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a231: Haiti, Cuba, and the U.S. - A interesting bit of (corruption in) diplomacy (fwd)
From: GUY S ANTOINE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Extracted from THE FISH IS RED - The story of the secret war
against Castro, by Warren Hinckle and William Turner.
The Punta del Este daily, El Día, had an interesting item that had readers
letting their soft-boiled eggs get cold on a February morning in 1962:
"Ambassador Morrison has turned in his expense account for the day:
Taxi in the morning, $2;
Afternoon taxis, $3;
Dinner with the foreign minister of Haiti, $5,000,000."
The ambassador was the United States Ambassador to the Organization
of American States, DeLesseps S. Morrison. The rather dear dinner was
actually a pledge to Haiti to build an airport in Port-au-Prince sufficient to
bring Haiti into the jet age. The pledge was, in fact, a bribe, in return for
Haiti's voting to oust Cuba from the OAS. DeLesseps Morrison was the
Kennedy administration's point man for the not inconsiderable task of
cutting off Cuba from the rest of the hemisphere. This involved both a
diplomatic offensive and some skulduggery that were carried out in
coordination with the Secret War... A dashing widower, Morrison was
frequently seen in nightclubs with ladies of the dazzle of Zsa Zsa Gabor.
His politics were Kennedy politics: On domestic issues he was a liberal,
one of the original voices of the New South, but when it came to
communism, Morrison could have been mistaken for a John Bircher.
Although Morrison carried the title of Ambassador to the Organization
of American States, he was in fact a roving JFK troubleshooter. After
the Trujillo assassination he became JFK's Johnny-on-the-spot in Ciudad
Trujillo to make sure that Trujillo's son kept communist fingers out of the
power-sharing pie. Ambassador Morrison waterskied, drank, and danced
aboard the Trujillo family yacht Angelita. He was not told that El Jefe's
body was stored in the refrigerator compartment belowdecks for fear of
a Mussolini type of desecration...
The conference began in the Uruguayan resort on January 30, 1962. It
was clear from the start that Morrison would gain no easy victory. He was
palpably upset when the Brazilian delegate "begun by talking 'coexistence,'"
putting the analogy "Why do we not consider Cuba to us as Finland is to
the Soviet?" Mexico and Argentina--with Brazil, the three countries
representing two-thirds of the people of Latin America--felt the same way.
Morrison, who had been selling democracy, found himself having to woo
such repressive regimes as Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Haiti to get the
necessary two-thirds majority to oust Cuba.
That was when Morrison had his $5 million dinner with the foreign minister
of Haiti. Democratic Haiti cast the deciding vote that ousted Cuba.
It was an emotional moment for Chep Morrison. Dean Rusk gave the
closing speech replete with such lines as "Whenever Communism goes,
hunger follows." Tears welled up in Morrison's eyes.
"I confess I was never prouder to be an American," he said.
[End of extract]
Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti