The Cuban Embassy in Uruguay, 1959–1964
Summary and Keywords
The 1959 Cuban Revolution, the revolution’s subsequent strengthening, and the radical change that the process underwent beginning in 1961 marked a turning point in the history of Latin America. It implied the largest and most consistent regional challenge faced by the United States in an area where its influence had often been decisive. From then on, the Latin American Cold War intensified at every level. It was no longer about the “reactive” actions that took place among the conservative Latin American elite via the communism inspired by distant Moscow.
In Cuba, the culture of the “revolution” was established, and the consequences were far from mere symbolism: Cubans also launched actions of “alternative diplomacy” to lend institutional support to the Latin American guerrilla movements. However, there is no documented study on Cuba’s role in Latin America. This is explicable in large part by the secrecy with which the Caribbean isle has made archival research in the country impossible.
Although this secrecy is understandable in view of its nature as a heavily beleaguered revolution from abroad, this culture of secrecy contributed to expanding a production of journalistic and essay-based denunciation that habitually lacked rigor and interpretive frameworks. Since 2010, a certain spirit of openness has existed in the matter, an example of which is purported to be linked to the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose historical repository has slowly begun to receive researchers, principally from abroad.
Drawing upon the anxiety and curiosity of the international historiographic community about the images originating from Havana, an initial approach and investigation was carried out in the aforementioned tradition, with the aim of shedding light on several of the actions deployed by the Cuban Embassy in Uruguay during the initial and intense years of the Caribbean revolution.
“The Cubans continue to owe us their archives,” insisted historian Daniela Spenser, a specialist on the subject of Latin American Cold War history, during a conference. Since 2004, the field of studies has broadened considerably at the global level but especially in the region, adding new topics, perspectives, and players to the international debate. Several of these had gone unnoticed in the traditional narratives of the Cold War, always closely related to the disputes among the political-diplomatic elites and the rivalry between the intelligence services of the major world powers.
As we know, a large part of this expansion has been possible due to three key issues. The first draws on an epistemological renewal postulated nearly twenty years ago by various specialists who insisted on the necessity of considering the history of the United States and Latin America according to a new conceptual framework in which not everything could be explained in terms of the variables of “domination” and “resistance.” Second, and closely linked to the first issue, the aforementioned expansion is also part of the prioritizing approaches in which the center from which the Cold War is observed and interpreted is the so-called global South, thus intensely disputing the placement and character—indeed, not marginal issues—of Latin America in the Cold War narratives. Additionally, and as the third point, the tireless expansion is due to the incursion of a number of researchers who have been granted access to various historical repositories, primarily in Latin America, that were formerly restricted to specialists.1
Beginning with the revolutionary triumph of 1959, Cuba was a relevant player in the Cold War. Contradicting their size, history, and geographic position, the Cuban revolutionaries openly challenged the United States in its own “backyard.” This partly constituted a security strategy, which they carried out with particular care in Latin America. How did the Cuban revolutionaries intend to deploy their revolutionary action of Cuban diplomacy in the region? Despite the relevance of this topic—and others that are directly related, such as questions of internationalism or intelligence actions carried out—our knowledge remains scarce.
Cuba is still extremely wary of opening its historical archives to researchers. In spite of this, and only since 2010, has there been a spirit of openness about the material, as seen, for example, at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose repository has slowly begun to receive researchers. Following an initial approach and investigation carried out in the aforementioned tradition, it became possible to shed light on several of the actions of the Cuban Embassy in Uruguay during the initial and intense years of the Caribbean revolution.
The Historical Archive of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Investigating the anticommunist agenda that linked the Central American and Caribbean dictators of the 1950s, I successfully completed the necessary paperwork that permitted research in the Cuban archive in October of 2015. At the same time as the study of sources related to the topic presented here, I began examining the relationship between Cuba and Uruguay, principally covering the research of the period between 1959 and September 1964, the moment at which the first formal break occurred between the two countries.
In Havana, a researcher receives scarce general information about the collections preserved there, the requirements for accessing them, or the system used to classify the sources. There are also no comprehensive catalogs or file systems to help with this work, and the filing cabinets and personnel have suffered considerable losses. Some are the result of the history of political upheaval; others stem from equally extreme natural phenomena, especially hurricanes, which, accompanied by heavy rains, have battered some of the areas where historical documentation was stored. It is also important to note the caution and secrecy with which employees must proceed when accessing records related to the revolution. Following any search carried out in response to the express request of a researcher, a no less meticulous process of revision is carried out by the Ministry’s chief of collections, Manuel Agramonte Sánchez, ex-combatant from the Sierra Maestra, internationalist, and ambassador of his country in Angola and Guinea. These actions can be explained by and also make up part of a safety strategy, understandable for a country so beleaguered by the outside world. Especially keeping Latin America in mind, as Piero Gleijeses explains, this constituted the “natural habitat” for Cubans.2
It is therefore crucial to stress the incomplete and fragmentary nature of the records consulted, lamenting the discontinuity and gaps that exist in certain relevant topics.
A Brief History: Uruguay and Cuba
It is not easy to trace a narrative describing the historical relationship between Uruguay and Cuba. The dispersion and relative absence of resources on the subject is difficult to resolve. All records indicate that neither country considered the relationship with the other to be strategic, other than the proximity supposed by the representation of Uruguay by José Martí, a Cuban national hero living in the United States, at the end of the 19th century when Pan-Americanism emerged.3
As has occurred with many other periods of Uruguayan international history, Uruguay’s relationship with Cuba, as well as with members of the Caribbean in general, exhibits numerous gaps. Naturally, the Caribbean region was not a priority within the framework of establishing a foreign policy that traditionally was most attentive to its closest neighbors. This was in spite of the fact that Cuba’s importance in the historical formation of the Pan-American—and later, Inter-American—regional systems preceded the 1959 Revolution. Among other various possible considerations, the legacy of the Platt Amendment is notable because it led to the region speaking out against interference by the United States—principally in Central America and the Caribbean—and to persistent efforts to make the powerful neighbor to the north respect the “no intervention” principle. The early and profound call to pan-Americanism from Uruguay moderated the anti-American criticisms that had clearly been felt at the local level since the 1920s and were especially strong at the pan-American conferences held in 1933 in Montevideo and in 1936 in Buenos Aires.
The scarce documentation available indicates that the distant start of the relationship between Cuba and Uruguay dates back to the early 20th century, when the Cuban government designated General Calito Enamorado as its consul in Uruguay, in 1903.4 It is likely that this decision was a response to a similar move by the Uruguayan government, but there is no evidence of this. The first documentation we have is the Executive Decree officiated by Uruguayan president José Batlle y Ordóñez appointing Luis Melián Lafinur as envoy to the United States, Mexico, and Cuba simultaneously, in 1906.5 Just five years later, the first legation with a resident official was created in Havana,6 and by 1951, it had been elevated to embassy status.7
The coup d’état executed in March 1952 by Fulgencio Batista and the start of a military regime hardened the traditionally democratic Uruguay, which was reluctant to recognize Cuba’s changed circumstances. The southern hemisphere nation questioned the means employed by Batista as well as his use of the military. This was explicitly stated in a confidential report from the Cuban Embassy in Uruguay, proclaiming the negative burden placed on Uruguay by the military factions. The report also questioned the caution with which Uruguay was proceeding in its international approach regarding the recognition of regimes that resulted in the use of force. Eventually, compelled by circumstances in a region where the defense of a democratic approach was habitually ignored, Uruguay did recognize Batista, reluctantly and in order to avoid being “left isolated in the American continent,” as the Cuban ambassador declared.8
As part of a strategy dedicated to improving its image, the following year, in 1953, Cuba dispatched an ambassador to Uruguay—Mariano Brull, a well-known poet whose diplomatic experience was also highly regarded.9 However, Brull, who indeed contributed to the aforementioned objective, renounced his position less than a year after arriving in the south. Most likely—although the documentation on this is only suggestive, not conclusive—Brull made his decision based on the repressive characteristics for which Batista’s government was infamous.
What remains clear is that these events altered the bilateral bond between the two countries in a significant way. Numerous sources confirm that, faced with ongoing excesses of the Cuban dictatorship, the Uruguayan Embassy in Cuba began to take an active role in offering political asylum. The climate of violence required it, and the authorized mission in Havana became a safe haven for various members of the 26th of July Movement, who fled there to save their lives. This can be seen in the records the Uruguayan Embassy sent to the Foreign Ministry in Montevideo, work of documentation that had been undertaken by Dr. Raúl Roa, who, along with his wife, had sought asylum in Uruguay in 1953. (Roa would eventually return to Cuba, where he was elected dean of the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Havana and, later, named revolutionary Foreign Minister.)10 The secret police siege and the “summary proceedings” carried out by the so-called Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities (BRAC) were fearsome.11
Two brief examples of these claims illustrate this point. Both occurred in 1957—that is, after it had been confirmed that Castro’s revolutionary movement was still alive in the Sierra Maestra following a failed attack of the previous year.
In December 1957, Julio Casas, the Uruguayan ambassador, clarified the reasons for granting asylum to a Cuban pharmacy employee who, after being reported for his involvement in “subversive acts” in the 26th of July Movement, he had been left on “conditional release.” “How can asylum be explained,” Casas asked, “when the Court found no sufficient cause for his conviction? In fact, it is from this moment on that he runs a greater risk, because he is now at the mercy of the Military Intelligence Service, the police, and the Office of Investigation of Enemy Activities, which generally issues summary proceedings using weapons.” The process continued with “a final notice” that was “sent by this Office and published in the press, giving an account of how the individual accused of subversive activities was caught red-handed and using weapons, which obligated them to fend off the attack. That is how the matter ended. This seems unreal. Unfortunately the incident is repeated daily.”12
Six months earlier, Casas had noted the “absurdity” of any procedure in the country by which, for “minimal reasons” and “often with no motive,” Cubans were “pursued, arrested, and sentenced.” On the island, “the resource of Habeas Corpus has no meaning nor legal scope; therefore, the loss of liberty and risk of death [are] the most common grounds for diplomatic asylum. This unjustly forms a prosecutorial file (paquete) against a citizen, he is arrested, submitted to torture, and a crime and a sentence are declared by the Emergency Court, whose legal responsibility is highly dubious. It is the fear of torture that drives the expatriation of citizens. The majority of the corpses found on the outskirts of the city show evidence of torture.” In addition to this “routine” mention in passing, the ambassador was concerned about the future: “There is every reason to believe that an abrupt change of Government would be met with retaliation as painful or worse than what the country is currently experiencing. We quite simply do not know where this will lead, but those in opposition to the Power have assumed the task of overthrowing it, ‘no matter the consequences, including the very worst.’”13
Meanwhile, in Montevideo, Batista’s representative did not feel comfortable in the building that had been built to serve the interests of his country, and terminated the lease early in spite of the high cost.14 He subsequently communicated to his government that he had found a “very adequate” place in the luxury hotel Victoria Plaza, where he rented an “apartment”: “It is very costly . . . but the good name of Cuba and of its representative require it.” It was not just a matter of the usual opulence that characterized the diplomatic world: he feared “a possible attack” by Cuban exiles in Montevideo, as had “happened in Caracas, Quito, Santiago, and Buenos Aires.”15 The fear was not unfounded: the region was in a state of turmoil. That month, United States vice president Richard Nixon, while on a goodwill tour through Latin America, became the target of numerous acts of violence, many of which were motivated by the continued North American support of the regional dictators. Batista was indeed one of them, along with Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Marcos Pérez Jiménez in Venezuela, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, and Gustavo Rojas Pinilla in Colombia.
Several months later, the rift between Uruguay and Cuba was evident. It could be seen in the discomfort exhibited by the Cuban representative in Río de la Plata, in August 1958, when he reported that the Uruguayan ambassador had received a delegate from Fidel Castro. His report noted the difficulties he faced in the Uruguayan political arena: for example, the adviser and ex-president Luis Batlle Berres had yet to grant him an audience, as correct protocol required. The procedure had been initiated by the representative in April, and four months later, he had still received no response to the request, but the newspaper Acción—owned by Batlle—“insist[ed] on making comments contrary to our situation.”16
Reluctantly, the United States also began to withdraw its traditional support for the Cuban dictator, beginning in March 1958.17 Without the powerful ally, during the final hours, Batista turned to Trujillo and secured his help. However, his fate was sealed, and at the end of 1958, Batista left the country. Early and abruptly, an intense decade was to begin in 1959.
“With Revolutionary Greetings of Motherland or Death”: The Cuban Embassy in Uruguay, 1959–1964
With the purpose of streamlining Cuban documentation, in this paper we propose the re-examination of existing documents beginning with the three dimensions that can be identified while investigating their contents.
Before addressing each of these, two remarks must be made: First, we postulate here that although the work will primarily consider the diplomatic sources surveyed in Havana, it is not a one-way approach as the proposal does not disregard other types of documents such as Uruguayan police reports and diplomatic records. Second, these three dimensions are complementary to one another and are not to be considered independently, underscoring that the objective of this choice exclusively responds to the necessity to give a meticulous description of the empirical evidence.
The “Cuban Question” and Its “Notable Influence”
The first level of analysis is centered on a plane that can be referred to as “local” because it constitutes a contribution that allows us to explore the internal repercussions that provoked the Cuban revolutionary process and also the material written by the Caribbean diplomacy regarding the Uruguayan social, economic, and political deterioration.
Among the records, the weekly political reports, quarterly chronologies, and general historical information on Cuba, its political history, geography, and military composition stand out, as do those on the reconciliation with certain Uruguayan figures, especially from the traditional parties. However, the nearly complete lack of material on the relationships with representatives from the local left is striking, as is the detailed manner in which the Cubans notified their superiors of any expressions of anticommunism, commonly said to be coming from the “helpers of imperialism.”
At the beginning of 1959, Cuba and Uruguay were in transition. On the Caribbean island, the revolution had been triumphant, and now a profound political and administrative restructuring was taking place. In distant Río de la Plata, the Partido Nacional, which until then had always been the opposing party, won the 1958 elections in November, and was preparing for the first time to begin the task of governing, having ousted the other historic party, the Partido Colorado.
During the period of readjustment, the Cubans took steps to facilitate the change in leadership, which was finally completed. This ensured the continuity of diplomatic relations and, as a result, contributed to the international recognition of the revolutionary government.
In this context, the emergence in the local scene of Cuban revolutionary victory came quickly. With a certain unanimity, positive remarks came one after another. However, very early on, the process showed the world a radical character with regard to the dizzying pace of changes. For example, among the various tasks the revolutionary leadership carried out were issuing summary judgments against members of the army under the “Batista dictatorship” and the famous Operación Verdad (Operation Truth), with which the revolutionaries acted as the defense in the proceedings. As the Uruguayan ambassador in Havana had predicted, the rebels’ victory had provided them with the opportunity to settle several accounts, and the sentences against several notable Batista “enforcers” altered the positive image of the victorious Cubans who had recently come into power.
Here we locate what could be defined as a first approach between the governments of Cuba and Uruguay. It took place in March–April 1959, when a group of seven Cuban “guerrillas” landed in Montevideo, making a stop on a larger seven-country tour of Latin America. The tour was part of the aforementioned Operación Verdad: the guerrillas paid personal visits to each country to explain their revolutionary measures at public events and in private meetings. The main idea was to cut through the journalism barrier because, as the emissaries complained, America had no independent news agencies. The reception in Uruguay and the actions carried out—all of which took place in a narrow period of time—illustrate the positive openness with which those in Uruguay initially regarded the revolution: police intelligence confirmed the arrival, limiting its press release so that there was no mention of “communism.”18 The Cuban visitors were received as official guests, and their lodging was paid for by the capital government. The interim diplomat for the embassy in transition was pleased with the solidarity demonstrations of the Uruguayan people that showed support for the revolution and the gestures of gratitude.19 This can be seen in the first of the documents that we cite in relation to this dimension.
Shortly after that visit, in May 1959, Fidel Castro arrived in the Uruguayan capital, with a broad agenda that also included visits to Argentina and Brazil. A journalist who interviewed Castro on the plane before it took off from Uruguay after the visit noted that one of his assistants was sitting beside him, Celia Sánchez, who was keeping track of the twelve hundred letters and eight hundred telegrams that had been gathered in Montevideo. No record of these letters and telegrams appears in the diplomatic documentation on the visit. There is also no evidence of any report, evaluation, or mention of Sánchez’s presence on Uruguayan soil. However, the impact of those forty-four hours was substantial: Castro’s labor-intensive tour was well-received wherever he went in the capital city. He gave an emotional speech in front of thousands of people in the city center, something unprecedented for a visitor.20
Several months later, a detailed report to the Directorate of Latin American Affairs from the Cuban ambassador seems to warn of the efforts of the precarious diplomatic mission by concealing one of its primary functions: getting to know the “people” and the “organizations” who were in favor of or against Cuba. The seven-page document reveals the early breach that began the revolution at the domestic level. Despite the shortness of the visit, the Cubans felt that the radicalization was palpable among students, as well as those in the political sectors. The rift was felt less among the working classes, where “the large majority of Unions . . . are on the side of the Revolution.” It was pointed out that the analysis must have considered the differences between Montevideo and the rest of the country, where opposition to Cuba was greater “due to a lack of propaganda.” Among the young students, who were mostly university students, although some division was clear, Cubans understood that “the vast majority of the student body” in the capital “supports us firmly.”21
The year 1960 was one of a strengthening and an expanding of diplomatic relations between Uruguay and Cuba. The Cuban mission in Montevideo was elevated to the rank of embassy, and Mario García Incháustegui, a renowned diplomat of the revolution, arrived to in the city to fill the post of ambassador. His arrival can be interpreted as an indicator of the importance the Rioplatense country seemed to have for the Cuban regime. It took place at the end of February 1960, several days before US president Dwight Eisenhower also arrived in Montevideo. The precariousness of the Cuban representation was apparent: there was no “strongbox nor furniture appropriate for the security and safekeeping of valuable objects and documents.”22 They were not identified among the Cuban documents delivered in the file, nothing like the arrival of “Ike.” Nonetheless, Cuba had made a strong impression. This was symbolized, along with many hostile demonstrations against the US president, by a large sign that a group of university students displayed where Eisenhower would see it, on the rooftop of the Department of Architecture building. It read, “Fuera el imperialismo yanqui de América Latina. Viva la Revolución Cubana” (Yankee imperialism out of Latin America. Long live the Cuban Revolution).23
Months later in the turbulent year of 1960, when the prominence of the Cuban Revolution was growing exponentially, the chargé d’affaires, Juan David, reported on two other topics that were relevant to Havana, detailing, first, expressions of solidarity with the regime and, second, the growing displays of anticommunist sentiment. Concerning the first, David described the July 26 march, during the so-called Week of Solidarity with Cuba. He highlighted the meticulous organization as well as the breadth of its concentration—“extremely numerous,” in his words. Between chants—among them, “Cuba sí, yanquis no” (Yes to Cuba, no to Yankees)—the throng of demonstrators, numbering some “40,000,” marched the fifteen blocks from the university to the Plaza Libertad in the capital Center. Throughout the march, they did not stop “cheering for the Revolution and for its highest leaders.” However, it was not all a show of solidarity: the government had taken “military precautions” that were described as “unusual,” and there was an intimidating “large police and military presence.”24 Parallel to and as part of this gradual process of internal radicalization applicable to the entire Uruguayan political and social spectrum, a clear tendency can be seen in the same sense of the police intelligence service. Therefore, and as numerous indications can prove, the secret police of Uruguay were exercising greater and more intense forms of control over anything related to Cuba. Likely spurred by the local division of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),25 the police gave special attention to the Cuban ambassador’s activities, which were closely followed in 1960.26 Benito Nardone, who had a background in journalism and had garnered a great deal of support among the rural sectors, occupied the role of president of the executive branch. He was, furthermore, a key player for the CIA, who had recruited him as a political operator. This helps to explain the urgency with which Nardone, before completing his term on March 1, 1961, got the collective body to declare both García Incháustegui and the first secretary of the USSR Embassy in Uruguay personae non gratae in Uruguay. This measure, approved in January 1961, marked the beginning of a year that would include tensions already exposed, some important signs of political violence, which would take some of its first victims.
In this context, it is worth pointing out the detailed memorandum sent by the former ambassador Incháustegui to the Directorate of Latin American Affairs upon his return to Havana. It contained a summary of the principal confidential reports—none of which could be consulted—that he had sent from Montevideo during the previous year about the influential conservative politician Eduard Víctor Haedo, who went on to serve as president of the country from March 1961 to March 1962. Haedo, he wrote, was the “number one demagogue of Uruguayan politics”: “He says one thing today and tomorrow, with perfect calm, declares the contrary.” The memorandum makes it clear that Haedo felt sympathy toward Castro, though Haedo admired “the leader” and preferred “not to know the revolutionary.” Incháustegui, however, made it known to his superiors that the social situation in Uruguay was likely to worsen dramatically and that it was his impression that “the Uruguayan people will defend themselves, first through legal means, and later resorting to others.”27 This brief line constitutes the only passage in Cuban documentation that insinuates this kind of warning.
The escalation of internal tensions and the radicalization of positions, principally in the right-wing sectors—which could count on police permissiveness—were also reactions to international acts whose repercussions were being felt at the local level—John F. Kennedy’s launch of the Alliance for Progress and, a month later, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, provoking protests in the streets. Havana was following the situation in Uruguay attentively: in March and April of 1961, precise instructions arrived in Montevideo directing the embassy to produce weekly reports. One of these reports highlighted a principal concern: the violent spread of anticommunism. The report emphasized the “ideological persecution” and the physical harassment experienced by several members of the timid Support Committee for the Cuban Revolution in Minas de Corrales, in the Rivera Department, which bordered Brazil and was located 280 miles from Montevideo. This anticommunism had emerged in response to the solidarity with the revolution that had been expressed in a variety of sectors after the April invasion. Several local teachers and professors had participated. In an area defined by the Cubans as “latifundista”—belonging to large estate owners—they did not have to wait long for a response from the local authorities. Members of the committee were accused of being “traitors”; parents took their children out of school and “gathered signatures” to stop them; a “town assembly” took place, declaring them “unwelcome” and demanding they be expelled from the school. Vendors were asked not to sell “food to these people.” However, with backing from the National Coordinating Committee for the Support of Cuba, headquartered in Montevideo, the Support Committee planned a “large event” for various departments of the country to attempt to stop the harassment. Alongside figures from the left, a public act took place. It began with speeches, in a “tense” climate, and was violently interrupted: “Stones were hurled at the speakers and the audience.” There was a “deliberate power outage,” and the event had to continue with “illumination” from the headlights of “automobiles” aimed at the small platform. Finally, the memorandum observed two unpublished issues: the first was that, in a secular country, the prominence of the local parish priest’s campaign was surprising. The second was that the aggression had been carried out by “prepared gangs or groups” who had come from elsewhere.28
In August 1961, the spa in Punta del Este, eighty-one miles from the capital, was chosen as the site of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council conference, at which the Alliance for Progress would be officially launched. Several notable people were expected to attend the international conclave, which turned into yet another incident that made the regional tension part of the national reality. Representing Cuba was the minister of industry, Dr. Ernesto Guevara. The presence of the then-mythical Argentine guerrilla in Montevideo and Punta del Este further intensified political stances. Uruguayan university students invited a visitor to speak. He did, under strong security measures that nevertheless did not prevent him, just as Guevara was stepping down from the platform, from being shot dead by a professor who was attending the event.29 José Carrillo, who had become the Cuban ambassador following the departure of Incháustegui, summarized with concern what had happened, as the “police response immediately moved to ensure the impunity of the assassins.” He did not hesitate to describe the situation in Uruguay as “grave.” The economic deterioration of the popular sectors had propelled them to mobilize, which was being answered with more and more violence by the state and the “fascist organizations” encouraged by the government. Once again, attention was drawn to the “use of religious sentiment in an act of political militancy,” something that “never had happened” in the country. A so-called “silent passion play,” of “total McCarthyist content,” brought together “thousands of people” who were focused on denouncing the “Cuban Revolution.” It included the participation of the sitting president and other high authorities, including the minister of finance and police chief, Colonel Mario Aguerrondo, an ardent anticommunist with a Catholic background and a Nazi Germany sympathizer.30
The complex year of 1961 came to a close with two important documents. The first is a thorough eighteen-page report on the poor rural population and the latifundio (estate owners) in Uruguay. According to the report, “600 families” were “holders” of the country’s wealth. Although they were recognized as “vestiges of medieval times,” there was no “population in poverty such as that which existed in Cuba during the capitalist eras.” In addition to tables, statistics, and detailed descriptions, the work contained a significant political evaluation, which identified a “fascist movement” to destroy from within the state the “last remains of democracy”; in opposition was “an active and progressive student body and a large intellectual sector that could be used in favor of the cause for national liberation.”31
The second document is also extensive: twenty-three pages enumerating the most important incidents during the year, all of which had been impacted by the “notable influence of the Cuban Revolution.” The traditional political parties in Uruguay, according to the report, had “exploited the deepest desires of the working classes, heightening their difficulties.” Meanwhile, the year that was summarized had made “clear the advance . . . of the idea that it could only grow and develop at a sustained rate: it was the idea of a Left that was capable of expressing an alternative to the country that radically opposed the monotonous, demagogic, and unsubstantial option offered by the Partido Colorado and the Partido Blanco.” This was far from being “circumstantial”: it constituted a “historic upset.” In this outline, Cuba was a central and unifying factor, for the left-wing as well as the right. The latter felt “fear” and “hate” for the revolution and sought to avoid “contagion.” For the left, “the daring defense of the Cuban Revolution and its fulfillment” was the common ground, everything that contributed to strengthening “the urgent need to carry out an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution in Uruguay,” although for the moment, Uruguayans considered that it was “possible in a peaceful manner.” Ultimately, and to close the report, the year of the “intensifying” crisis made clear that there were two “domains” that tended to be mutually “defined and radicalized”: “1962 will likely be a year of important definitions.”32
Although the next two years would bring events no less relevant to the local order, the volume of the documentation related to internal affairs diminishes considerably during this time as the centrality of the evidence is supplanted by a more bilateral perspective.
However, a broad report covering historical, geographical, military, and political issues was produced by Cuba at the end of February 1962. In the political sphere, the leader of the Partido Colorado, José Batlle y Ordóñez—two-time president of Uruguay, from 1903 to 1907 and again from 1911 to 1915—was highlighted as is a “progressive democrat” who had been succeeded by “mediocre” leaders. It was again insisted that the scenario of the “current Uruguayan reality” made clear that “the only path” passed through “the monolithic union of the left without which it would be impossible to squash the reaction and . . . the negligible latifundista minority.” Meanwhile, addressing the left, the report favorably judged the events that had transpired in socialist campaigns in which a new, young generation, driven by the events in Cuba, was chipping away at the historical leadership, contributing to the “radicalization of the Party.” A separate but nonetheless prominent consideration was accorded the student population, whose potential and “influence on public life” was “very important.”33 Among them was “comrade Mirna,” extreme in her dedication to her work.34
Halfway through a year in which national elections would take place, the partisan action was closely followed. The push to unify the leftist parties, as described, was notorious among the Cubans. The call for unity was carried out by members of the Uruguayan Communist Party as part of the strategy approved at the 18th Party Congress, which later became the subject of an embassy report.35 The Cuban mission attached a document by the mathematician and important Communist director José Luis Massera, in which he narrates the incident of the “dictation” of international organizations, in particular the International Monetary Fund, with which the first “letter of intent” had been signed in 1959.36
On another front, the tasks undertaken by the Coordinating Committee regarding solidarity with Cuba are highlighted, and the committee is described as “one of the best in Latin America,” in spite of the difficulties it faced in reach the “rural areas.”37 At the same time, “strictly confidential and private material” produced by the Cuban agency “Prensa Latina” carefully narrated the origin, members, and impact of the committee, taking into account that it was currently in a “stagnant period” because of the electoral campaign.38
Despite their efforts, the Uruguay’s leftist parties were not able to unify, and they remained separate during the elections. The socialists and communists did attempt to assemble their forces by creating coalitions: the Unión Popular (Popular Union) was the socialist project; and the Frente Izquierda de Liberación (Leftist Liberation Front, or FIDEL) was created by the communists, who managed to secure a large increase in votes. However, even with the combined votes, the Popular Union and the FIDEL did not garner enough votes to compete with the traditional government parties.
The year 1963, even with a new government following the Partido Blanco’s victory, did not signify a positive change in Uruguay. Although there were important developments—among them the first weapons theft by several members of the newly formed Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Tupamaros (Tupamaros National Liberation Movement)—Cuban documentation from 1963 does not account for any of these local actions.
At the beginning of 1964, a brief assignment from Havana was issued to recognize the labor of the accredited diplomats in the Southern Cone. The Cuban government had in 1963 noticed a marked decline in the quality and quantity of information coming from the region.39 Perhaps as an expression of a desire to overcome this “deficiency,” the first “cultural” note appeared: a report prepared especially for the embassy that dealt with the “possibility” and “necessity” of a “large-scale mobilization on the cultural level.” The aim was to promote exchanges between representatives from both countries, for example, producing Cuban editions of Uruguayan books, holding painting exhibits, and creating a weekly half-hour “radio show” in Montevideo.40
For the first several months, summer in the southern hemisphere, scant political information was produced.41 However, on March 1, 1964, the engineer Luis Giannattasio took office as president of the Executive College. The Cuban Embassy issued a five-page profile of him, highlighting that he had made reference to respecting the no-intervention principle in his inaugural speech. In any case, it is worth including the Caribbean diplomat’s a succinct interpretive analysis of what he understood to be anachronistic proposals by the historical parties: “Once more it remains evident that the antiquated cycle of social efforts that govern today must end as soon as possible.”42
In April 1964, the constitutional president of Brazil, João Goulart, was deposed in a military coup. For the small nation of Uruguay, this meant an even greater challenge now that the overthrown head of state and a large part of his team had fled to exile in Montevideo, and Uruguay had to monitor their steps closely. The powerful impact of this destabilizing turn of events, of course, went beyond the control measures carried out with special urgency by the Uruguayan secret police, spurred on by the local CIA division and by the ambassador sent by the Brazilian dictatorship, Manuel Pio Correia, an expert who had previously served, in the early 1940s, and had ties to high-level political and military players in Uruguay.43
The danger in this context was clear. It was not the first time rumors of a possible military coup had circulated in response to the delicate situation, but the authoritarian example of Brazil had a strong destabilizing effect. Though they were small in number, there were military factions in the army who were willing to make a similar move in Uruguay.44 In some sectors of the Uruguayan left, the possibility of an institutional rift began to gain momentum in response to the desire to confront and resist—with weapons, if necessary.
The Cuban Embassy remained attentive, quickly sending a confidential report concerning the domestic tensions that ran throughout Uruguay, the Argentine concern about the Uruguayan internal unrest, and the divisions within the military. The sector that supported the coup did not have enough numbers, despite being joined by “groups of militant civilians from an array of fascist organizations” and “whose members [were] trained in target practice.” It is important to point out two other issues, the first is that for Cubans, the greatest danger did not come from the army, but rather from the police force, whose “personnel” constituted the “most dangerous and organized group of bodyguards in the country.” The second is the significant lack of any mention of the Brazilian coup during these delicate circumstances.
The report is accompanied by an attachment that explained in detail the aptitude of the Uruguayan armed forces, their internal strife, and the four respective military regions into which the country was divided, and it listed the “best-known bodyguards.” Finally, it noted the “influences of the Yankee commando,” which had an “office” in the General Inspection of the Army.45
A second level of analysis can be found regarding an aspect that corresponds to the “regional” scale. That is to say, this analysis comprises the sources that reveal the detailed and thorough work undertaken by the Cuban diplomats who carried out their functions in Uruguay in order to ensure that the country did not fold under counterrevolutionary pressures imposed by the United States and other countries in the context of the inter-American system. In short, it deals with a number of actions taken within a broad political framework designed to protect personal safety, one that sought to safeguard the integrity of a revolutionary process as it was being attacked from the outside.
The evidence suggests the various challenges that the Cuban regime faced in maintaining cordial ties with the small and faraway Southern Cone country. At the same time, it shows the significance of Cuba cultivating a close relationship with a country that was a traditional democratic bastion and therefore commanded respect in the region. This is especially true considering that Uruguay, in terms of foreign policy, maintained a tradition strongly rooted in defending national sovereignty, democracy, the principle of self-determination for the people, and respect for the international system. The Cubans knew this, but their work was not simple, given that these traditions coexisted with a diplomacy of elitism that was ideologically anticommunist and friendly with the United States. A final and highly complex obstacle was, in addition to the foregoing, attempting to correctly choose the figures who worked most closely with policymaking in terms of foreign affairs. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that these responsibilities were not exclusively designated to the ambassador, who worked with the president and intervened in parliamentary power. On the contrary, the Uruguayan minister had to make decisions weighing the collegiate structure of the executive branch, which consisted of nine members: though they all came from traditional political parties—the left’s parliamentary power was almost symbolic—there were some important differences in criteria between the two.
Based on these considerations, we can trace the most relevant outlines of the efforts of the Cuban diplomats during this time period.
An initial attempt to approach a distant government can first be observed in October 1959 in the aforementioned document on the “people and organizations in favor of and against the Cuban Revolution.”46
After this first approach, no other such documentation is found until May 1961, after the failed CIA invasion in the Bay of Pigs. It was at this time that the Cuban Embassy sent Havana a copy of the memorandum presented to the National Council of Government in Uruguay by the so-called Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front. The goal was to show the Uruguayan government that the “fundamental doctrines” explaining that diplomatic recognition of a regime such as Cuba’s had lapsed given the socialist nature of a government that had recently publicly accepted Fidel Castro. It involved, in short, the governments taking into consideration the “moral impossibility” of maintaining ties with a country in which “there is no rule of law, there are no legal guarantees for the citizenry,” and where they had “enshrined the barbaric practice of the death penalty.”47
The following month, Adlai Stevenson arrived in Montevideo as a special envoy sent by President Kennedy. The Inter-American Economic and Social Council conference scheduled for August was drawing near, and the Alliance for Progress initiative would be presented. Stevenson, concerned over Cuba and its influence, hoped to gain insight into Latin America. In meetings with members of the government, the American diplomat listened as President Haedo talked about the “serious discrepancies” in the US State Department: “The party that has responsibility of the Government maintains a long tradition that it is not willing to abandon.” Haedo concluded that “any instance of armed intervention against any country in the continent would harm the most delicate national sentiments.” Summarizing the meeting, an editorial in El Debate, a newspaper associated with the sector that supported Haedo, wrote, “Our people are hesitant to receive this kind of visit. It goes against American politics to send emissaries who want to understand and have a say in national problems from a bird’s eye view.” These and other assessments led the Cuban representative to finalize a memo confirming that “the monolithic attachment” of Latin America to Washington was beginning to show cracks. Among them was “President Haedo’s political game” and the “coldness” accorded to Stevenson. However, the Cuban representative had obtained reports—beyond those that were publicized—indicating that there was a “secret memorandum” from Colombian president Alberto Lleras Camargo in which he suggested the necessity of broadening the concept of “aggression” to include “more subtle means,” such as “propaganda and infiltration.”48
Without fear of extreme interpretations, it can be contended that it was Haedo who, among the governing body, received preferential attention from and treatment by the Cubans, including before their own ambassador, Homero Martínez Montero. From documents produced by the embassy in Montevideo, employees in the Havana division prepared a report that very likely served as input for the Cuban delegation that represented the country at the 8th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which took place in the Uruguayan spa in Punta del Este from January 22 to January 31, 1962.49 It was not, as we know, a minor event. Cuba had been formally excluded from the Organization of American States, in a vote requiring a minimum two-thirds approval. Uruguay was among the fourteen affirmative votes, though gaining its support had not been easy. Cuba had voted against exclusion, but the six abstaining votes of relevant countries in the inter-American system—Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador—caused fissures in the diplomatic victory of the United States.
Cuba went to great lengths to get closer to the Uruguayan foreign minister through a new ambassador, Heriberto Martínez, sent following the forced departure of García Incháustegui. Two weeks after the Meeting of Consultation began, Martínez summarized the activities he had carried out since his arrival, particularly his meetings with the Uruguayan foreign minister. The first encounter, to present his credentials, had been tense: “He received me in a truly hostile manner.” Little by little, in the following meetings or brief encounters, the coarseness disappeared. The bilateral disagreements between the two countries, and the tension generated in the international arena with respect to Cuba had taken a toll on the Uruguayan minister’s health, and he had been forced to request a leave of absence. Afterward, the second encounter between them was “much warmer.” In spite of this, when it came to discussing what most interested the Cuban representative—the position he would assume at the Meeting of Consultation—the Uruguayan “appeared very cautious,” insinuating that “his duty was not to himself,” but rather to “a Governing body” with “many opinions.”50
Uruguay vote to “exclude” Cuba from the Organization of American States was an important step at a time, when certain conservative sectors, supported by an intense press campaign, aimed to channel Uruguay’s stance even further into United States standards. They wanted a formal severing of relations between Cuba and Uruguay. At the council, and by a narrow margin, those defending the measure did not get sufficient votes. Haedo managed to stop the initiative; he approached the Cuban minister during a reception at the Bolivian Embassy, appearing calm, declaring, “I have delivered on my promise.”51 The promise had been made two weeks earlier in a meeting between the Cuban ambassador and Haedo at his home in Punta del Este.52
Throughout 1962, the embassy’s political work was dedicated to ensuring that Uruguay resisted international pressure and avoided breaking ties with Cuba, as had already been done by fourteen other countries. A report in June of that year detailed the delicate situation, which would intensify from that point forward.53 In December, after the elections, the break felt imminent: David Villar, a Cuban official, continued his “visits” to the Uruguayan foreign minister, hoping to “assess” his “future behavior.”54 In spite of this, as Castro recalled in his memoirs, Uruguay “resisted.”55 The measure had to be postponed nearly two years, until September 1964. Finally, it happened decisively, as explained in the section “The Uruguayan Embassy in Havana: ‘A Travel Agency,’” referred to here as the “bilateral” level of relations.
The Uruguayan Embassy in Havana: “A Travel Agency”
This third and final dimension is based on a broad range of evidence that helps explain the principal reason why, for two years, Uruguay avoided submitting to a general trend of isolation within the region toward the Cuban Revolution; to the United States’ pressure to do so; and, finally, to what constituted a conservative expression of the ministry with regard to the regime that, like Cuba, adopted a socialist stance. A series of serious incidents that took place in Havana and that must be considered in the context of a strictly bilateral relationship suggest a highly plausible argument.
Proceeding one step at a time: like other countries in the region, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Brazil, Uruguay maintained an embassy in Cuba. Many Cubans had fled to it seeking asylum, as is recorded, during the period prior to the revolutionary victory.
Since 1959, the authorized mission in Havana had not altered its stance, which was traditionally broad. What happened—motivated by the change of government in Uruguay—was the arrival new government officials in diplomatic representation posts; and at the same time, there was a substantial change in the ideological profiles and numbers of Cubans citing political persecution and turning to the embassy. In several short months, the Uruguayan embassy had been transformed, according to the Cubans, into a “counter-revolutionary” stronghold, as had the private residence of the chargé d’affaires and the consulate office. The differences with the prerevolutionary era were quantitative as well as qualitative. Thus the number of asylum seekers grew as exponentially as did the irregularities, the most serious being the influx of weapons, including machine guns. This audacity seemed to be exclusive to the Uruguayan case; no patterns of this scale were being recorded in other foreign embassies. Cuban national security remained vigilant, as is confirmed in the abundant documentation. Stone attacks directed at the militia guarding the embassy building, threatening chanting, the brandishing of “counter-revolutionary” signs and flags, and displays of firearms were several of the “provocations,” facilitated by the absence and collusion of the Uruguayan officials.56 The Cuban government was able to receive classified information about the situation because the “secret service” had managed to infiltrate the vast group of asylum seekers—through a “woman” who maintained a romantic relationship with one of the Uruguayan diplomats.57
These activities were stepped up in 1961, accompanied by repeated formal verbal protests by the respective ministries. It was obvious that Uruguay was violating international regulations. It had no control over what happened inside the embassy; its employees collected large sums of money from the asylum seekers—creating the so-called lucrative asylum industry—and, despite the strict safeguards the Cuban government put into place, the number of refugees continued to grow. Uruguayan officials often brought future asylum seekers into the embassy during the early morning hours, a procedure that circumvented the necessary communication with the Cuban Foreign Ministry.58
Initially, a scant number of officials were cited, and by August 1962, the Uruguayan foreign minister approved sending five more, along with a special mission, under the charge of a lieutenant colonel, that would go to “purge the embassy.”59 This was far from a solution, and during a period of international tension generated by the missile crisis, the first bloodshed occurred. It took place on December 8, 1962, as a truck carrying food for the asylum seekers was entering the embassy. It was in this moment, that José Barrero, driving a motorcycle, tried to flee, ignoring the shouts of the guards, who then fired, fatally wounding him. It was not a minor event: Barrero had been killed on Uruguayan territory. The Cuban and Uruguayan foreign ministries released statements containing their respective versions of what had happened, but the content of the protests was balanced because both governments knew they had failed to adhere to international law. The Uruguayan position was also weak because the purchase of their property had never been completed, and thus case, the embassy property could not be formally covered by international laws.
Months later, in March 1963, another Cuban was killed attempting to enter the embassy grounds—this time in a Jeep stolen from a state office—along with three other people who successfully made it onto the diplomatic premises. As in the previous case, documentation regarding this incident is abundant. From this collection of documents, one report stands out—for its high explanatory content and confidential nature—that was produced by a new Uruguayan mission sent to investigate the tragic event in situ. The dispatched group reviewed the files, interviewed the authorized officials, collected testimonies from the asylum seekers, conducted interviews with the Cuban foreign minister, and had an extensive meeting with Fidel Castro. The conclusions expressed in the report that would be presented to the Uruguayan government were eloquent, which allows us to better assess the Cuban evidence, which had a clear tendency to defend the position of its country. The most salient points can be summarized as follows: the militia who were positioned in the entryways of the buildings had been expressly requested by Uruguay to prevent untimely entries, and so when they were surprised, it was understood as “natural” that they had reacted the way they did. Of the three buildings where the Uruguayan officials were housing asylum seekers, one lacked “immunities” since no contract had been produced, a fact that was classified as “a clear violation of asylum law.” The representatives’ course of action on Cuban land was “irresponsible” and “lack[ed] integrity.” “They have disgraced our country, allowed the Cuban government to obtain repeated documented violations of Asylum Law and its legislation, which places Uruguay in a burdensome and irresponsible situation.” The encounter between the Uruguayan delegates and Castro merits a separate section. In the meantime, what occurred at the embassy was “chaos.” The Cuban leader admitted that the Jeep was inside the embassy when the militia fired the shots, but claimed that “problems this serious” should not be “analyzed . . . alone,” and that “grave errors existed” that had provoked the incidents. Castro was provided with ample documentation and had detailed knowledge of the omissions and venality of Uruguayan officials. The document concludes that the prime minister was correct in “95%” of his statements. Taking everything into account, the closure of Special Mission was conclusive: “publicizing the errors made by Uruguay would cause immense harm in the international sphere,” thus “diminishing prestige, and our dignity would be seriously affected.”60
A Provisional Closure
The severity of the records used to describe the relationships between Cubans and Uruguayans at the “bilateral” level gives meaning to the argument set forth here: all signs indicate that these were the changes that successively delayed the severance of relations approved by the National Council of Government on September 8, 1964, thereby also ending the period that the consulted diplomatic documentation encompasses.
In any case, the Cuban diplomatic documentation provides an account of a peculiar episode that took place at the mission, serves as a preliminary closure of an open theme,61 and appears to include the three dimensions explored here, incorporating various actors involved in the plot into the same event. It occurred at the end of May 1964 when the tension had reached its peak, and Caribbean efforts to maintain the relationship appeared useless. In the early morning of Saturday, May 23, Roberto, the embassy’s cryptanalyst fled, taking with him the last telegrams, eight thousand dollars, two handguns, and the keys. When the runaway’s wife discovered his disappearance in the middle of the night, all embassy personnel were garrisoned in the diplomatic office. Roberto made it to the Brazilian border and headed toward the consulate in Rivera to attempt to take refuge there. The consul was not in the office that Saturday afternoon. With regret, Roberto set out to return to Montevideo, arriving at the embassy at dawn on Sunday. Upon entering, he was cornered by his compatriots, and, offering explanations for his actions, he blamed himself for a moment of weakness. While preparing to clear out the office, the press reported that a Cuban had been taken “hostage” in the embassy. Roberto’s brief visit to the Brazilian consulate had been discovered, and the CIA and the Uruguayan police were informed. The Cuban diplomats held a meeting and gave the would-be defector an opportunity to show remorse, since the diplomatic rupture had already been made public: “he has them in his hands.” They would dodge a bullet: with the press invited, Roberto responded with revolutionary conviction and maintained that he had left on his own accord. The “reactionary press” was nearly “mocked,” according to the ambassador. However, the incident did not end until Roberto arrived at the airport, moments before he boarded the flight back to Uruguay. A curious but eager reporter approached Roberto and the ambassador as they stood in line, anxious to interview the man who had tried to defect. The reporter’s urgency and the fact that he asked to speak to Roberto in private aroused the ambassador’s suspicion, and he stepped in to intervene. He stepped out of the line and, displaying an identity card, revealed himself to be the police inspector. It was Alejandro Otero, who would make a name for himself by combatting the Uruguayan guerrillas who, at that time, were slowly gaining force.
The Cuban’s brief fragility and the explanation of his case was symptomatic of all of the tensions and interests being contested: the Uruguayan police, the Brazilian dictatorship, the local CIA branch, the media outlets, and a link that was almost impossible to maintain, not only because of external pressure, but also because of a false step that had only narrowly avoided becoming the excuse Uruguayan government needed to break the ties that would signal an increasingly notorious turn in foreign policy that would, from then on, keep in step with the National Security Doctrine.62
The main primary sources for the case studied here are found in Havana and Montevideo. In Havana, the Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba is an important repository and has thus far rarely been visited by researchers. Also in Havana, a Foreign Relations Ministry Fund has recently been made available to the public at the Archivo Nacional de Cuba. In Uruguay, the most relevant diplomatic documentation is kept in two archives of the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Archivo Administrativo at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Uruguay boasts numerous valuable documents from Uruguayan embassies in Latin America, the United States, and Europe that give an ample account of the regional impact of the Cuban Revolution. Important documents related to the bilateral tie between the two countries are also kept there, and the archives are notably complete and well-organized. The Archivo Histórico Diplomático at the same ministry provides bilateral information from the period leading up to the Revolution. Other important records are stored there, including documentation from the Uruguayan Embassy in the United States and all of the information generated during both international meetings in Punta del Este, in August 1961 and January 1962, when the Cuban matter was the main focus of the discussions.
Although they do not contain diplomatic information—with a few exceptions—the resources kept at Uruguayan police agencies are noteworthy. Specifically, the Archivo de la Dirección Nacional de Información e Inteligencia is a repository that has been thus far difficult to access but that possesses information relevant to the local police forces’ evident “anti-Cuban radicalization,” their ties to foreign police agencies, and the intense internal impact of the Cuban Revolution across the entire social and political spectrum of Uruguay from 1959 onward.
Other important archives in Uruguay include the Archivo de la Unidad Polifuncional sobre Problemas Universitarios, which possesses sources related to the influence of the Cuban Revolution within the student movement; the Archivo General de la Nación; the Archivo de la Universidad de la República; the Archivo del Senado y de la Cámara de Diputados de Uruguay (where the parliamentary debates can be found); and the Archivo de la Presidencia de la República.
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(1.) There is ample literature on the subject. See, for example, Andrew Kirkendall, “Cold War Latin America: The State of the Field” in H-Diplo Essay, 119, November 14, 2014. Available at https://networks.h-net.org/node/28443/discussions/52148/h-diplo-essay-119-cold-war-latin-america-state-field-h-diplo-state; Thomas Blanton, “Recovering the Memory of the Cold War: Forensic History and Latin America,” in In from the Cold: New Encounter with the Cold War, ed. Joseph Gilbert and Daniela Spenser (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013), cited in Tanya Harmer, El gobierno de Allende y la guerra fría interamericana (Santiago: Ediciones de la Universidad Diego Portales, 2013); Allan McPherson, “The Paradox of Latin American Cold War Studies,” in Beyond the Eagle’s Shadow: New Histories of Latin America’s Cold War, ed. Virgina Garrard-Burnett, Lawrence Mark Atwood, and Julio E. Moreno (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2013); Gilbert Joseph, “Encuentros cercanos: Hacia una nueva historia cultural de las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y América Latina,” in Culturas Imperiales: Experiencia y representación en América, Asia y África, by Ricardo Salvatore (Rosario, Argentina: Viterbo, 2005), 91–120.
(2.) Piero Gleijeses, “Las motivaciones de la política exterior cubana,” in Espejos de la guerra fría: México, América Central y Caribe, ed. Daniela Spenser (Mexico City: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 2004), 151–171.
(3.) José Martí, Martí y el Uruguay: Crónicas y correspondencia (Montevideo: Udelar, 1988).
(4.) Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Uruguay (hereafter cited as “MRE-Uy”), Archivo Histórico Diplomático (hereafter cited as “AHD”), Cuban Consuls in Uruguay.
(5.) MRE-Uy, AHD, Sub Fondo Cancillería, section: Libros de Administración, book 15, folio 53.
(6.) MRE-Uy, AHD, Compilación de Leyes y Decretos 1825–1930, E. Armand Ugon, J. C. Cerdeiras Alonso, L. Arcos Ferrand y C. Goldaracena, vol. 31, 1911, Montevideo, 1930, 142–143.
(7.) MRE-Uy, AHD, Registro Nacional de Leyes, Decretos y otros documentos de la República Oriental del Uruguay, Montevideo, Imprenta Nacional, 1952, 583.
(8.) Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba (hereafter, “AMREX-Cuba”), Fondo Fulgencio Batista, Ambassador Vicente Valdés Rodríguez to Miguel Ángel Campa, Foreign Minister, “Sobre reconocimiento de Gobierno,” Confidential Official Letter No. 7, April 10, 1952, 7.
(9.) MRE-Uy, AHD, Sub Fondo Cancillería, section: Cuba, box 2.
(10.) MRE-Uy, Archivo Administrativo (hereafter, “AA”), Fondo: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Inciso 06, section: Dirección Regional América, Country: Cuba, box 1, Notes sent and received, 1955–1959.
(11.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo BRAC (Buró de Represión de Actividades Comunistas), box Cuba-BRAC, folder “1955–1959. Asuntos BRAC.”
(12.) MRE-Uy, AA, Ambassador Julio Casas Araujo to Foreign Minister Oscar Secco Ellauri, Uruguayan Embassy in Cuba, Report No. 7/7/957 (424), Havana, December 6, 1957, “Asilo del señor Santiago de Jesús Riera Hernández.”
(13.) MRE-Uy, AA, Report No. 7/7/957 (5), Confidential, Havana, June 19, 1957, “Asilo de los Sres. Evelio Rodríguez y Eduardo Tabares.”
(14.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: América Latina. Uruguay, box 1, “1909–1959. Ordinario,” “Instalación del Embajador y de la Cancillería y Consulado,” Official Letter No. 26, Montevideo, May 23, 1958, Cuban Embassy in Uruguay.
(15.) “Instalación del Embajador y de la Cancillería y Consulado,” 2.
(16.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Ambassador Gabriel Suárez Solar to Prime Minister and Secretary of State, “Conferencia con el Ministro de R. E. sobre propaganda revolucionaria,” Confidential Official Letter No. 11/58, Montevideo, August 22, 1958, 4.
(17.) See also AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Fulgencio Batista, box 2, “Resumen de la conversación sostenida entre el honorable señor Presidente de la República, Mayor General Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar, y su Excelencia el Embajador de los Estados Unidos de América, señor Earl T. Smith, en Kuquine, el día [sic],” s/f.
(18.) Dirección Nacional de Información e Inteligencia, Uruguay (hereafter, “DNII”) perfecto, folder 409, “Visita de Representantes del Gobierno Cubano.”
(19.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Embassy Director José Iribar to Roberto Agramonte, Secretary of State, Montevideo, April 6, 1959, Official Letter No. 13A, “Informando sobre visita al Uruguay de la Delegación de Combatientes Cubanos.”
(20.) Roberto García, “Esa ‘lucecita que se enciende para América’: Fidel Castro en Uruguay, mayo de 1959,” en Lento, 51 (2017), 48–56.
(21.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Departamento de Asuntos Latinoamericanos, División C, “Relación de personas y organizaciones a favor y en contra de la Revolución Cubana en Uruguay,” October 10, 1959. Named as one of the “most outstanding” students was “J. Mujica,” who later beccame a guerrilla fighter and president of the country from 2010 to 2015.
(22.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Ambassador to Raúl Roa, Minister of Foreign affairs, “Enviando una copia del Acta y del inventario de esta Embajada,” Montevideo, February 26, 1960, s/n.
(23.) Fernando Aparicio, Roberto García, and Mercedes Terra, Espionaje y política: Guerra fría, inteligencia policial y anticomunismo en el sur de América Latina, 1947–1961 (Montevideo: Ediciones B, 2013), 213.
(24.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Chargé d’affaires Juan David to Raúl Roa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Montevideo, July 27, 1960, no. C72, “Informando sobre acto de solidaridad con la Revolución Cubana celebrado el 26 de julio.”
(25.) Philip Agee, La CIA por dentro (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1987).
(26.) DNII, Carpeta 666A, “Actuaciones embajada cubana.”
(27.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Memo, Mario García Incháustegui to Ramón Aja Castro, Havana, February 3, 1961, “Asunto: Informe sobre Eduardo Víctor Haedo.”
(28.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Montevideo, June 15, 1961, No. 63, “Informe semanal correspondiente a los días 3 a 9 de junio de 1961.”
(29.) Magalí Gozá León, “Testimonios de la delegación cubana,” in Ernesto Guevara, Punta del Este (Havana: Ocean Sur, 2003), 139–145. See also Víctor Bacchetta, El asesinato de Arbelio Ramírez (Montevideo: Doble Clic, 2010). For the cablegrams sent from the Cuban Embassy in Uruguay via Prensa Latina, see AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Che Guevara, s/d.
(30.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, José Carrillo to Carlos Olivares, interim minister, No. 74, Montevideo, September 16, 1961, “Dirección de Política Regional.”
(31.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Heriberto Martínez to Raúl Roa, No. 6, Montevideo, December 1, 1961, “Informe sobre la situación del campesinado y latifundio de Uruguay.”
(32.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Cuban Embassy, Montevideo, s/f, s/a, [Montevideo, December 1961], “Uruguay, 1961 (On the political situation).”
(33.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, s/n, s/a, Montevideo, February 23, 1962, “Resumen de Uruguay.”
(34.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Heriberto Martínez to the ministry of foreign affairs, No. 7, Montevideo, January 9, 1962, “Dirección Política Regional #1.”
(35.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, s/a, s/f, 1962, “XVIII Congreso Partido Comunista.”
(36.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Montevideo, August 6, 1962, “Uruguay y el Fondo Monetario del Internacional.”
(37.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, s/a, s/n, Montevideo, September 7, 1962, “Informe sobre el Comité Coordinador de Apoyo a la Revolución Cubana.”
(38.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Prensa Latina. Strictly confidential material reserved for documentary purposes only, Montevideo, September 5, 1962, “Solidaridad con Cuba en Uruguay: Historia del Comité Nacional Coordinador de apoyo a la Revolución Cubana. Su momento actual.”
(39.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Regional Policy II, Director, to Aldo Rodríguez Camps, Cuba Chargé d’affaires in Uruguay, s/a, Havana, August 4, 1964.
(40.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Aldo Rodríguez Camps to the Direction of Regional Policy No. 2, Note No. 18/64, Montevideo, January 15, 1964, “Informe.”
(41.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Havana, April 7, 1964, “Uruguay. Cronología trimestral. Enero a marzo de 1964.”
(42.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Aldo Rodríguez Camps to Raúl Roa, Confidential s/n, s/f [April 1964], Montevideo, “Informe.”
(43.) Arquivo Histórico do Itamaraty (hereafter, “AHI”), Brasilia, MDB, Official Letters Received, 1964, Secretos, A-O/Caixa 97. See especially Embaixada dos Estados Unidos do Brasil en Uruguay, “Refugiados políticos brasileiros no Uruguai. Situação do Senhor Joao Goulart,” Secret Official Letter No. 129, Montevideo, April 10, 1964, Asunto 501.34 (44); “Relações políticas Brasil-Uruguai,” Secret Official Letter No. 602, Montevideo, November 21, 1964, Asunto 922.31 (44)(42); “Asilados brasileiros no Uruguai. Atividades da DOPS do Rio Grande do Sul,” Secret Official Letter, No. 652, Montevideo, December 15, 1964; and Asunto 922.31 (44)(42).
(44.) For more on the subject, see the State Department documents in Clara Aldrighi, Conversaciones reservadas entre políticos uruguayos y diplomáticos estadounidenses (Montevideo: Ediciones Banda Oriental, 2012).
(45.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Aldo Rodríguez Camps to Raúl Roa, Confidential No. 61, Montevideo, July 1, 1964, “Informe sobre posible golpe militar en Uruguay.”
(46.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Departamento de Asuntos Latinoamericanos, División C, “Relación de personas y organizaciones a favor y en contra de la Revolución Cubana en Uruguay,” October 10, 1959.
(47.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Montevideo, May 2, 1961, unnumbered, “Sr. Presidente. Sres. Consejeros. Consejo Nacional de Gobierno del Uruguay.”
(48.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, “Informando sobre visita de del señor Adlai Stevenson a Montevideo,” Montevideo, June 12, 1961, No. 61, unsigned.
(49.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, “I- Datos sobre el Presidente de Uruguay, Eduardo Víctor Haedo. II- Datos sobre el canciller Homero Martínez Montero,” [Havana], December 15, 1961, unsigned.
(50.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Heriberto Martínez to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 7, Montevideo, January 9, 1962, “Dirección Política Regional #1.”
(51.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Heriberto Martínez to Raúl Roa, s/n, Montevideo, February 26, 1962, “Informe sobre la conversación sostenida con el Sr. Eduardo Víctor Haedo en la recepción en su honor ofrecida en la Embajada de Bolivia.”
(52.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Heriberto Martínez to Raúl Roa, No. 11, Montevideo, February 11 1962, “Aspectos más sobresalientes de mi entrevista con el Presidente del Consejo de Gobierno de Uruguay Sr. Eduardo Víctor Haedo el domingo 11 de febrero de 1962 en Punta del Este.”
(53.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, s/a, unnumbered, Montevideo, June 19, 1962, “Posición de Uruguay con relación a Cuba a partir de la Conferencia de Cancilleres de Punta del Este.”
(54.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, M. Villar to Raúl Roa, Montevideo, notes from December 1 and 4, 1962.
(55.) Ignacio Ramonet, Fidel Castro: Biografía a dos voces (Buenos Aires: Debate, 2006), 260.
(56.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, 1963, s/f, s/a, Memorandum.
(57.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Havana, March 15, 1963, “Relación de personas asiladas en la Embajada del Uruguay”; Havana, March 20, 1963, “Informe Resumen de las actividades en la Embajada de Uruguay en Cuba.”
(58.) Among the abundant information, one document that is worth highlighting is AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Head of the Department of State Security to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Havana, October 24, 1962, “Investigación sobre la agresión de que fueron víctimas los milicianos que protegían la embajada del Uruguay.”
(59.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, M. Villar to Raúl Roa, Montevideo, August 7, 1962, “Informe sobre asilados en Emb. De Uruguay en La Habana, con motivo del viaje de consulta a La Habana.”
(60.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Montevideo, April 16, 1963, “Misión Especial a Cuba.”
(61.) On the rupture and its sensitive local consequences, the police information is substantial. See, DNII, box W, Issue: Cuba, 14 folders.
(62.) AMREX-Cuba, Fondo: Uruguay, Aldo Rodríguez Camps to Raúl Roa, Confidential No. 51, Montevideo, May 30, 1964.