Description

    Fidel Castro Autograph Letter written to Nikita Krushchev. Three pages, 8.25" x 11", Instituto Nacional De Reforma Agraria, Havana, Cuba, May 27, 1960. One of the most important documents extant in the history of the world in the second half of the 20th century. Castro sends his first and most important communiqué to Nikita Khrushchev; an impassioned thanks for the support of the Revolution and a plea for arms. These 255+ words written entirely by Castro would bring us within a hair of World War III. The cover page of the document is ironically written on Batista's stationery and not in Castro's hand. The body of Castro's message is written on the new "Instituto Nacional De Reforma Agraria" stationery. The INRA would play a crucial role in all that is behind the scenes as it relates to this message. It reads in full: "I thank you in the name of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba for your repeated and prompt statements in favor of our revolution, which has been very highly regarded and appreciated by our people. I am also very grateful for the special message reported to me by Mr. (illegible), as well as the invitation extended to me to visit the Soviet Union, which, when I make it, as soon as possible, will satisfy one of our great desires. For our part, we hope your visit to Cuba will be a great event in our country. The widespread and impassioned, coverage received by our revolution in the Soviet Union, the numerous publications in our favor in magazines and newspapers, together with all the other acts...and so many other reasons, which together with the...and fair commercial treaty...your interest in understanding our requests for supplies in any order, and so many other acts for which I extend my personal thanks to the Soviet people, and which the people of Cuba will show you during your subsequent visit. I wish you the greatest success in your relentless struggle for peace and friendship among all peoples of the world"

    Castro's crossouts and revisions show the keen craftsman of the language and the propagandist that he was. The story behind this message puts everything into perspective - after secretly drawing up his Land Reform Law, Castro used it to form the National Institute of Agrarian Reform with broad and ill-defined powers. Through the INRA Castro methodically seized All-American holdings in Cuba. As this continued Castro was engineering a brilliant propaganda campaign aimed at accusing the U.S. of "conspiring with the counter revolutionaries against the Castro regime". Castro's ability to whip the masses into frenzy with wispy fallacies about American "imperialist" action against Cuba was his main asset. He constantly found events, which could work the "ol Castro magic" on, as Nixon said, to turn it into another of the long list of grievances, real or imagined, that Cuba had suffered. Up until 1960, the U.S. had followed a policy of non-intervention in Cuba. It had endured the slander and seizure of lands, still hoping to maintain relations. This ended when on March 4, the French munition ship La Coubre arrived at Havana laden with arms and munitions for the Cuban government. It promptly blew up with serious loss of life. Castro and his authorities wasted no time venomously denouncing the U.S. for an overt act of sabotage. Some observers concluded that the disaster was due to the careless way the Cubans unloaded the cargo. The new American policy was one overthrowing Castro. It was at this time that the controversial decision was taken to allow the CIA to begin recruiting and training ex-Cuban exiles for anti-Castro military service. In June 1960, the US started a series of economic aggressions toward Cuba aimed at accelerating their downfall. The first of these measures was the advice of the U.S. to the oilrefineries in Cuba to refuse to handle the crude petroleum that the Cubans were receiving from the Soviet Union. The Cuban government demanded that the refineries process the crude they were receiving from Russia at a much cheaper price. Upon receiving the refusal, Che Guevara the newly appointed head of the National Bank, and known anti-American, seized all three major oil company refineries and began producing all the Soviet crude, not just the 50% they had earlier bargained for. This was a big victory and a stepping-stone towards increasing the soon to be controversial alliance with Russia. On July 6, a week after the intervention of the refineries, President Eisenhower announced that the balance of Cuba's 1960 sugar quote for the supply of sugar to the U.S. was to be suspended. This action was regarded as a reprisal to the intervention of the refineries. It seems obvious that it was a major element in the calculated overthrow of Castro. In addition to be an act of destroying the U.S. record for diplomacy in Latin America, this forced Cuba into Russia's arms and vice-versa. The immediate loss to Cuba was 900,000 tons of sugar unsold. This was value at about $100,000,000. Had the Russians not come to the rescue it would have been a serious blow to Cuba. However, they did come to the rescue, cementing the Soviet-Cuban bond and granting Castro a present he could never have given himself. As Ernest Hemingway put it: "I just hope to Christ that the United States doesn't cut the sugar quota. That will really tear it. It will make Cuba a gift to the Russians." Now the gift has been made. Castro had announced earlier in a speech that action against the sugar quota would cost Americans in Cuba "down to the nails in their shoes". The Soviet Union's assumption of responsibility of Cuba's economic welfare gave the Russians a politico-military stake in Cuba. Increased arms shipments from the USSR and Czechoslovakia enabled Castro to rapidly strengthen and expand his forces. On top of this, Cuba now had Russian military support. On July 9, three days after President Eisenhower's sugar proclamation, Soviet Premiere Khrushchev announced: "The USSR is raising its voice and extending a helpful hand to the people of Cuba...speaking figuratively in case of necessity Soviet artillerymen can support the Cuban people with rocket fire." Fine condition.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
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