Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, by Piero Gleijeses

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Additional info for Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976

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As my research progressed, the Cubans established a declassification procedure: any document they expected would be declassified they allowed me to read in its entirety, whether in Risquet’s office or in the archives themselves. Then the waiting would begin. It could take less than an hour or more than a year for them to give me the photocopies. ∞∫ I have also interviewed eighty-four Cubans who were involved in Africa. I spoke to many of them on several occasions and in relaxed settings. While interviews without documents would be of little use, interviews with documents can be extremely helpful.

Castro’s guerrilla offensive, 1961 – 1964 While Kennedy was promoting subversion in Cuba, Castro was promoting revolution in Latin America. Self-defense and idealism motivated the Cubans. S. intelligence official remarked, ‘‘was probably . . related to his quest for internal consolidation—had another country gone the way of Cuba, Castro’s situation might have been easier—and perhaps to his fear that the US might move against him. ’’∂∞ castro’s cuba, 1959 – 1964 21 Revolution in Latin America, however, was not only in Cuba’s interest.

S. officials noted in April 1959. ‘‘He is inspired by a messianic sense of mission to aid his people,’’ a National Intelligence Estimate reported two months later. Even though he did not have a clear blueprint of the Cuba he wanted to create, Castro dreamed of a sweeping revolution that would uproot his country’s oppressive socioeconomic structure. ≤ the burden of the past It was President Thomas Jefferson who first cast his gaze toward Cuba, strategically situated and rich in sugar and slaves. In 1809 he counseled his successor, James Madison, to propose a deal to Napoleon, who had occupied Spain: the United States would give France a free hand in Spanish America, if France would give Cuba to the United States.

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