UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 27, 2009

RECOVERED HISTORY: EUGENE MCCARTHY'S SECRET MEETING WITH CHE GUEVARA

Al Eisele, The Hill - In an intriguing and little-known episode worthy of a Cold War spy novel, [Eugene McCarthy] held a secret meeting with Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara in New York in 1964, which could have paved the way for repairing the half century-old rupture of U.S.-Cuban relations that continues to this day.

Not even McCarthy's Senate colleagues or even most of his aides knew of his clandestine meeting with Guevara, then the Cuban Minister of Industry and Fidel Castro's closest confidant. The meeting took place on Dec. 16, 1964, in the Park Avenue apartment of Lisa Howard, a TV journalist with close ties to the Cuban dictator.

The only account of the meeting, which set off alarm bells in the White House, is contained in a secret memorandum in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, which was uncovered by Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archives, a Washington-based public policy research center. . .

Kennedy was reportedly moving towards a rapproachment with Cuba at the time of his assassination, and Howard continued her efforts in the Johnson administration, but got nowhere because President Johnson feared it would damage his election prospects in 1964. But after Johnson won a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater, his aides resumed efforts to explore closer Cuban ties.

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