Cuba: Castro's Warhawk

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Fidel Castro is uncharacteristically silent these days. So is little brother Raul. But it is hard to keep them all quiet in Cuba's talky regime. To a correspondent from the London Daily Worker, Minister of Industries Ernesto ("Che") Guevara, who was Castro's one-man braintrust back in the hills, last week gave an interview defiantly proclaiming Cuba's firm intention to go right on trying to export its revolution throughout Latin America. What is more, said Che, "if the rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York, in our defense against aggression. But we haven't got them, so we shall fight with what we've got."

Guevara's more bellicose remarks were blue-penciled out by the Worker's London editors—Moscow has decreed a softer line these days. Che, among other things, told the Worker correspondent: "We know that some people in Europe are saying that a great victory has been won. We ask whether in exchange for some slight gain we have only prolonged the agony. So far, all that has happened is that a confrontation has been avoided." Taking the Chinese "war is inevitable'' position. Che went on: "The Cuban revolution has shown that in conditions of imperialist domination such as exist in Latin America, there is no solution but armed struggle. Cuba has shown that small guerrilla groups, well led and located at key points, can act as a catalyst of the masses, bringing them into mass struggle. We say that this can be done in a large number of Latin American countries.''

For all his bluster, Guevara will find the going hard. When Castro defiantly declared himself a "Marxist-Leninist," he alienated most Latin American governments and lost much of his popular support among workers and educated idealists. Some woolly-headed university students and leftists still naively regarded him as a made-in-Cuba revolutionary simply marching in voluntary step with the Communist world. But after Khrushchev dealt directly with Kennedy on the Cuban missiles, bypassing Castro as an unimportant puppet, the Cuban dictator lost even those supporters. Latin American leftists have been bitterly disowning both Castro and Communism ever since.