (and
poison gas) in Africa, more internal repression, and hundreds of
psychopaths, killers, and perverts infiltrated the boats and shoved
their way on the Mariel Boatlift.
Ronald Reagan sent Alexander Haig to meet personally in Mexico City with
Cuba's "Vice President" Carlos Raphael Rodriguez to feel him out. Then
he sent diplomatic whiz Gen. Vernon Walters to Havana for a meeting with
the Maximum Leader himself.
Result: Cubans practically take over Grenada, El Salvador, and
Nicaragua. (But unlike the aforementioned Democrats, Reagan responded to
Castro's response -- and with pretty dramatic results.)
President Clinton tried playing nice again in the '90s.
Result: Three U.S. citizens and one resident who flew humanitarian
flights over Florida straits (Brothers to the Rescue) murdered in cold
blood by Castro MIGS. Castro agent Ana Belen Montes moles her way to
head of the Defense Intelligence Agency's Cuba division, resulting in
the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department
by an enemy agent in modern history.
Now it looks like we're back to square one.
Juuuuuuuust maybe and embargo would work?
But come-on, Humberto!" you say. "Don't we have an embargo against Cuba?"
Not according to Websters dictionary, which defines "embargo" as "a
government order imposing a trade barrier." As a verb, it's defined as
"to prevent commerce."
But according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S.
transacted $710 million worth of business with Cuba in 2008, and has
transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Cuba in the last
decade. Currently the U.S. is Cuba's biggest food supplier and
5th-biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Cuba's
biggest donor of humanitarian aid, including medicine and medical
supplies, for decades. All this together with the almost $2 billion a
year in remittances sent from the U.S. ranks our nation right between
Red China (who did $1.5 billion with Castro last year) and Hugo's
Venezuela as a Castro business partner.
Humberto Fontova is the author of four books, including Fidel:
Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant and Exposing the Real Che Guevara.