Document Friday: Che Guevara Thanks the United States for the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
At 2:00 AM on 22 August 1961 White House aid Dick Goodwin met with Che Guevara at cocktail party after the Inter-American Economic and Social Council conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Che wore his “green fatigues, and his usual overgrown and scraggly beard.” Guevara spoke “calmly and in a straightforward manner,” and the discussion ranged from the possibility of a modus vivendi between Cuba and the US; to the need for the Kennedy administration to understand the Cuban Revolution; to an analysis of Fidel Castro’s psyche; to the the Cuban economic policy on its island and throughout Latin America; to Guantanamo Bay; and even about various plane thefts. (The whole conversation is worthy of a read, it’s a very nice write up by Goodwin.)
Then, as their conversation wound down, Guevara “went on to say that he wanted to thank us [the United States] very much for the invasion –that it had been a great political victory for them– enabled them to consolidate — and transformed them from an aggrieved little country to an equal.”
It’s in the spirit of Commandante Che (joke) that I would like to thank the CIA very much for their recent response to a FOIA request for the final volume of their history of the Bay of Pigs invasion. By stating in DC Federal Court that its release would “confuse the public” and must remain classified as a “predecisional” document, the Agency has transformed me from an aggrieved little FOIA requester — and enabled me to demonstrate the CIA’s frequent excessive secrecy overreach.