How My Father And President Kennedy Saved The World

The Cuban Missile Crisis as seen from the Kremlin

THE WORLD CAME CLOSE TO A NUCLEAR CLASH THREE times during the half-century of the Cold War. The first was in Korea when China’s intervention snatched imminent victory from General MacArthur. Only a nuclear strike could save the situation, but President Harry Truman firmly rejected it. The second time came in 1962, at the moment of greatest tension around Cuba, 40 years ago this October. And the last was in Vietnam when many American military and political leaders believed that atomic weapons alone could redress the failure of the war’s progress. Read more »

Cuba Libre

Sexy and melancholy, festive and forlorn, the island has always heated the Yankee imagination. The author visits there in the late afternoon of a straitened era and looks back on four centuries of passionate misunderstandings.

In those days, back in the thirties, the forties, the fifties of this century, Cuba was Havana, and Havana was a dream.

I went to Havana On one of those cruises, Forty-nine fifty To spend a few days.…

The dream was set to music—Xavier Cugat playing Ernesto Lecuona’s “Siboney” and “Malaguena” and “You Are Always in My Heart,” Bing Crosby crooning, “They’re glad to see you, in See-You-Bee-Ay.” Read more »

I Fought For Fidel

In the twilight of Castro’s regime, one of the soldiers who put him in power recalls what it was like to be a fidelista up in the hills four decades ago when a whole new, just, democratic world was there for the building

Like a hurricane spawned in distant waters, the full force of the collapse of world Communism has finally reached the island of Cuba and seems poised to sweep away the last vestiges of the Marxist-Leninist structure erected there over the last three decades. The demise of Cuban Communism has been better foretold than its rise: in 1958 few Americans could have imagined the establishment, ninety miles off their shores, of a Soviet-allied state that within four years would bring the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.Read more »

The U.S. And Castro, 1959–1962

Was the Cuban leader always a Marxist or did the United States impel him in that direction? A distinguished historian of Cuban affairs examines the critical years when the Castro revolution became a communist dictatorship.

One of the perplexing mysteries of the mid-twentieth century is why Cuba, a rich island with long and close ties to the United States, became a communist state. It did so in an unprecedented and unexpected way—without Soviet military help, without enduring a destructive civil war (deaths during Castro’s revolution against Batista probably did not reach two thousand), and without the leadership of Cuba’s Communist party, which played at best a minor role in such fighting as there was.

 
Read more »