I went to Cuba at a time when, by the standards of the daily press, nothing important was taking place: there was only the buildup for the crisis expected after the November 1958 election. Not until later did the correspondents and TV characters begin to descend on Cuba. This sudden influx surprised the many Cubans who know English, since for months they had the peculiar feeling that they were living in limbo: most American papers simply ignored the revolution and the name of Cuba was never mentioned on the newscasts from American radio stations that are heard on the island. It was this silence which helped persuade many Cubans that the “Americans” were against the Castro revolt.
About the position of the U.S. government, the Cubans had no doubt. When I drove to small towns in the interior, where a car with U.S. plates was a rarity, a little crowd would quickly gather; after a few minutes of casual talk, some of the people, for mysterious reasons, would feel reassured that I was not a plant of the dreaded S.I.M. [secret police] and would dare ask the fatal question: “Why does the American government support Batista?”
For Cubans this was a painful question, since nowhere else in the world is there so much sympathy, at all social levels, for American ways and institutions. One does not hear those snide remarks about American barbarism that are dropped by European conservatives who have, at the same time, sold themselves body and soul t...
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