EURO-CUBA NEWS: Missile Crisis (3) - 17/10/02
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1) The truth about Cuba’s participation in the crisis is clearly established - Granma International
2) Schlesinger states that all participants talked from a constructive and peaceful perspective - GI
Granma International 
October 14, 2002

The truth about Cuba’s participation in the crisis is clearly established

• Affirms José Ramón Fernández, vice president of the Council of Ministers

VICE President of the Council of Ministers José Ramón Fernández, who headed the Organizing Committee of the recently held conference on the October Missile Crisis, told Granma International that the meeting allowed the truth about the persons involved and Cuba’s conduct during and after the crisis to be clearly established.”

But although the world may have thought the October Crisis lasted only 13 days, in Fernández’ opinion the dangerous and insecure situation for Cuba did not end once the Soviet missiles were removed from the island at the end of 1962. “If we’re going to speak of crisis we have to take another look at the early years of the Revolution when there were very clear attempts to assassinate leaders of the revolutionary movement. The permanent hostility, the blockade, diplomatic aggression, sabotage, assassination attempts, pressure on other countries not to invest in Cuba, fabricated lies, and prohibiting people to travel to the island,” all constitute, in his opinion, more than eloquent examples.

Nonetheless, he said the conference’s debates demonstrated that a culture of peace could be constructed. “People openly said what they wanted to and what they were thinking, in mutual respect for others’ opinions. We weren’t looking to create confrontation among positions, but to contrast one another’s opinions and information and contribute to a clarification of the truth.

With respect to that difficult time in 1962, he recalled the words of Che who considered the days “enlightening and sad.” Sad - Fernández stated - because of how the crisis was handled and how it ended (referring to the solution decided by the two Powers, taken without consulting the Revolutionary government). Enlightening because, independent of the unfavorable conditions created, the revolutionary leadership knew how to remain strong, clearly explain the situation to the Cuban people, and in its five points defined the objectives that both the Cuban government and our adversaries should follow.”

Cuba wanted the five points to be considered and fulfilled after the United States and the former Soviet Union negotiated an end to the Missile Crisis. They included the right of the small island not to be subjected to further U.S. aggression, that is: sabotage, terrorist attacks, introduction of counterrevolutionary forces, death threats and blockade. The return of the territory occupied by the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo was also requested.

“These are our rights. We aren’t asking them to give us anything. Even though we didn’t succeed in the fulfillment of our aims, the Cuban people have stood firm for more than 40 years.

“When one reflects on this event and looks back,” Fernández highlighted, “any man or woman in the world - and the 74 U.S. participants here are no exception, on the contrary - can see how much reason was on our side, and how dangerous our adversaries have made life for us throughout so many years.” (Marelys Valencia)


Granma International 
October 14, 2002

Schlesinger states that all participants talked from a constructive and peaceful perspective

HISTORICAL protagonists of the Cold War’s most dramatic days, as the October Crisis has been called, have agreed in highlighting the lessons of this year’s conference. This is also the case of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., advisor to the late John F. Kennedy.

Schlesinger, who played an important role in the decision-making of those days, confirmed he was convinced the meeting had been a success, he had found it very useful and believes that once again all those who played their part in the October 1962 events plus present-day scholars have learned a lot.

Whilst talking to the National News Agency (AIN), Schlesinger noted the importance of the recently concluded document declassification, considering it productive and useful for the recent meeting, recognizing its contribution in helping to understand opinions and decisions adopted at a specific moment.

The 85 year-old politician assured he was happy to participate in the event where everyone spoke from a constructive and peaceful perspective.

He shared his opinion that it was useful to clarify as much as possible what had happened for the sake of history, because memories begin to fade with the passing of time. For example, someone presents a document and asks ‘why did the president sign this’ and in all honesty one may not remember the text nor the reason it was signed.


Regarding the controversial rumor that Kennedy was considering improving relations with Cuba after the October Crisis, his former advisor -considered one of the men most identified with the assassinated president - firmly confirmed the theory.

Schlesinger noted that he was a direct witness to those intentions, and recalled how Kennedy had mentioned more than once that, despite other issues demanding his attention, the president was thinking of ways and means for having better rapprochment with Havana.

When asked if he remembered what steps the president planned to take to make that happen, Schlesinger mentioned a letter, the contents of which he could not specifically recall, which was addressed to the Cuban government and sent via the Brazilian government.

He concluded by stating that Kennedy’s efforts were cut short by his assassination at the end of that year.