Fidel Castro (1926–2016), ruler of Cuba from 1976 to 2008, came to power by a Soviet-backed military coup on January 1, 1959. Withdrawal of U.S. support from the ruling Batista regime, as well as general dissatisfaction among the Cuban intelligentsia, were contributing factors. Although Castro professed to offer equality in place of the inequity of the Batista government, within a year, executions and torture by his new regime caused world outcry. Castro seized U.S. holdings and investments, and the U.S. broke off relations with Cuba on January 3, 1961. Castro then proclaimed his alliance with the USSR and the Soviet bloc.
- 1 Soviet strategy in the Western Hemisphere
- 2 Revolution in Cuba
- 3 Consolidating power
- 4 The Bay of Pigs
- 5 The Cuban Missile Crisis
- 6 Exporting Communist revolution
- 7 Support for Communist takeover of Nicaragua
- 8 Effects of the revolution on in Cuba
- 9 Legacy
- 10 The strategies of the fallen ones
- 11 Sources
Soviet strategy in the Western Hemisphere
World domination had been a goal of the Soviet Union from its origins in 1917. Moscow correctly viewed Latin America as the soft underbelly, the geostrategic weak point, of the United States. But they were in no position to aggressively exploit this weakness by subverting Latin America. The Soviets had the more immediate problems of consolidating their revolution in Russia and making the embryonic Soviet state function. In fact, until the late 1950s the Soviets were unable to gain much influence in the region except during an interlude between 1945 and 1954 when Guatemala became increasingly anti-American and pro-Communist. The United States found such circumstances intolerable and helped overthrow the radical government.
This was not a total loss for the Soviets, however. Marxist-Leninists had been using Latin America as a laboratory to refine their revolutionary technique. Unsuccessful Soviet efforts at subversion in Latin America in the 1930s and the Guatemalan affair yielded important lessons, the most important being how a Communist government in the Western Hemisphere could remain in power.
Revolution in Cuba
In 1895, the poet Jose Marti led a struggle that ended the Spanish rule in Cuba, some four hundred years of Spanish rule. This was thanks largely to U.S. intervention in 1898, which followed the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor.
Under an 1899 treaty, Cuba became an independent nation under United States protection. Under the Platt Amendment to the treaty, the U.S. retained the right to intervene in order to suppress any revolt and invoked it in 1912 and 1917 in order to suppress civil disorder. In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt scrapped the Platt Amendment, and in the same year, Fulgencio Batista, an army sergeant, led a revolt that overthrew the regime headed by President Gerardo Machado.
A series of constitutionally elected Cuban presidents tried to enact social reforms, but were thwarted by overwhelming corruption manipulated by Batista, who seized power and established a dictatorship in 1952.
In 1953, Fidel Castro attempted and failed to overthrow the government of Cuba and was captured and then paroled. Aided by Argentine Communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Castro rebuilt his forces and waged guerrilla warfare.
In 1958, the United States withdrew its support from Batista. Castro, using Soviet funds, bought off the leaders of Batista’s army. This, combined with popular support for Castro from the intellectual and working classes, demoralized the army. On January 1, 1959, Batista fled to the Dominican Republic and Castro seized control of Cuba.
The Communists had previously tried to establish a base in the Americas. They found they could gain, but not keep, power. But the Communists used the pre-Castro era in Latin America as a laboratory. They developed six principles for staying in power before Castro took control of Cuba. The six principles included: revolutionizing the masses, dependence on the Soviet Union, reliance on the United Nations instead of on the Organization of American States, establishment of a one-party Communist state, neutralization of the Church, and the replacement of the former army with a Red Army. From their previous experience they learned that only by having these six ingredients could they take and keep power in the Caribbean.
Fidel Castro was the first to successfully apply these lessons. He also added a wrinkle of his own: he initially denied he was a Communist. In the late fifties, Castro persuaded the State Department, the American media and most of the Cuban democratic leaders that he would establish a democracy in Cuba.
It was a ruse, however. In a 1986 interview with Le Figaro magazine, Castro made no effort to hide the fact that he intended to make Cuba a Communist state from the start, but concealed his goal for strategic purposes. Just weeks after taking power in January of 1959 Castro started building his dictatorship and exporting revolution to Panama, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Colombia.
Castro’s regime brutally suppressed all political opposition. Opponents were executed, tortured, or imprisoned. Castro confiscated United States investments and seized United States holdings. On January 3, 1961, the United States broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba, and Castro revealed his alliance with the Soviet Union.
The Bay of Pigs
Thousands of Cubans fled to the United States. An invasion force was recruited from their ranks and trained by the CIA in Florida and Guatemala. This force landed in the Bay of Pigs in Cuba on April 17, 1961, in an abortive attempt to overthrow Castro and retake Cuba.
The operation failed within two days. Most of the exiles were taken captive. The swift failure of the operation has been attributed to a series of blunders. The planned air support never arrived. The CIA gave the invaders the wrong kind of ammunition. The CIA failed to tell the Cuban underground resistance that the invasion was underway.
Faulty intelligence also hindered the entire event. It underestimated Castro’s military forces and his popular support. With pressure by the Soviets and Latin Americans, President John F. Kennedy refused the invaders U.S. air support. So the invasion collapsed.
The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco. Perhaps it was a planned fiasco. It’s not clear that the U.S. really tried to oust Castro. The Eisenhower Administration had given Cuban dictator Batista weapons to fight Castro. But through the CIA it also secretly gave funds to Castro to fight Batista. Were the CIA “blunders” at the Bay of Pigs really blunders? Or was it another case of managed conflict? We may never know.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Bay of Pigs fiasco led to the Cuban missile crisis. In 1962, the Soviet Union built missile sites in Cuba and provided Castro’s army with troops, planes, and submarines. On October 22, 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy served notice that the United States was willing to go to war in order to force the Soviets to remove missiles and troops threatening United States security.
The United States then established a blockade and confronted Soviet vessels with warships. Then, on November 20, 1962, President Kennedy lifted the blockade when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles.
Castro’s tenure was more or less assured when the Soviets, as part of the overall settlement, secured a promise from Kennedy not to use military force to remove him. Each administration since then has honored this agreement, giving the Soviets license to turn Cuba into a forward base in the Western Hemisphere without fear of direct U.S. intervention.
Exporting Communist revolution
The consequences of Kennedy’s promise were numerous. Castro persecuted the Cuban people, was a key player in the drug trade and exported Communist revolution and subversion in South America and the Caribbean. By 1965, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico had been hit by Castro’s hit squads.
At times, efforts for counterinsurgency were successful and the Communists were forced to reevaluate their strategy for revolutionary warfare. Based on the writings of such authors as Mao, Che Guevara, Carlos Marighella, and others, the Communists developed a strategy for starting, waging, and winning wars of national liberation, which they applied with singular success in Latin America.
The Soviet/Havana blueprint for take-over was highly detailed and intricate in its organization. In the final phase, Soviet and Cuban “advisors” took control of a new government’s operations and military. Internal security was tightened, and opposition disposed of. Then organized terror was coupled with a comprehensive program to direct every aspect of citizens’ lives toward the application of the six principles of retaining power.
Then, the recently revolutionized country was obliged to render assistance to other wars of national liberation and turn its attention towards the next target. An example of this strategy was the takeover of Nicaragua.
Support for Communist takeover of Nicaragua
In the mid sixties, Fidel Castro concluded that Nicaragua was the most promising target for a Communist takeover on the American continent. At some point he agreed to sponsor the Sandinista National Liberation Front, the FSLN, on the condition that the different factions in the movement work together. In 1979, after the Carter administration turned against the government of Anastasio Somoza and made every effort to hasten his departure, Castro helped the Sandinistas take over.
Castro told them that they could succeed if they gained leadership of the anti-Somoza front and promised to establish a democracy—in short, if they followed his lead. They agreed and Castro sent them hundreds of tons of weapons. On July 17, 1979, Somoza resigned and was replaced by a Sandinista-dominated ruling junta which promised free elections, a pluralist government and a nonaligned foreign policy.
At Castro’s request, the Sandinistas suppressed a document they were planning to release in which they declared that the United States was their true enemy. “That way,” Castro assured, “you can have your revolution and America will pay for it.” That is exactly what happened.
The U.S. press was generally taken in by the Sandinista promises. Shortly after they took power, the Washington Post wrote, “The new [Sandinista laws] project the new government as highly moralistic, concerned about state security, politically liberal in a social democratic mold.” But by September of 1979 history was repeating itself. The Sandinistas cemented political and military ties with the Soviet Union and Cuba and began providing weapons and training for Communist guerrillas throughout Central America.
At the same time, Jimmy Carter received Daniel Ortega at the White House and sent $118 million in aid to Nicaragua. In addition, the Carter administration supported $262 million in aid from U.S.-funded development banks and urged private banks to refinance more than $500 million of Nicaragua’s loans.
America paid for the Communist revolution overthrowing the legitimate people’s government in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas received more financial aid from the United States in 19 months than Somoza had received in 19 years.
What happened thereafter was tragic but, given the past history of Soviet client states, entirely predictable. The Sandinistas seized exclusive control of the government, invited nearly 8,000 Cuban and a lesser number of Soviet, Libyan and PLO advisers to Nicaragua, and turned the country into a second Soviet forward base in the Western Hemisphere.
Furthermore, they censored the media, destroyed the economy, harassed the Catholic Church, kidnapped, tortured or executed some 2,000 people, jailed 4,000 political prisoners, forcibly relocated 80,000 peasants and 10,000 Miskito Indians, and drove 500,000 people into exile. The Sandinistas also set about building the largest and most powerful military apparatus in Central America.
Effects of the revolution on in Cuba
In 1986 David Horowitz, at one time a supporter of Castro, described “the economic ruin that Fidel’s Marxism has wrought” in Cuba:
Among the proven failures of the Marxist promise, this is the most fateful of all. The failure of Marxist economies to satisfy basic needs, let alone compete with the productive capitalisms of the West, has produced the military-industrial police states which call themselves socialist today.
Twenty-five years ago we on the Left applauded when Fidel denounced Cuba’s one-crop economy and claimed that U.S. imperialism was the cause of the nation’s economic plight. It seemed so self-evident. Cuba was a fertile island with a favorable climate, but U.S. sugar plantations had monopolized its arable land, and the sugar produced was a product for export, not a food for Cubans. The poor of Cuba had been sacrificed on the altar of imperialist profit. Whenever we were confronted by the political costs Castro’s revolution might entail, we were confident that this gain alone—Cuba’s freedom to grow food for Cubans—would make any sacrifice worthwhile. The same illusion—that the revolution will mean better lives for Nicaragua’s poor—underlies every defense of the Sandinistas today.
It is nearly three decades since Cuba’s liberation, and Cuba is still a one-crop economy. But the primary market for its sugar is now the Soviet Union instead of the United States. Along with this have come other economic differences as well. Cuba’s external debt is now 200 times what it was when Fidel took power. And it would be far greater if the Communist caudillo had not mortgaged his country to his Soviet patron. So bankrupt is the economy Castro has created that it requires a Soviet subsidy of over $4 billion a year, one-quarter of the entire national income, to keep it afloat. Before the revolution, Cubans enjoyed the highest per-capita income in Latin America. Now they are economic prisoners of permanent rationing and chronic shortages in even the most basic necessities. The allotted rations tell a story in themselves: two pounds of meat per citizen per month; 20 percent less clothing than the allotment a decade earlier; and in rice, a basic staple of Cuba’s poor, half the yearly consumption under the old Batista regime.
The idea that Marxist revolution will mean economic benefit for the poor has proved to be the most deadly illusion of all. It is because Marxist economies cannot satisfy economic needs—not even at the levels of the miserably corrupt capitalisms of Batista and Somoza—that Marxist states require permanent repression to stifle unrest and permanent enemies to saddle with the blame.
The roots of the terrorist movements of the 1970s can be traced to the writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin and then to the application of their principles in the revolution spawned by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the 1950s. Guevara’s legacy to future terrorists is found in his message to the Tricontinental Conference in Havana in 1966:
We must above all keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm; hate as a factor of struggle, intransigent hate of the enemy, hate that can push a human being beyond his natural limits and make him a cold, violent, selective, and effective killing-machine.
The rise to power of Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1959, and his subsequent alliance with the Soviet Union, altered the geopolitical map of the Americas. That single event in 1959 was the significant turning point for the entire history of the I AM Race on planet Earth, because the Western Hemisphere is dedicated to the coming of the seventh root race, to incoming lifewaves, and to a future golden age spreading across the entire planet.
To take away from people the free enterprise system is to destroy the soul’s potential for victory through free will. The economic system we live under has a lot to do with our spiritual path and if we make it on that path. If somebody is making all the economic decisions for you, you have no means for developing your mastery.
The strategies of the fallen ones
In a dictation given on January 2, 1982, the Elohim Purity and Astrea stated:
We come to illustrate a planetary need, and also to illustrate that those entrusted with the torch of freedom to a dying world, even your representatives in this government, do not have the solution to the South American question or to “the Castro connection.” We would call it “the dilemma of the Watchers and their godless creation.” But the people in general, not aware of the cause behind the effect, seem to name the enemy by the uniform or the doctrinal position of that one.
Blessed hearts, by now you surely know that they are positioned at all points of the circle—that circle being the antithesis of the circle of Light. The positioning of the hierarchy of God, as mighty seraphim, on all the degrees of the circle of Life, is the point of the beginning of our consideration of the problems of Latin America.
In the first instance, all must be unprejudiced to realize that the Watchers, whose archetype is personified in Fidel Castro, have been among the oppressors of the people for centuries. Great are the crimes of the fallen ones in South America, for they have been the imitators of the path of Omega’s sons! They have placed themselves in positions of rightist royalty, decking themselves with honor, with gold and diamond and precious jewel, in imitation of the sons of God. They have anointed themselves kings and priests and allowed the little people to become impoverished.
Now, some of these little people are the dear hearts of Mother Mary and the creation, in the beginning, of Elohim. Others of the ignorant masses are a strain of mechanization man, formed by other Nephilim who also moved on this continent, as you have heard of their movement in the Middle East and on the African continent. Therefore, some are the godless, empty ones who are ready to follow a demagogue, ready to follow the Watcher, in whatever direction. Thus the Archdeceiver, in the person of the black magician, comes along.
You must realize that those that are on the position of the circle in the rightist camp are other Nephilim gods, self-styled gods; and they are in competition with one another. By the rivalries and the competition of the fallen ones, we find them at the point of the extreme Right and the extreme Left—merely as a point of their own rhetoric, as a point of assembling the masses on their own side for their own personal self-aggrandizement! And no matter what they say or pursue, they do not have the fate of the people at heart.
The Great White Brotherhood has issued the fiat of Fidel Castro’s judgment. His judgment has already been decreed by the Karmic Board. This means that we must ratify it. We must ratify the judgment of the fallen ones no matter what camp they are in throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
Compiled from the following sources:
Lectures by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, July 4, 1982; November 2, 1983; June 22, 1986; July 13, 1986; February 18, 1991; July 4, 1991; July 4, 1992.
Letter by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, August 15, 1987.
Purity and Astrea, “Let the Divine Solution Appear!” Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 25, no. 12, March 21, 1982.
- For detailed information on Cuban involvement in the drug trade, see a lecture by Joseph D. Douglass, June 27, 1995, “The War on Drugs: What Caused the Problem and Why We Aren’t Winning”; and Joseph D. Douglass, Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West (Atlanta: Clarion House, 1990).
- David Horowitz, “Nicaragua: A Speech to My Former Comrades on the Left,” Commentary, June 1, 1986. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/nicaragua-a-speech-to-my-former-comrades-on-the-left/
- Claire Sterling, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981), p. 8.
- Refers to the connection between leftist guerrilla activity in Central America and Castro’s regime in Cuba. 1980 “NBC White Paper: The Castro Connection” exposes that (1) Cuba, as a Soviet surrogate, sends advisers and extensive military aid to leftists in Central America, and (2) the brutality and insensitivity of right-wing generals contributes to dissatisfaction among the masses, fomenting revolution. U.S. government officials were unable to offer viable solutions.