Could the U.S. have befriended Cuba right after the Revolution?

Spinoff from this thread, which is about whether JFK could have befriended Cuba, and averted its Soviet alliance, after the Bay of Pigs invasion failed.

The Communist Party (then known as the Popular Socialist Party) was an important element in the Cuban Revolution, but Castro did not belong to it at the time the Revolution was won; his organization was the 26th of July Movement, which was leftist and revolutionary but not, I believe, definitively Communist. The two organizations were merged in 1961.

As the Revolution was largely driven by widespread resentment against Cuba’s socioeconomic, as distinct from its political, system, revolutionary zeal certainly would have required some expropriation and redistribution, but was it inevitable that it usher in full-blown Stalinism? After all, the movement that brought Hugo Chavez to power in Venezuela had similar motives, but Venezuela is nowhere near Stalinist yet. If Eisenhower had made early overtures and offered to recognize Castro’s government, could he perhaps been drawn away from the Soviet orbit and settled on a non-totalitarian form of state? (Certainly Castro, being Castro, would have insisted on remaining dictator, but the U.S. has allied with many dictators.)

Well. Virgin territory.

Perhaps if Nixon had not been born.

I don’t see how it would have been possible. Once the Cuban’s began seizing and nationalizing US flagged companies assets I think that confrontation was inevitable.

BTW, the US DID attempt to befriend Castro and Cuba after the revolution. From memory there was a (brief) period where the US endorsed the revolution and sought a close relationship with the new revolutionary government. IIRC the US recognized the Castro government only a few days after the revolution. Things quickly went south though, and I think pretty much from the get go Castro was seeking a closer relationship with the Soviets than he was with the US (didn’t he try and have US flagged companies refine oil from the USSR or something like that?).


Did Ike ever take Nixon seriously?

The Chicago Mob lost casinos in Cuba-properties worth tens of millions$. Meyer Lansky and his mob associates wanted Castro overthrown, so that they could get back into the lucrative casino and prostitution rackest, which (former) dictator Fulgencio Batista allowed them to run. JFK was in a bind-his mobbed up father (Joe Kennedy) had paid of Sam Giancana to deliver the Chicago vote-and the elder Kennedy was seriously involved with other racketeers as well. Thus, JFK had no choice-he could not extend a hand to Castro-the mob would not allow it.

Always considered that to be a large component of US-Cuba relations. But how to explain AG Bobby?

Seriously enough to grudgingly support him in 1960. Didn’t like him much.

I think most of the replies have it right. Only by allowing Castro to nationalize loads of US companies could they have remained friends with Castro. Of course, he did nationalize them anyway and possibly, just possibly, some deal might have been worked out, but given the mcCarthyite hysteria around at the time, it really doesn’t seem possible.

I don’t see that Nixon would have had any influence. Most likely a State Department still reeling from McCarthy wasn’t capable of it.

If there is any access to IF Stone’s Weekly from that era, it might throw light on it. He claimed, IIRC, that Castro wanted to be friendly, but the US sent him packing–right off to the Soviets.

But the time period I’m talking about here is the last year of Ike’s Administration. Ike owed the Mob nothing, AFAIK.

Obviously I was snarky about Nixon in my previous posts, but now I wonder.

Nixon was Ike’s answer to any questions from the hard right. Excellent credentials … HUAC, the smear of Helen Douglas, his performances in South and Latin American as United Fruit’s good will ambassador. As Ike’s heir-apparent, he probably did have quite a bit to say about the policy he was going to inherit and pursue. From my cite above:

But if not him, somebody else. I’m beginning to like McCarthy as the villain.
In answer to the OP, very unlikely.

The PCC was did not come out in support of the revolution until 1958, prior to that they were supporters of Batista’s government. They endorsed Batista as president in the 1940’s and after the 1952 coup, and held a Ministry position (Ministro sin carpeta) in Batista’s government.

So, why did they switch sides?

I’m pretty sure they were not the only ones who became Fidelistas in 1958.

But, again, why? Why did so many parties throw in with Castro’s movement at that time? Was it in 1958 that he suddenly appeared to have a chance of winning? If so, why? What changed?

He won.

The rebels had defeated the army pretty soundly, had taken over large portions of Cuba, and, on January 1, 1959, Batista fled to the Dominican Republic, and on Jan. 8, Castro took control of the capital.

Cuba Timeline, 1956-58.:slight_smile:

He died in '57.

His spirit lived on.

McCarthy died a drunk and broken man, his crusade discredited by his campaign’s excesses and his overreach.

Personally, I like Castro as the villian.

A significant segment of the Republican party (while of course decrying his excesses) thought that McCarthy had had it right, particularly in our “losing China”. Tricky Dick was one of these who played the Dem=pinko card thruout his political career. I think it fair to say that Nixon would never have reached the world stage had it not been for Tailgunner Joe.

Well, you’re entitled to your opinion (if you’re actually serious). We’re getting off topic and I swear this will be the last time I “defend” Castro in this thread.

From my Cuba Timeline cite above:

Self-determination, American style, which any patriotic Cuban would take exception to.