Graham Greene: Letter On NATO Threat To Cuba
February 21, 1962
To the Editor of The Times
Your excellent leading article today criticizing the American suggestion that NATO countries should aid in the suppression of Dr. Castro’s Cuba will, I feel sure, be welcomed in Brazil and Argentina and in Europe by all who saw something of the regime which Dr. Castro overthrew.
President Batista’s police state, addicted like most police states to the practice of torture, was supported not only by the American government of the time, not only by the more influential racketeers of Las Vegas, who controlled the gambling concessions and brothels of Havana, but also, in a blinkered way, by the present British Government.
With this past happily behind us let us be sure, before we support the policy of the State Department, that Dr. Castro’s regime is really regarded by the population of Cuba as despotic and unjust.
I cannot help remembering a morning in Santiago, then under the military discipline of President Batista, when the streets were full of young children, who had gone on strike from their schools, as a protest against the midnight kidnapping of three girls, the oldest 13, who were held as hostages in the military barracks because their father had fled to the mountains.
Is it reasonable that I, like any other passer-by that day in Santiago, should be distressed at the idea that the measures the Government failed to apply against President Batista should now be employed against Dr. Castro?