Skip to main content

tv   Reel America Cuba - The Battle of America - 1960  CSPAN  April 18, 2021 4:59pm-5:51pm EDT

4:59 pm
foothills, a mysterious deco -- a training depot where some of the rebels have been based. observers have said otherwise. professional soldiers are among the teachers and once trained, the men mysteriously disappear. guatemala has held no brief for the castro regime and has aided the rebels. ♪ >> in cuba, people have pushed back the invaders and 300,000 militia men have been mobilized. the invasion was successful in the early hours with fidel blaming the u.s. is it the first chink in his armor? ♪
5:00 pm
history these people began writing here was not intended to stop here. the men who led this revolution see that there were 19 more chapters to follow, one for each of the countries in south america where conditions are right for this. this revolution in cuba holds no special honored -- owners or distinction. -- honors or distinction. john q american is wrapped up in the cuban revolution. he does not understand what happened in cuba in january,
5:01 pm
1959. tons of newsprint he has read through and the untold hours of airtime he has listed -- listened through prepared him for today's cuba. he is confused. particularly because, like thousands of other americans, he has been to cuba. he was there vacationing just a few weeks before that scene you saw a moment ago happened in havana. when he was there, there was not much to suggest to him that things would go as they have gone in that island country. what john q america did not see, is tonight's cuba, the battle of america.
5:02 pm
main street in almost any large city also the border. this is one of the main streets in havana cuba, hotels, casinos, exotic restaurants, department stores, office buildings. well-known to most american visitors cute -- to cuba, this is cuba. this is all of cuba they get to see. this is not cuba. it is a transplanted bit of the united states. most of what you see on your screen was built by americans. in have anna's case, much of the transplanted north america was built by a special group of americans who have given too many of the cuban people up cure litter -- a peculiar picture of
5:03 pm
what life in america must be like. i am albert burke. i will try to tell you how and why this was the case. he lost money at the gaming tables and casinos, many of which were built by a group of american racketeers which run most of the bookie operations, dope peddling, policy rackets, abortion mills, prostitution, and poker houses here in the states. he enjoyed excellent food served in exotic restaurants built by the same men with the crime -- same kind of money. he wanted feminine companionship. havana was famous for the quality of its red light district located a few blocks
5:04 pm
away from tourist alley. this is a business enterprise set up and run by the same racketeers who shared hard earned pesos and american dollars with a number of cuba's government officials for the privilege of providing such services to the public. this was all part of the transplanted bit of the united states in cuba. the cuban peasant has a peculiar idea about what the american way of life must be like on the mainland. tourist alley is not the entire picture. but, it has always been the most spectacular part of that picture in cuba. there are tourist alleys all over south america. for a dangerously long time, they have been the most
5:05 pm
important parts to john q america's understanding of what life was really like there. john q is accustomed to the tiled bathroom kind of life. he rarely moves away from this. but there is not much of that kind of world in africa, asia, or south america, except in tourist alleys. from tourist alleys wherever they are, it has been very hard to see the seeds of the kind of revolution that spilled over much of the world since the end of world war ii, most recently, in cuba. very earl.
5:06 pm
shake rivera -- . cuban leaders see seeds sprouting in 19 other south american countries where conditions are ripe for revolution. what are those conditions? in the pope's radio message last year, 500,000 cubans gathered to hear the holy father tell them "the face of the world could change if true charity were to rule." this is the charity of the christian man who knows wealth how the social function and it is -- knows wealth is a social function and it is his duty to give to those in need. pope john 23rd was talking
5:07 pm
about a type of south america that can be seen a short distance from any tourist alley. the visitor to whiteness errors is always impressed by places like republic square and the avenue of july. the visitor rarely hears about the belt of misery which surrounds the city. in this belt, more than one million argentinians live under conditions of filth and poverty which few north americans alive today have ever known. this gulf between the rich and poor in every country sounds of the border is the stuff revolutions are made of.
5:08 pm
this man's kind of revolution. as revolutions have gone in the world since 1945, it is not particularly unusual. but mr. castro's revolution has been unusual in cuba. castro led cuba's poor and offered them a better deal than they had known before. this group with their families make up about half of the cuban population. he told this group that his revolution would make what pope john men to buy christian charity of reality for them. this revolution of castro's was the first in cuban history to base policies and power on the peasant. his was one of the very few revolutions in modern south american history not between power groups, between the
5:09 pm
military, between the upper classes. the poor peasants took no real part in those revolutions. their lives never changed anyway. but castro told that group that the revolution he headed was for them. he gave them a sense of political power. he gave them to understand what political power meant and what could be done with it. they flocked to his support. today, almost two years later, they are his main support. the backbone of a revolution new to the western hemisphere. these conditions give men like che guevera the confidence he
5:10 pm
felt last march when he said that cuba was only chapter one in a revolution over all of thousand america. a candidate for the presidency of brazil. during a visit to cuba, he said he would follow the example set by castor in his country if elected. he also said brazil had many problems like cuba, problems of corruption, problems of inflation. he said there was a long-overdue need for basic reform. three weeks ago he won brazil's presidential election with a landslide majority. if his opinions about the cuban revolution have not changed, chapter two in the battle of america may be written with or without a revolution in south america's largest nation. whatever happens to castro in cuba or in the future, whether
5:11 pm
castro stays on as leader or his revolution fails, cuba will never be the same again. it will never go back to things as they were. south america will never be the same again, either. pope john warned that the gulf between the rich and poor had to be bridged. the continent to the south of us will never be the same again. word has gotten around that that golf can be bridged. for the venezuelan, the paraguayan, better lives are possible. schools to learn and read and write are possible. one does not have to h quickly and die young because of hard work -- to age, quickly, and die young because the hard work, hunger, and disease. this word has gotten around. the trouble is that this word is not being spread by christian
5:12 pm
men who practice a christian charity, as pope john suggested. it is being spread by revolutionaries who practice a very different method as suggested by the men who offered these goods and services to mr. castro, to help them try to stabilize his revolution in cuba. these are soviet jet fighters that the ussr has offered cuba's leader. the problem of a communist influenced military base in the americas. there are reports that in addition to the buildings of -- building of airfields, soviet technicians are at work in cuba now building missile launching sites which could cover every part of the united states. there are reports too about soviet and communist technicians building submarines for possible future use by the two main
5:13 pm
communist powers. reports and rumors which we hear of looked into and which we would like to have you look into too. what we have heard about the activities of russians and chinese in cuba today has come to us from men like ray robinson , a pilot for cube auto airlines. robinson was a first lieutenant in the u.s. air force before that. a short time ago, he told our man in miami, alexander work, about soviet made planes, missiles, and submarines in cuba. >> they might have more since that time. >> have you seen the russians and the czechs?
5:14 pm
>> yes, and the chinese. >> what about these rumors of rocket bases and so forth? >> i understand that at the present they have started construction for a rocket base in that area. i have never seen it myself. but reliable sources tell me they were there. also, airfields. b >> have you heard about the rumors of submarine bases being built? >> yes we have. people will talk about them starting constructions on submarine bases. >> the reports go on with neil
5:15 pm
mcauley. he was an american who fought for castro. he then pulled out of cuba to escape the communist takeover there. >> there are a number of people there who came from the united states. there are a number of russians. there are probably more chinese. there is an assortment of c zechs, hungarians, and yugoslavs. the russians are the most conspicuous. they always have to have a secret policeman or communist party member above -- among the group. they were heavy suits in the
5:16 pm
tropics. they are out of place. they look foreign. >> have you met them? >> i met the agricultural team. >> what do you think these people are therefore? are they cultural technicians or do they have more important things? >> i am sure that it infiltration of secret policeman makes it into this group. they are political organizers too. >> what ray robinson and neil mcauley were talking about in those interviews was the problem of cuba right now as most americans see it, the problem of a communist controlled or communist influenced military base in the americas. which poses a direct, head-on,
5:17 pm
military threat to our homes, factories, and q -- future. these concern and disturb us. the only party allowed to operate in cuba today is the communist party. these are the upper use that's obvious things -- these are the obvious things about cuba, but not the most important in an age of international airpower. intercontinental ballistic missile power. these are soviet rockets. missile carrying nuclear submarines, with khrushchev --
5:18 pm
which mr. khrushchev informed the world were now operational. the soviet union and communist china are just as aware as we are of the enormous importance of the missile carrying sub. no base on land, whether cuba or anyplace else, can compare with this. this does not mean that military bases on land have no value anymore. but it does mean that cuba is not particularly important. to a communist russia, or to a communist china, as a military base. the leaders of those two communist powers have other, bigger, and much more important goals in mind in south america and then just a military foothold on an island in our front yard. cuba is particularly important to the soviet union and
5:19 pm
communist china in other ways. weights about which john q american and all 100 maybe -- about which john q american knows little to nothing. it is hard for him or anyone else to see men like these from the tourist alleys south of the border. these men seldom, if ever, get into those alleys. but these men, and what moved them to revolution almost two years ago, makes that island particularly important to both of the communist powers. what is there about those men and their revolution in cuba that is so special? something that this fellow is supposed to have decided about 43 years earlier as he tried to make another revolution stick and work in russia. the man is linen, the first --
5:20 pm
the father of the first communist country in history. linen had to face a problem to set up the world's first communist state, that russia was supposed to be only one of many states that would explode in revolution after the first world war. there was supposed to be arising of peasants and workers all over the world to lead to a communist world. this did not happen. lenin decided that the best way to bring about a communist future was not concentrating on revolutions in advanced nations, but by working for revolutions in colonies, the spheres of influence of the empire powers, britain, france, belgium, the netherlands, portugal. lenin phrase the decision in these words "a way to victory for communism over the west
5:21 pm
lally's -- lies by way of peking and calcutta in asia." another soviet leader said much the same thing a few years ago. this man, shortly before he died back in 1953. stalin said the way to victory for communism in the world lay in an alliance of the soviet union with the former colonial and oppressed peoples of the world. lenin's statement has been around longer, but most statements lead to the history made by communists since the end of world war ii in asia. what these statements have to do with men like these, we will get into in a moment. those statements also lead directly out of the past to these men.
5:22 pm
who, by fidel castro's own definition, are among the world's former colonial peoples. according to that definition, cuba was first made a colony of and oppressed by spain in the early 1500s. the spanish-american war put an end to spanish rule in their island country. but cuba then became what amounted to a colony of, and oppressed by, the united states in the late 1800s. according to castro, the situation lasted until about january 8, 1950 nine, when his revolution reached havana to finish chapter one in the battle of america. this may not be history as you know it from your american history books. today is the kind of history these men believe, which is now being written into new cuban textbooks for primary and secondary schools in the country.
5:23 pm
it was a kind his -- of history that this man wanted to see end. fawn --juan had one ambition when he joined castro, to see cuba free. free of a government and a way of life that allowed what this man called "foreign interest and big land owners" to take cuban farmlands away from cuban farm owners to be worked by people also cuba. what he had in mind in particularly was seven companies that owned about 5 million acres of cuban farmland which turned out agricultural products that few cubans used and profits that few cubans saw. those seven companies had their home offices in the u.s.. those 5 million acres were about half of all of the land in cuba. they were paying dividends to american investors way off in the u.s..
5:24 pm
this was colonialism to juan. this man fought for what he called freedom and for land reform in his nation of, mostly, farmers. his friend, nunez,, worked for several years as a mechanic in autonomous naval base -- guantanamo naval base in eastern cuba. he was one of a children born to peasants who made their living cutting cane for sugar grinding. until nunez was 15 years old his world reached to the general store in the village. his home with a squad, windowless, airless, shack made of leftover palm tree lumber.
5:25 pm
it was home to hundreds of thousands of cubits peasants who lived and worked their lives away under conditions that were the rule in europe about a thousand years back. these were primitive farming conditions under which the peasants aged fast and died young. nunez was 15 when his father died at 36. his father was helped to an early death by a variety of infections and diseases that still affect most of his people outside the cities. there were health services in cuba and good ones, but they did not reach to the level of this man and his family. hunger reached to the level of this man, though. nunez knew hunger every year of his life, even when his parents both had jobs during the sugar time. during the very long all sugar season when there was no other work of any kind, things would get pretty desperate for these people. nunez joined fidel castro in the
5:26 pm
sierra mountains in 1956. he had one burning ambition, which was to see cuba free of governments that did little or nothing for the bulk of cuba's people, the farming peasants, and free of a way of a life that kept cuba out of the 21st century. nunez worked up this ambition while he worked at what automobile. which, like -- while he worked at guantanamo bay. at guantanamo, nunez that saw the 20th century up close in decent housing, good schools, medical care, and good wages. he heard all about the good life on the base radio. he saw it in american moving pictures and television. nunez was converted. nunez took to the hills with castro to fight for what he called "economic reform."
5:27 pm
the kind of economy that spelled the good life for americans, industrial development for cuba that would give them what you see on your screen. it meant a drastic overhaul of cuba's farming set up that kept cuban farmers in the middle ages. nunez had no idea how this could be done. he only knew it had to be done. his friend, jose martinez, here, agreed with that. jose joined castro in 1956 too, because at that time, jose had one burning ambition. that was you see cuba free. free of government and a way of life that allowed what this man called "foreign interest" to dig up and haul out of human mind -- minds --mines. jose was a minor. -- a miner.
5:28 pm
he resented that cuba's mineral riches were not being worked in cuba to make better lives possible for his people. . instead, cuban iron ore, for example, was shipped to places like the plants of the bethlehem steel company in baltimore, maryland. cuban oars --ores were used to make better lives for americans. jose martinez wanted to see reform that would cause ores to be processed in his country. it was time for a change. jose fought his way into havana with castro.
5:29 pm
change interested pedro e mean as --iminez too. pedro had a burning ambition to see cubans treated as dignified human beings, the equals of all other men. right now, there is no subject about which practically all of the world's peoples around europe and north america are more sensitive, just as pedro here is sensitive about, racial prejudice. sensitive people like pedro have changed the whole political map of the world since 1945 people in revolutions which have wiped out the empires and spheres of influence of west europeans. in that world, people like pedro have made cuba particularly important to communist east europeans and the communist chinese. you see the kind of world these
5:30 pm
men live in is shot through with the need for land reform. the world these men live in, desperately needs economic reform, industrial development, just as nunez and jose fought for. and in that world, nunez and jose have made cuba particularly important to a communist russia and china. because those are the kind of interest which, not too long ago, joseph stalin said the soviet union should line up with in order to bring about a final victory for communism over the west. because john q. american does not live in that world, he does not see the kind of cute but
5:31 pm
these men fought over in revolution. for which reason, he does not understand how serious a threat to his way of life the kind of cute with a helped set up has become. -- the kind of cuba they helped set up has become. there has not been much in the tons of newsprint that john q american has read through and the uncountable hours of time he has listened to to help him know how and why he words "land reform" have been and still are the stuff revolutions are made of. he has not read why the kind of economic reforms that martinez wants to see is so hard for cuba and the rest of the world to get . for millions of other americans like him, there has not been much passed onto him through all
5:32 pm
of those ways he has to know about things, which would disprove the ideas that he really is a better human being then cubans, indians, or chinese. after all, compare his life with theirs. if those people had minds just as good as his and can do things just as well as he can, why haven't they done what he has done to live so well? let's get into that one after we have a short timeout. about two months ago i spoke to a half-dozen young people from different parts of south america who are in the soviet union as students here at the university of moscow. their tuition was free, their transportation was paid. all of them were from small towns and villages in their respective countries. when they finish their studies in this place, they intended to
5:33 pm
head back to those towns and villages. how did they feel about this opportunity? very grateful, they told me. what kind of program what that that put them in that university in the soviet capital? it was a special program that began two years ago in communist china and last year in the ussr. to educate and train young ecuadorians, bolivians, paraguayan's, peruvians and the west in the ideas of marx and communism. those young people trained here and were sent back to their villages and towns to wait for the day to do the things that have to be done to stabilize any revolution. if and as castro's revolution goes well, and with communist help, the next 19 chapters of the battle of america are written. the students trained there will have their chance to step into power in the countries and there
5:34 pm
is not much doubt about this. this will happen for much the same reason that cuban communists are moving into power in cuba now. you see, fidel castro could fight a revolution without people trained in economics, finance, problems of transportation and communications. without training and running businesses and industries and agriculture. but castro could not stabilize his revolution without such people. when i asked those young south americans at the university of moscow this summer what courses they were taking, interestingly enough, they were studying economics, finance, problems of transportation, communications, and the rest. it is an important characteristic of revolutions that they leave political, social, and economic vacuums. the people who run revolutions find that they cannot trust the
5:35 pm
people they revolt against. in order to make their futures secure, they often use effective message to make sure people like these will not endanger revolution. this fellow on your screen may have been trained in some important field of government work. but to these men, he is the enemy. in dealing with such enemies, the way you are about to see, what you are about to see, is the stuff that vacuums, would follow revolution, armada. -- are made of. you are witnessing an execution. an execution of a former military commander in cuba. he has been given the choice of giving the command for his own
5:36 pm
execution. and so enemies disappeared. you see, it is an important characteristic of the vacuums created by revolutions. it is an important characteristic of vacuums that any good physics text point -- textbook will point out, that vacuums can be filled easily. who in cuba could castro and his revolutionaries trust? not from the workers. amongst the farming peasants, particularly, from those small towns and villages? who could step in to fill the vacuum after castro came to power? where were the non-communist educated and trained people from small towns and villages to feel that vacuum -- fill that vacuum? what force have we prepared?
5:37 pm
what force are we thinking about preparing now, as the soviet union and communist china are now preparing those young south americans in special schools. what force have we prepared against the day of revolution that was written all over cuba for years? as it was written all over asia and africa for years? and as it is written all over south metro -- south america too , outside of tori sally, that is. those training programs are communism's investment in the future that stalin laid out through places like cuba as the way to a communist future for the world, the same future with mr. khrushchev and mao zedong ensured the world will one day that -- be theirs. what investment are we making to
5:38 pm
ensure that the future will not be khrushchev's or mao zedong's? this is the meeting in miami, florida, in that city's park. this is a group of cuban exiles who call themselves the alliance for liberation. these people have one burning ambition today. that is to see cuba free. but this time, free from castro. there are all kinds of cuban groups like these, most of them disunited, disorganized, but intensely, wholly committed to counterrevolution against castro. >> i was commander of a command base. i was chief of the army school there. when communists were sent to teach at the school, i reported this to fidel castro.
5:39 pm
this was last march. i then realized that fidel castro too with communist. i had to go underground. after three months, i was transported to brazil and then came to the united states. i am a member of the anti-communists and the alliance for liberation. i am ready to join those already fighting castro. >> this is dr. antonio varona. he was prime minister. today he is in exile and counterrevolutionary. then there is dr. carillo.
5:40 pm
he escaped from cuba and is with the democratic revolutionary front. once minister of cuban education, he was a strong anti-bautista man. today, he is preparing to fight castro. he left to medical school to join castro, only to learn later about castro's plans to move qom you -- cuba into the communist world. dr. jose roscoe went to college with fidel castro. today, he is the brains behind the christian democratic movement, the fastest growing counterrevolutionary movement in cuba. the former head of castro's air force was the first cuban official to defect. he came to the united states by sailboat and warned the
5:41 pm
investigating committee about the communist takeover in cuba. to backup the hopes of these groups, tools like these are being collected, secondhand weapons which are loaded into small boats like these for increasingly dangerous trips to cuba, taking in supplies and bringing out refugees and fuser devs -- fugitives. in this way, many exiles have gone back to cuba to fight. many of those exiles have died. many more well. -- many more will. you and i face a problem. are those highly emotional, disorganized, counterrevolutionary cuban forces with no clear-cut program to meet the problems of cuba that those men fought under castro to correct, are those people, armed with the latest weapons, weapons like these, but in their hands, where they
5:42 pm
practice the use of these log wins -- weapons, not far from miami, florida, are men like these, with this kind of training, later to be carried out of the united states in american ships, are these men, and these weapons, to turn cuba into a battleground again? the question is, are those groups you saw and the methods you thought there to be our investment to keep the battle of america from going communism's way in the other 19 countries south of the border? the question is, is this an effective answer to communism? how does this solve the problem of land reform? how does this solve the problem of economic reform? of industrial development? of race prejudice?
5:43 pm
these things are the stuff revolutions are made of in today's world. let's go to mr. mcauley again to get a view of this. >> do you think that the united states should intervene >>? >>i do not have a solution. i would like to see some steps taken. i do not know what the united states can do as far as aiding the cuban people and ridding themselves of the communist dictatorship. i think something more has to be done then what we did in hungary. we have to get these people help, but what help, i cannot say. >> what about the possibilities of cubans within cuba, and exiles, do they have much of a chance? >> i do not think they have much of a chance. the situation gets worse as time
5:44 pm
goes by. the russians are getting a strong gold -- a stranglehold on cuba now. there giving castro everything he needs. >> there is more to come on this subject in just a moment. we live in a world of revolutionaries. from indonesia to cuba, a world of exploding populations, desperately in need of land reform, economic reform, in agriculture and in setting up industries, and a world sensitive to the point of explosion about the idea held by too will -- too many white skinned people that they are better than dark skinned people. these are important things revolutions are made of today.
5:45 pm
but communist did not create them. these problems showed up before the first bolshevik was out of diapers. these problems would be around to spark revolutions if every communist on earth very conveniently were to kick the bucket and die off this minute. communists did not create what today's revolutions are made of. the refuge and -- the russian revolution was not a communist revolution in 1918, but it became one. nothing did more to keep the communists in business in that country for two years ago than the idea that was prescribed then to deal with the stuff of revolution there by backing russian counterrevolutionary groups with bullets. more than three years of bullets and counterrevolution in russia
5:46 pm
did not destroy communism there. for two reasons. first, the bullet has not been made yet that can shoot our way out of the kind of problems that exist in the world of men like the martinezes. second, it was an easy answer to problems that have no easy answer. cuba is not russia. with today's weapons, that island could be wiped out in minutes. but cuba is like russia in the sense that bullets and counterrevolution are no better solution today for the problems of land reform, economic reform, and exploding populations than they were 43 years ago in russia. look hard at history as it happened, particularly during the past 15 years. 15 years and $19 billion after world war ii, despite all of the
5:47 pm
military pacts, the treaties, and defensive alliances we have put through in the best diplomacy, despite military assistance, technical assistance, economic aid, communists have said on the stuff that makes revolutions, have taken over other people's revolution right into cuba here in the western hemisphere for two reasons. first, the dollar has not imprinted yet that can buy our way out of the kind of world that they live in. second, bullets and counterrevolution's are still the easy answer to problems that have no easy answer. there are no easy answers to deal with the stuff revolutions are made of. there are no easy answers to communism. there are only -- there is only
5:48 pm
hard work. hard work by each individual thinking and voting american. who must work hard to understand the survival of our way of life today lies in dealing with the kind of world those men live in. not just understanding it, but willingness to work in it. away from the tourist alleys and the tiled bathroom life to defend america, not just in the battle of america which mr. castor has in mind, but in the battle of the world which communism has in mind for the planet. this means hard work to face head on and deal head-on with the problems of exploding populations, land reform, economic reform, but most important, the demand by human beings everywhere, even here at home, for dignity. to do this by other means and
5:49 pm
bullets and blank checks passed around by blank minds, until we do this, it will not be communism that wins the world, it will be democracy that loses it. i am albert burke. we have not finished with this subject, we will be back. thank you for being with us tonight. good night. ♪
5:50 pm
>> you can watch archival films in their entirety on our weekly series "real america". saturday at 10 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. here on american history tv. this is american history tv on c-span3. each weekend, we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. >> the c-span cities tour travels the country exploring the american story. we have been to more than 200 communities across the nation. like many americans, our staff is staying close to home due to coronavirus. no, a look at one of our cities tour visits. -- next, look at one of our visits. ♪


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on