Assessment of causes and context essential
BY MARELYS VALENCIA (Granma International staff writer)
EVENTS leading up to the October crisis was the basic theme
of the first session during “The October Crisis: a political
vision 40 years on” international conference. The long chain of
covert and subversive actions against the Cuban Revolution
have been revealed in declassified documents coming from
the U.S. Defense Department and the Cuban State Security
Department, also in testimonies from the main protagonists
during the era.
With the active participation of Fidel Castro, the Cuban
perspective on the need for in-depth analysis of the causes
and scenario that saw the unfolding of the Cold War’s most
dramatic crisis was revealed.
U.S. intentions to attack Cuba after the frustrated 1961 Bay
of Pigs invasion and the series of plans such as Operations
Mangosta and Patty Candela - considered the most dangerous
ever carried out by the CIA and aided by counterrevolutionary
groups both inside and outside the island - signifies for Cuba
the greatest evidence of a prelude to an invasion.
Three of Kennedy advisors were at the conference that took
place behind closed doors. They insisted that their president
never thought about authorizing an invasion; however
declassified documents disclose the idea of creating an
uprising from within the island. If that had taken place then
military attack would have followed, U.S. National Security
Archive director Thomas Blanton told press.
THOMAS BLANTON: IF I WERE CUBAN I’D HAVE THOUGHT
THEY WERE PREPARING TO INVADE
Certainly if I were Cuban, then just like McNamara said, I’d
have thought they were preparing to invade, affirmed Blanton,
whose institution is associated to the George Washington
A U.S. Defense Department document marked “Top Secret”
and dated February 19, 1962 contains instructions of a covert
plan to provoke a hostile reaction from the Revolutionary
government against the United States. That situation would
have given the green light for a “justified operation” included
in the second phase of the plan: military intervention.
From Cuba’s point of view, the special group headed by
Robert Kennedy that was to realize Operation Mangosta had
as its clear goal the work of weakening the Revolution until
the invasion arrived.
In this scenario, the Cubans and the Soviets strongly
understood that an attack was imminent in the face of actions
developed over a long time and then intensified after the Bay
of Pigs failure, said U.S. National Security Archive senior
analyst Peter Kornbluh.
Blanton consider that there are a series of interesting
documents explaining how Cuba intercepted the invaders,
undercover operations and U.S. intelligence that will help to
understand the island’s role in the crisis.
One of the arguments used as to why the knowledge that
there were nuclear Missiles in Cuba caused such
well-documented alarm in the U.S. administration is the fact
that despite the Cuban government’s advice to the Soviets to
make the operation public, it was carried out in secret.
The Cubans clarified that they accepted the installation of
missiles for solidarity reasons with the former USSR in order
to help improve the Socialist bloc’s strategic balance.
The session was regarded as a comprehensive debate carried
out in a positive atmosphere, allowing the scenario in which
the events took place to be placed in a general context.