Why didn't the U.S. support Castro from the start?

Castro’s revolution won power in Cuban in 1959. Castro was not at that time a Communist. In April 1961 the U.S. (using Cuban exile volunteers) attempted the Bay of Pigs invasion. It became clear that the U.S. was never going to support Catro’s regime and if he wanted a powerful ally it would have to be the Soviet Union. In December 1961 he declared himself a Communist and Cuba a Marxist-Leninist state.

Why didn’t the U.S. simply support, or at least agree to tolerate, Castro in the first place? It was clear from the start he intended to rule in an authoritarian manner and respect individual rights very little, but we were allied with a lot of authoritarian dictators during the Cold War, and earlier. “Trujillo is a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch!” An alliance with Castro would have prevented the Soviets from gaining a toehold in the Western Hemisphere.

Two reasons. First, we had supported Batista. Second, Castro, early on, nationalized US business property in Cuba. The relationship just got worse and worse from there as Castro nationalized more and built up closer ties to the Soviets.

So it’s the businessmen’s fault, eh? Mighta known! :wink:

The MAFIA lost billions from Castro’s revolution. The hotels, casinos, bars, restaurants and cathouses were huge generators of cash. Castro destroyed the business, and the Mob hated him for it. the CIA conspired with the Mob to kill Castro, not once but several times. :eek:

Well, I wouldn’t draw exactly that conclusion, but yeah. We got into a cycle whereby the Cubans would nationalize American property, and then we’d express our displeasure, by snubbing Castro at his American visit, or lowering the sugar quota, or whatever, which would lead to Cuba nationalizing more, and so on. Meanwhile, the Soviets were providing them more and more aid, which kept drawing the Cubans closer to them.

Added to that, you had the Cuban exiles fleeing the Castro government to Miami. The growing refugee problem affected US-Cuban relations, as well, as they came here with stories of Castro’s brutality.

Castro, like Ho Chi Minh, may not have been a card-carrying communist at the time of his revolution, but he talked very much like one. Substitute “terrorist” for “communist” and you get some sense of how very afraid of communist expansion the U.S. was at the time. Anything that walked, talked and looked like a communist was tagged a communist, and Fidel showed every outward appearance of communism.

Castro wasn’t the first revolutionary-cum-communist to be driven into the arms of Soviet style socialism. At the end of World War II, the man history would later know as Ho Chi Minh tried to approach the U.S. to end French hegemony in Indochina and help the Vietnamese become independent. Ho wrote a total of six letters to President Truman, but none was answered. Historians believe Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, diverted the letters and Truman never saw them. The U.S., meanwhile, backed France’s claim on Indochina in order to get France to work with Germany in rebuilding Europe. Later, when John Foster Dulles was secretary of state under Eisenhower, he was in Paris and actually met Ho face-to-face. When Ho tried to extend his hand and ask for Dulles’ help in getting through to Eisenhower, Dulles turned his back and walked away.

Now, here’s how that affects our relations with Cuba: Ultimately, in his struggle to free his country from foreign control, Ho did turn to the communists (in Moscow, not in Peking, as Washington had feared) determined to retain his country’s agrarian culture. By the time of the anti-Batista revolution in Cuba, Ho was already virulently communist, and Castro was making noises like a communist. By the late 1950s, the U.S. already saw a protracted struggle looming to contain communism in Asia – we were in no mood to tolerate it in our own hemisphere.

We backed Batista with everything but troops because he was the non-communist choice, and because Castro had already made a lot of noise about shutting down the gambling dens because of their alleged negative effects on Cuban culture. Castro was otherwise anti-capitalist – if I remember my history correctly, he made it clear that he desired “land reform” along the lines of that sought by contemporary revolutionaries in the rest of Latin America.

Although the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary gave the U.S. all the self-awarded right it needed to intervene militarily in the Western Hemisphere, the U.S. was simply exhausted from World War II and Korea. Besides, nobody really thought Castro could win. It wasn’t until Batista grabbed his piano and skipped the country that it dawned on the Washington that the revolutionaries were going to take Havana.

By then it was too late – you can’t change your bet once the horserace begins. The Soviets had armed and supported Castro, and even sent advisors to help him fight. He was forever and permanently in Moscow’s pocket.

I never understood how the Mafia failed to kill Castro. I probably give them too much credit, but it just seems that if they can get past U.S. Marshals to snuff a witness or two, they can pop a strutting dictator. I always thought Castro’s survival put the lie to any Mafia participation in JFK’s death.

I’m sure the CIA has tried to kill Casto, but is there any proof the Mob was involved?

Witnesses are guarded by a few U.S. Marshals. Castro had an army.

Oh, that!

Yet another illustration of why your moniker has the word “brain” in it and mine doesn’t.

Also, Castro had a country. An island country, with a well-founded suspicion of outsiders. Just getting into Cuba for nefarious purposes would have been a challenge.

Extreme nitpick-the quote was “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Somoza, not Trujillo. Hardly matters though, I get what you’re saying.

Yeah, going along with Castro probably would have made sense, but a LOT of the shit going on during the Cold War didn’t make sense.

At the same time, I believe we were on Tito’s side in his fight against Stalin, and Tito was a communist.

I first heard it in connection with Trujillo, but Somoza would make sense too.

A lot of people don’t know that Fidel’s brother Raul was a very committed communist and had a lot of influence in the Castro government. There were even rumors back then that Raul may have been planning an assasination of his own when Fidel was waffeling about siding with Moscow. Probably untrue but Raul was a powerful influence in the govt. and still is, I think.

And slightly younger than Castro . . . but not the man his brother is. Things are going to get really interesting when Castro goes.

We definitely pull Castro’s name up a lot on these boards, don’t we?

Anyone other than Americans obsessed with this man?
The question has been answered, but Castro was anti-Capitalism from an early age from when his father had some farmland and had to deal with the big businesses.

It’s important to remember that Castro didn’t just nationalize American business interests but did so without compensation. This, in addition to the other points already noted, is one of the main reasons we got so pissed at him. That we are still so pissed at him going on fifty years later never ceases to amaze and disappoint me. But, as has been mentioned, that’s largely a reflection of the influence of the Cuban exile community. Funny, isn’t it? We’ll trade with China but not Cuba. Oh, right, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds …

Hugo Chavez?

Who, coincidentally, our administration is obsessed about.

A circle of obsession, I tells ya!

I remember huge headlines in the Dallas papers when Castro announced he was a communist. IIRC, he was quoted as saying ‘he was now, and always had been, a communist’ or words to that effect—it’s been a long time ago.