Kissinger was incensed over Cuba deploying troops to Angola, so he advocated for strong action to stop Fidel Castro, according to declassified government records posted online Wednesday. He created a contingency plan that outlined military options from blocking outgoing Cuban ships carrying troops and war material to airstrikes against Cuban bases.
In several White House meetings, Kissinger advocated for strong action to stop Castro, fearful that his incursion in Africa was making the U.S. look weak. He argued that Cuba’s actions were driving fears around the world of a wider race war that could spill over into Latin America and even destabilize the Middle East. In a series of contingency plans that followed, options ranged from a military blockade to airstrikes and mining of Cuban ports. But the documents also warned of heavy risks, including a wider conflict with the Soviet Union and a ground war to defend the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
“I think we are going to have to smash Castro. I don’t think we can do it before the election,” Kissinger told President Gerald R. Ford, according to a transcript of a Feb. 25, 1976 meeting in the Oval Office. Ford replied, “I agree.”
Kissinger, who had returned from a trip to Latin America, told Ford that leaders in the region “are scared to death about Cuba. They are afraid of a race war.”
At another Oval Office meeting on March 15, 1976, Kissinger said “even the Iranians are worried about the Cubans getting into the Middle East countries. I think we have to humiliate them. If they move into Namibia or Rhodesia, I would be in favor of clobbering them.”
Nine days later, Kissinger chaired a high-level “Special Actions Group Meeting” at the White House Situation Room to discuss options.
“If there is a perception overseas that we are so weakened by our internal debate so that it looks like we can’t do anything about a country of 8 million people, then in three or four years we are going to have a real crisis,” Kissinger said.
Full article: ‘I think we are going to have to smash Castro’; Ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made plans to attack Cuba (NY Daily News)