The Future's Only Hope

Lies in the Past ...

Fidel Castro

In narrating the story of the Kennedy Assassination, blockbuster Saving Jackie K considers several foreign leaders with grudges against JFK. One of the most obvious is Cuba's long-term dictator, Fidel Castro. Did Castro mastermind the plot to kill Kennedy?

Fulgencio Batista of Cuba During the 1950s, the Caribbean island nation of Cuba was run by US-backed military dictator and president, Fulgencio Batista. In 1959, rebel leader Fidel Castro banded together with his brother Raul Castro and friend Che Guevera to stage a revolution. Castro successfully overthrew Batista, and began his decades-long communist rule over the former Spanish colony.

Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev From the outset of his presidency, Kennedy yearned for Castro to be removed from power. JFK subscribed to the Domino Theory, which argued that if a country fell to communism, its neighbors would follow. And, Castro capitulated to the whims of his communist ally, Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of Russia.

Fidel Castro at the UN General Assembly in 1960 Kennedy began sparring with Castro in April of 1961 by executing the Bay of Pigs Invasion. CIA-backed Cuban exiles were sent in to overthrow Castro's regime. However, he reneged on promised US Air Force support, and the operation failed.

Fidel Castro and Luis Korda Castro enacted a form of retaliation a year and a half later, when he allowed the Soviet Union to build nuclear launch pads on his country's soil, within range of the continental US. When American Air Force reconnaissance planes discovered the sites, The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the adversaries to the brink of an all-out nuclear conflict. Kennedy ordered a Naval blockade, preventing weapons and supplies from being shipped to Cuba from Russia. He successfully avoided disaster by a narrow margin.

Fidel Castro Che Guevara at the La Coubre March In September of 1963, Castro denounced US-prompted raids on Cuban soil: "We are prepared to fight them and answer in kind. The United States leaders should think that if they are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe."

Fidel Castro in Washington In November, Kennedy countered in a speech delivered to the Inter-American Press Association in Miami, where he called Cuba a pawn of Russia: "It is the fact that a small band of conspirators has stripped the Cuban people of their freedom and handed over the independence and sovereignty of the Cuban nation to forces beyond the hemisphere." And went on to offer support if the Cuban people revolted, "For once Cuban sovereignty has been restored, we will extend the hand of friendship and assistance to a Cuba whose political and economic institutions have been shaped by the will of the Cuban people."

      Less than a week later, Kennedy was dead.