03 September 2006

A question about Fidel

Trying to divert the attention from the real point of the story, Indy declares: Castro was a 'wetback', admits Havana.

Fifty years ago this weekend, a 30-year-old Cuban calling himself Alejandro became a mojado - literally a "wetback" - by swimming the Rio Grande from Mexico to the United States. Had he been caught by border patrolmen the Cuban revolution might never have happened. According to a report in the official Cuban media, the man, whose real name was Fidel Castro, was on a secret mission on 1 September 1956 to get money to liberate their island from its dictator.

Castro had been forced into exile the previous year by Fulgencio Batista. Now he set up a meeting with exiled former Cuban President Carlos Prio Socarras, the man Batista had overthrown in a 1952 coup. Castro believed Prio should put back some of the money he had skimmed from Cuba into getting rid of the dictator.

Of course, the situation could be presented as a supreme irony of fate: US dollars that helped Fidel to overthrow Batista. On the other hand, knowing that any exiled dictator would be closely monitored by appropriate services, one might ask who it is exactly that allowed (or even sponsored) that financing operation. In other words, wasn't Fidel... you know...?

Or, maybe even worse. No, it can't be. Or could it? I am off to check the Elders' archives.

Hmm... That nose...