Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Leaflets in which the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, with suitcases and gold in his hands, escaped from Cuba in a sinking ship, were prepared and printed in 1962 by specialists in psychological warfare of the United States Army. Although they were not used in the end, because other experts considered them counterproductive at the time, they were part of the arsenal of propaganda resources planned to support the military invasion that the government of the North American nation included in the response options during the so-called Missile Crisis.
A few hours after the recent riots, which were undoubtedly orchestrated from abroad, a Twitter “user” posted that Raul Castro had fled to Venezuela, and the note went “viral”. It did not matter that the photo of the tweet was taken in 2015, when the then-Cuban President arrived in San José, Costa Rica, to attend a Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
Its purpose was to contribute to fix the opinion matrix around a chaos originated by a “legitimate national uprising” against the Cuban government, due to the mismanagement of the pandemic and the lack of medicines, food and electricity.
If the media attack under which Cuba is living these days is unprecedented in its scope, due to the technological potential of the adversaries and their growing concerted actions from various geographical points, it is not strange either, because the country has always been in the trenches of a psychological war.
The example of the drawings that had Fidel as a target of disinformation appears in the book De la octavilla a la sicotecnología, by Emiliano Lima Mesa and Mercedes Cardoso, scholars of the psychological warfare procedures used by the United States in the preparation and development of armed conflicts.
Both researchers say that Cuba has suffered the largest and most prolonged psychological warfare ever carried out by the United States against any country. “It has involved both psychological and propaganda actions and has manifested itself in the economic blockade, support for mercenary gangs, biological warfare, military aggressions, sabotage and assassination attempts on the main leaders, to cite just a few examples,” they write.
In making specifics on the propagandistic level, they state that it has manifested itself in newspapers, books, posters, flyers, rumors and radio and television broadcasts to spread lies and slander against the Revolution.
The referenced book is indispensable to learn the details of the persistent and sinister behavior of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, whose purpose is subverting the social order in our country. Perhaps, in a new edition, in the chapter Against Cuba, the media misdeeds of the social networks in the Internet era should be included. The work was published in 2003 and, since then, the adversarial struggle against the Cuban Revolution has had the Internet as one of its main scenarios.
It is fair to recall that, in this same newspaper, colleague Raúl Antonio Capote wrote that as of 2007, the CIA considered it a matter of prime importance to guarantee access to the Internet in Cuba. The nefarious agency’s idea was to use the illegal networks created on the island at that time, for which they evaluated the possibility of connecting them to digital television, which would be the possible means of access to the network of networks.
The promoters of the program, Capote pointed out, ordered to put in Cuban territory ten BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) equipments. “One was given to a CIA agent in Havana to send daily, in a secure way, information on the capacity of MININT and Mincom to detect illegal satellite TV connection antennas. They also required information on movements of FAR troops in certain regions of the country, and characterization of leaders and cadres of the Revolution”.
In the route that led to the riots of last July 11, there are many other traces of U.S. intelligence agencies and entities created by them to act against Cuba. Thus, among the most recent are the events of San Isidro and the concentration of young people in front of the Ministry of Culture headquarters in Havana.
Both cases were portrayed as an internal issue, due, among other things, to new currents of thought and dissatisfaction of young intellectuals and artists unable to give free rein to their creative spirit. But when analyzing the causes, if the nonconformity to certain regulations and the superficiality with which some officials act is real, it is impossible to ignore that in the period 2008-2012 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored the non-governmental organization (NGO) Creative Associates, which set out to recruit young people belonging to what is identified as Cuban counterculture.
In January 2012, in one of the reports justifying the expenditures, the NGO cited several achievements of its work, including a network of more than 30 independent leaders in all Cuban provinces and the solid establishment of youth and countercultural groups.
Faced with the failure of the immediate objectives they intended with the recent unrest, USAID has responded with a call for more subversion projects in Cuba. The new sum amounts to $2 million dollars, and is being offered for democracy promotion activities. After all, for identical purposes, the agency, along with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was a channeling mechanism for much of the $250 million that in the last two decades the U.S. government devoted to undermining socialism in Cuba.
By the way, Samantha Power, the new director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is a character to keep an eye on. A former U.S. ambassador in the Obama administration and an expert in diplomacy and climate change issues, she has also stood out for promoting her country’s active intervention in other nations for supposedly humanitarian reasons.
That position is confirmed in an article published by The New York Times, on April 15 of this year, when Lara Jakes exposed details of Samantha Power’s confirmation hearing in the Senate. On that occasion, writes the author, Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, asked the official, “Are you willing to admit that the interventions in Libya and Syria that you advocated were a mistake?”
“Power did not,” the journalist said, transcribing her words: “When these situations arise, it’s almost a question of lesser evils; the options are very difficult”.
Could the requests for humanitarian intervention for Cuba made by the same promoters of the vandalism riots be the result of coincidence; the same ones who, in desperation, want to make people believe that chaos reigns in the country?
By Sylvia Weinstein (January 1993)
Photo by Walter Lippmann.
The Dec. 5, 1992, issue of the People’s Weekly World has a review by Tony Monteiro of the film “Malcolm X.” The review is unusual because it actually has some “nice” things to say about Malcolm X. Monteiro dropped the Stalinist newspaper’s former nonsense that Malcolm was a “racist-in-reverse.”
That’s what the Communist Party used to call him. That’s what the Stalinists called all Black nationalists, including members of the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam because he was opposed to racism and white U.S. imperialism. He left the Nation because he was moving toward socialist ideas and because he wanted to get involved in the massive movements of Blacks who were fighting for their civil rights. Malcolm X wanted to bring that fight to the North.
If anyone wants to know what the world Stalinist movement thought about Malcolm X when he was alive, and even six years after his assassination, all you have to do is read long-time Communist Party leader and prominent historian Herbert Apthecker’s book, “Afro-American History—The Modern Era.”
It was written in 1971 and covers all of the major modern Black leaders up to Martin Luther King and Huey P. Newton. Out of 324 pages, there is not one word, not one whisper of Malcolm X.
Fidel’s visit to Harlem
The most amazing part of the article is that it gives Malcolm X credit for having gotten a room in Harlem’s Hotel Theresa for Fidel Castro in 1961. Although this story is intended to be complimentary to Malcolm, it is not based on fact.
I was there at the time and played an active part in the efforts of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York City to establish deeper links between revolutionary Cuba and American Blacks.
In October 1961, Fidel Castro and the Cuban delegation had come to New York to address the United Nations. They first took up residence at a mid-Manhattan hotel that catered to delegations from poor countries.
But as soon as it became clear to the powers-that-be that the Cubans were not about to cave in to imperialist demands that they change their revolutionary ways, the news media began a campaign to slander the Cubans. The press issued a flood of stories about $100-dollar call girls visiting the Cuban hotel headquarters. They even featured stories that had the Cubans plucking chickens and cooking them in their hotel rooms.
Finally, Castro called for a halt. He threatened to go to sleep in Central Park rather than stay in such a hotel. He said that he had had plenty of experience sleeping in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, and sleeping in the park would be more natural. Of course, this also made the headlines.
Fair Play for Cuba
We were then members of the Socialist Workers Party who had helped form the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. One of the committee’s national leaders was my friend Berta [Greene. Later Langston]. She proposed to the Cuban delegation to the United Nations that they move from the fancy white hotel they were being abused into a Black one in the heart of Harlem.
Berta told them that such a gesture of solidarity with African Americans would be greatly appreciated in Black America.
Berta contacted the Hotel Theresa and made arrangements to reserve a whole floor for the Cuban delegation. The Cubans accepted the arrangement immediately. The CIA and State Department went crazy! Suddenly Castro was being flooded with offers from many other hotels. There were even offers of free space—but Fidel said “no thanks.” He and the whole delegation then moved into the Theresa.
The Theresa was an historic hotel in the heart of Harlem. It was the first time that any United Nations delegation had ever stayed in Harlem. Fidel Castro—along with Juan Alameida, the head of the Cuban Armed Forces—would walk along the streets of Harlem, shaking hands, drinking orange juice at a hot-dog chain called “Nedicks,” and talking to the people in the streets of Harlem.
The press was silent about this news event. But they did print a photo of the Soviet Union’s limousine, which was about a block long, driving up to the Theresa. It was probably the Soviet delegates’ first time on 125th Street!
At the reception
It was the Fair Play for Cuba Committee that gave the reception for the Cubans at the Theresa on Oct. 2, 1961, not Malcolm X. My friend Berta arranged that, too.
That night, thousands of people lined the streets around the Hotel Theresa hoping to get a look at Fidel. We were on the 7th floor, and every time anyone went near the window, thousands of people on the ground would cheer.
We refused to allow any cops or reporters onto the floor. We had guards at every elevator and exit. At about nine o’clock I was told to go wait outside the Hotel for the caterer’s delivery truck. They were bringing refreshments and food. I was also told not to speak to any of the press.
As I went outside, the photo bulbs began to flash, and reporters started asking me what was going on upstairs. I just kept saying, “No comprendo.”
The next day, there it was in the headlines: “One hundred-dollar call girl at Castro reception says she ‘no comprende.’” I was astounded to be called a one-hundred-dollar call girl. I did not deserve it.
So the story in the People’s Weekly World that it was Malcolm X who arranged for the Cubans to go to the Hotel Theresa and who gave a reception for Fidel Castro and Che Guevara was untrue. I have no idea where it came from. In fact, neither Malcolm X nor Che Guevara attended the reception.
However, it was true that Malcolm X took the initiative to return the Cubans’ solidarity gesture. It was widely reported in the news media that Malcolm went to the Hotel Theresa and met with Fidel Castro. I do not know what went on, but Malcolm X was then a leader of the Nation of Islam, and it is highly unlikely that he was swayed towards socialism at that time.
However, the fact that Malcolm X did visit Fidel Castro at the Theresa had an enormous effect on the Black community of Harlem.
At any rate, Malcolm X does not need the Communist Party to make up fairy tales about him. They would do well to read Malcolm X speeches, review his real life—and acknowledge where they were wrong about Black nationalism and Malcolm X.
FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein
Socialist Viewpoint Publishing Association
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PHOTOGRAPH of Sylvia Weinstein taken 1990s, in San Francisco, California