A Listening Post in Miami
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF INTELLIGENCE
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In early January 1959, Fidel Castro forced the ouster of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and would soon assume control in Havana. I had no inkling that within two weeks I would be in Miami as head-and sole staffer-of a newly authorized field office of the Domestic Contacts Division in the Directorate of Intelligence. My task would be to monitor and report on developments in Cuba.. The Headquarters briefing was short and not particularly enlightening as to my new duties Basically, use your own good judgment. Raul Castro and Che Guevara were definitely identified as Communists, but Fidels political status was still uncertain. The New York Times had no such doubt. Herbert L. Matthews, its Latin American expert, viewed Castro as a latter-day Robin Hood, whose program although vague and couched in generalities, represents a New Deal for Cuba. When I arrived in Miami, the first wave of Cuban refugees had landed, some on their yachts, with jewels and objets dart. Palm Beach became a safehaven for Batistianos, including Batistas son-in-law. In contacts with them, I was never impressed with their opposition to Castro, although one offered the services of the captain of his yacht, who would do anything CIA desired. The trickle of refugees soon became a flood as the signs of a Communist state became more evident through the intervention of businesses and property. It did not take long for Robin Hood to change roles, and Castros firing squads took care of several hundred dissidents, including a number of Americans.
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