J.F. Kennedy contra American Establishment
In 1960 an important change in leadership was about to take place in the the United States. On November 8, 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a senator from Massachusetts, who came from a family of Irish Catholic immigrants, became the youngest man ever and the first Catholic ever to become president of the United States. His father, Joseph Kennedy, was a successful entrepreneur and investor who like many members of the American establishment made money on stock market speculation in the late 1920s. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him in 1934 head of Securities and Exchange Commission and in 1938, he made him US ambassador to the court of St James's in London. He was however recalled from this position in 1940 due to his negative remarks about the Jews and about President Roosevelt whom he described as the victim of “Jewish influence.”407 408 In later years he continued to work behind the scenes building the financial and political capital as he hoped that his children could fulfil his political ambitions. Kennedy wanted his eldest son, a pilot Joe Jr., to become president but after his death in August 1944 in a secret and very dangerous military mission,409 Joseph Kennedy became determined to make his second son, John, a president.
The second of his nine children, Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy was good-natured, intelligent and well educated. During the war he served as naval combat officer in the South Pacific and proved his ability to make quick decisions under stress caring for welfare of those around him. For his service in the war John F. Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism. In 1949, John Kennedy represented 11 district of Massachusetts in the House of Representatives and in 1952 he was elected to the US senate and the following year he married a pretty and intelligent journalist Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, daughter of a Wall Street stockbroker of French descent, John Bouvier. She and her younger sister Caroline, who married a Polish Prince, Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł, were brought up in a conviction that money and power is all that matters in life.410 In the early years of their marriage, Jacqueline Bouvier and John Kennedy faced several personal setbacks. John Kennedy suffered from chronic and at times debilitating back pain exacerbated by a war injury, whilst Jacqueline suffered a miscarriage in 1955, and in 1956 gave a birth to a stillborn daughter, Arabella. Despite these obstacles, John Kennedy pursued his political dreams with unceasing determination. On January 2, 1960 he announced his candidacy for Democratic presidential nomination. His father financed and managed his political aspirations, yet because of his Roman Catholicism and his support for Joseph McCarthy's anticommunist rhetoric, his presence in John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign had to be downplayed. Although young and inexperienced, John Kennedy's charisma and eloquence earned him many supporters. He supported civil rights movement, immigrants and labour unions. After his appearance in a first televised presidential debate in the United States, John F. Kennedy was ahead of his rival Republican candidate, Richard Nixon. On Election day, November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in national popular vote by just two-tenths of one percent while in the Electoral College he won 303 votes to Nixon's 219.
Immediately after being sworn, John Kennedy had no other choice but to seek the advice and support of the American Establishment - the lawyers and bankers from Wall Street: Dean Acheson, Robert Lovett and Averell Harriman. On Lovett's recommendation, the Department of State went to David Dean Rusk, former Rhodes Scholar and Rockefeller Foundation trustee, who in 1945 drew the boundary line that permanently divided Korean state. Department of Defense went to Robert Strange McNamara, president of Ford Motor Company which financed and profited from both Nazi-Germany and the Soviet Union. Department of Treasury went to Clarence Douglas Dillon, Harvard graduate, and former vice president and director of Dillon, Read and Company, an investment bank which in 1920s took part in floating loans to Germany thus assisting in the buildup of the Nazi-German military-industrial complex.411 Rockefeller's man, John McCloy, was appointed as advisor to arms control, George Kennan took up ambassadorship in Yugoslavia, whilst post of the National Security Advisor went to McGeorge Bundy, a veteran member of secret Scull and Bones Society at Yale.
One of the central issues facing John Kennedy were CIA's operations in Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean situated on the doorstep of the United States. Under the rule of the US ally, Fulgencio Batista, much of the island’s agriculture and industry was owned by the American corporations and mafia who benefited from low paid Cuban labour. American-Jewish playwright Arthur Miller described Batista's Cuba as "hopelessly corrupt, a Mafia playground, (and) a bordello for Americans and other foreigners.”412 A young law graduate of Jesuit-run El-Colegio de Belén in Havana by name of Fidel Castro saw the exploitation of Cuba by the American elites and decided to enter revolutionary path to eradicate US influence from Cuba once and for all. He participated in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, and engaged in politics in Cuba but his legal aspirations were thwarted by a military coup of the US ally, Fulgencio Batista. On July 26, 1953 Fidel Castro and his supporters launched an attack on the army barracks in Santiago de Cuba, hoping to incite the Revolution. The assault had failed and many young Cubans lost their lives in the attack. Fidel and his younger brother Raúl were sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Whilst imprisoned, Fidel Castro read books on Marx, Lenin, Fraud, Kant and Dostoyevski, re-naming his revolutionary group the 26th of July Movement and adopting the Marxist view of bringing political change through proletariat revolution. He wrote a political manifesto La Historia me Absolverá (History will Absolve me), proposing to restore democracy and ending social inequality in Cuba. Thus, like many leaders before him, Fidel Castro was permitted to grow as revolutionary leader by the US elites, who constantly employed Hegelian dialectic in the game of the balancing powers. After a year in prison, Castro and his supporters were released under general amnesty laws. Fidel Castro then traveled with his brother Raúl Castron to Mexico where he joined forces with Ernesto "Che" Guevara, an Argentine Marxist revolutionary of Irish and Basque descent, previously involved in Guatemala's social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz. After touring the US in search for wealthy supporters, the group sailed to Cuba and set up a camp in thickly forested mountain range of the Sierra Maestra, from where Castro and his revolutionaries led guerrilla attacks against Batista's forces. Castro's guerrilla warfare, supported by urban underground movement under leadership of Frank País García, led to the steady crumbing of Batista's power. In the early 1959, Batista escaped to Dominican Republic, whilst Fidel Castro and his supports seized power. Castro immediately began the agrarian reform project by nationalizing plantation lands owned by both Cuban and US investors. He introduced social reforms improving education, health care, and infrastructure. In February 1960, he signed a trade agreement with Soviet trade minister Anastas Mikoyan, agreeing to provide the USSR with sugar, in return for crude oil, fertilizers, industrial goods and a $100 million loan. This was a fundamental change in the balance of powers, as the Soviet Russia acquired an ally in western hemisphere through which it could project its power onto Latin American nations. Relations between Cuba and the U.S. were further strained following the explosion of a French vessel, the La Coubre, with weapons on board, in Havana harbor in March 1960. Castro immediately accused the US of sabotage. At that point President Eisenhower ordered CIA Director Allen Dulles to devise the means to get rid of Castro’s regime. He provided them with a budget of $13million and permitted them to ally with the Mafia whose brothels and casino businesses were closed down.413 The agents were going to spread the anti-Castro propaganda to cause a domestic uprising in Cuba. This project was led by Dick Bissell, Yale graduate who worked for the Marshall Plan and the Ford Foundation and was one of Allen's trusted aides. Most of the officers Bissell assembled for the anti-Castro campaign were veterans of the Guatemala campaign, when CIA successfully overthrew President of Guatemala Jacobo Arbenz to protect the interests of United Fruit Company.414 Meanwhile, in June 1960, the first shipment of crude oil arrived in Cuba. Castro requested that US oil companies in Cuba refine one million barrels of Soviet crude. They refused, so on June 29, the Cuban government nationalized the US oil companies. In October 1960, the United States imposed trade embargo on Cuba, which, according to a senior US state official, aimed “to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the [Castro] government.”415
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408 Further reading: David Nassaw, The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy (The Penguin Press, 2012); Bill Bonanno, Gary B. Abromovitz, Mafia: The Final Secrets: The Last Confessions of a Mob Godfather (Mainstream Digital, 2012) »
409 Brian Jones, 'JFK's Older Brother Died Testing The First Drones in WWII', Business Insider, 22 November 2013 https://www.businessinsider.com/jfks-brother-died-testing-drones-in-wwii-2013-11?IR=T »
410 Further reading: Lee Radziwill, Happy Times. What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love (Scribner; Reprint edition, 2007) »
411 Sutton, Wall Street And The Rise of Hitler, p. 29 »
412 Samuel Farber, “Cuba before the Revolution”, Jacobin Magazine, 6 September 2015 »
413 Peter G. Bourne, A Biography of Fidel Castro (New York City: Dodd, Mead & Company,1986), p. 202, 211-213; Levcester Coltman The Real Fidel Castro (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 172-173 »
414 Marcelo Bucheli, “Multinational corporations, totalitarian regimes, and economic nationalism: United Fruit Company in Central America, 1988-1975”, Business History, vol. 50, 2008, Issue 4, pp. 433-454 »
415 Maurice Jourdane, “Effect of Cuban Embargo”, Huffpost, 5 May 2015 »