Cuba: The Breaking Point

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They do so not out of follow-the-leader support of the U.S. but out of increasing distaste for Castro's meddling. Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay have already broken relations with Cuba. Last week, three days before the U.S. diplomatic break, Peru became No. 6 after a raid by five anti-Castro exiles on Cuba's Lima embassy turned up documents proving that the Cuban ambassador was donating $20,000 a month to enemies of the government. The same kind of subversion in Panama brought the recall of the Panamanian ambassador to Cuba last week.

In Argentina, the government felt called upon to deny that it was breaking with Cuba—a gesture that did not conceal the anger of President Arturo Frondizi (once called a "viscous blob of human excrescences" by Cuban Foreign Minister Roa) over a new Castro-Communist campaign in Argentina to raise "10,000 volunteers to fight to defend Cuba." Across the Rio Plata in Uruguay, beset by labor troubles and riots. President Benito Nardone pointed up the undercover organizing work of Castro's ambassador by calling openly for a break with Castro. Colombia and Bolivia have quietly sent home the ambassadors from Cuba, and though Mexico still pays its official respects to Castro, the government makes sure to keep its own brand of Castroite leftists in jail.

Guarding the Pool. In Cuba Castro continued his tawdry little melodrama of "invasion." He lined the Havana waterfront with Russian tanks, field guns, four-barreled antiaircraft guns and antitank weapons. One band of defenders mounted a newly arrived 12.7-mm. Czech machine gun on the cabanas of the Habana Riviera Hotel, strategically overlooking a bathing beauty near the pool below. Militiamen took up positions inside Havana's San Francisco Roman Catholic Church and two Catholic schools, mined bridges and fanned out around the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.

The danger of a serious incident centers around Guantanamo, the last major U.S. holding in Cuba. The U.S. made it clear that the closedown of its embassy does not affect the treaty under which it holds unlimited lease to the naval base. Castro is sure to provoke incidents there. As a first step, the U.S. expects Castro to cut off the base's water supply, piped in from a river five miles away on the Cuban side of the fence. Stored supplies of water have been increased to 11 million gallons, enough to last 20 days. And in a matter of hours U.S. Navy tankers can be cleaned out to carry enough water from nearby Puerto Rico or Haiti to supply the base indefinitely. The Navy does not expect a direct armed assault. But if Castro attacks, the U.S. is reluctantly prepared for that, too.

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