13 DAYS IN OCTOBER
By Rogelio Madrazo Serra
I had made a point of not attending the exhibit of the October 1962 crisis at the International Museum in Saint Petersburg or seen the Kevin Costner movie 13 days in October because I knew that they will not present the complete story of what happened to the Cuban people as the result of the events depicted at the exhibit and in the movie.
We have been in the Houston area for the last three weeks, sharing time with three of our children that are residents of the Lone Star state. One of my daughters had bought a wide screen TV set and a DVD, and to show us the quality of the picture in the TV one day announced that she had rented the movie, so we watch it. We were not disappointed!
I have no way of judging the accuracy of how the events unfolded as shown in the film, but there are things in it, that are worthwhile commenting to see if the truth can be brought to light.
The principal character in the movie is the advisor to president Kennedy for National Political affairs. This man is a crony of the Kennedys' and his purpose in life is to make the President look good. To this end they have him in several occasions doing things that are not only incredible but also insulting to the military elite of the time. They were all veterans of WW II well respected by everybody with the exception of the Kennedy team. The heads of the military command are presented as reincarnations of Peter Seller in the movie Dr. Strangelove, their only goal, to obliterate Cuba and lead the US into WW III. To this end several times during the presentation we are shown an atomic explosion.
This political advisor is shown talking directly to pilots in Florida just before taking off for missions over Cuba, and in one case making the pilot lie to his superiors. The Secretary of Defense, Mr. McNamara, chews the head of Naval Operations. President Kennedy and his brother make reference to the Bay of Pigs, blaming the same military for the failure. Who decided to eliminate the air strikes from the battle plan?
It is mentioned that the Soviets had in Cuba Tactical Nuclear weapons, whether or not that was known at the time is questionable, remember that in accordance with the film we did not know how many medium range missiles were in Cuba, today we know that those weapons were in Cuba under the control of the top Soviet commander, and that Castro brow beat him to agree to use them if the Marines would have landed!
The movie concludes with the Kennedy - Khruchchev pact that gives the Soviet a guarantee of the permanence of Castro in Cuba. Not a word is uttered about the high price the Cubans have paid and continue to pay by being saddled with the tyrant Castro.
As I have speculated before is it not possible that the Soviets, were encouraged to pursue the missile adventure by the weakness demonstrated by the Kennedy team during the Bay of Pigs episode the year before?
When in Dec of 1962, Mr. Kennedy accepted from the Bay of Pig survivors the flag and promised to return it in a free Cuba, was he lying? Or there was a plan to renounce the recently made promises to the Soviet Union?
All very interesting, the soiling of the reputation of men that had served this country well, the sale of the Cuban nation to the Soviet Empire, a justification for the Bay of Pigs failure all packaged in a way that made it possible for Mr. Costner to sit with Castro in a special preview of its film.
Cuba deserves to be FREE