© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Reader Response: The Weight Of History On U.S.-Cuba Relations


This is a reader-submitted piece in response to our April 12 story titled "Summit Summary: U.S.-Cuba Sitdown Drowns Out Venezuelan Meltdown."

In his report from the “Summit of the Americas,”WLRN’s Tim Padgett partly blames “anti-Castro hardliners who get just as much tiresome mileage out of reliving the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis day after day” for preventing the brave new world that a fawning Raul Castro and President Obama want for Cuba.

Apparently Mr. Padgett fails to realize the gravity of these two events that forever sealed the ability of Cubans to choose their own destiny.

In 1956, then Cuban President Fulgencio Batista attended a similar conference in Panama. He warned President Eisenhower and the other presidents of the dangers that communism posed to the Americas. Everyone heard, but no one listened.

In 1958, instead of adhering to the beleaguered Batista’s warning, Eisenhower cut off all military aid and then forced him to leave. However, very shortly thereafter, with the confiscation of the vast American properties and the rapprochement with the Soviets, a very scared Eisenhower administration realized it had made a big mistake.

A mistake it hoped to correct with the cover of a Cuban-Exile Brigade. And the accompanying mass exodus from the Stalinist despots was to provide a handy source of manpower. The more Cubans came, the more invaders there would be.

The ensuing Kennedy administration was less enthusiastic than the previous administration for the planned invasion and never provided the promised American military support. In fact, it curtailed the Brigade’s own air efforts so that the eventual outcome was preordained.

The Cuban underground, which had mobilized to help the brave but crippled invaders, was left totally exposed, never able to resurface with the exception of the isolated Escambray fighters.

By October of 1962, Soviet nuclear missiles were spotted in Cuba. President Kennedy’s apparent bravado in getting the missiles removed was in reality nothing more than a secret deal between Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev that the United States would never intervene in Cuba again.

The promise has been kept, and then some. In fact, every single American government since then has ensured that the Cuban communist government does not fall from power. The most recent Obama initiative is unfortunately only the latest such effort, though it comes with apparent promises of financial aid, as well as expressions of sympathy, previously never made.

Finally, Mr. Padgett wants us to forgive, forget, and keep quiet. After all he is tired of us “screaming across the Florida Straits,” and preventing what Washington and the communists want for Cuba, elections be dammed.

We must be like the speaking impaired in “Children of a Lesser God,” whose difficult attempts at expression are sadly ignored. No one wants to hear our anguish, our moans saddled with so much pain. We are to forgive those who do not wish to be forgiven and ignore atrocities that are still being committed.

Raul Ordonez is an attorney with offices at Flagler Street who arrived from Havana in 1960 where his grandfather and father have had their law offices at the Bacardi Building since 1930.

More On This Topic