Front Door to Cuba

President John F. Kennedy on Cuba

December 15, 1958, in Puerto Rico:
I realize that it will always be a cardinal tenet of American foreign policy not to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations-and this is particularly true in Latin America. I realize that we cannot force out any duly constituted government, however repugnant its methods or views may be-particularly when we have no guarantee that its successors in the long run will be a real improvement… But an announced policy of nonintervention because a sham when it is turned off and on to suit our own purposes.

For there is little question that should any Latin country be driven by repression into the arms of the communists, our attitude of nonintervention would change overnight.

Strategy of Peace - January 1, 1960:
Whether Castro would have take a more rational course after his victory had the United States Government not backed the dictator Batista so long and so uncritically, and had it given the fiery young rebel a warmer welcome in his hour of triumph, especially on his trip to this country, we cannot be sure.

September 2, 1960 - Portland, Maine:
I think he [Castro] should be condemned. I think he is a source of maximum danger.

September 21, 1960 - Nashville, Tennessee:
I am not satisfied to see a communist satellite ninety miles off the coast of Florida, eight minutes by jet. Those who say they will stand up to Khrushchev had not demonstrated ability to stand up to Mr. Castro.

October 6, 1960 - Cincinnati, Ohio:
But Castro is not just another Latin American dictator-a petty tyrant bent merely on personal power and gain. His ambitions extend far beyond his own shores.

October 15, 1960 - Johnstown, Pennsylvania:
The first thing we have to do is let the Cuban people know our determination that they will someday again be free. We did not make clear to the Cubans our devotion to freedom during the brutal regime of the Batista dictatorship-and we are not making our position any clearer under the Castro dictatorship…

Secondly, we must end the harassment, which this government has carried on, of liberty-loving anti-Castro forces in Cuba and other lands. While we cannot violate international law, we msut recognize that these exiles and rebels represent the real voice of Cuba and should not be constantly handicapped by our Immigration and Justice Department Authorities.

Third, we must let Mr. Castro know that we do not intend to be pushed around any longer and in particular do not intend to be pushed out of our naval base at Guantanamo…

April 23, 1963:
I think it is unfortunate that [Castro] was permitted to assume control in the 1950s, and perhaps it would have been easier to take an action then than it is now.

INVASION at Bay of Pigs

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