For many U.S. government decision makers at the time of the crisis most have agreed that Cuba was just a locale for a U.S.- Soviet confrontation. Ex U.S. Ambassador to Cuba (1959-60) Philip W. Bonsal declares that the Missile Crisis cannot truly be classified under Cuban American relation since “the issue was entirely one between the United States and the Soviet Union.”25 He states that although the confrontation could have eliminated Castro, “the exercise had little to do with himOn the other hand, Khrushchev writes in his memoirs that Castro did indeed play a significant role in the Crisis. He bluntly announces that Castro was solely responsible for the shooting of the U-2 plane27 and that Castro encouraged the Soviet Union to “launch a preemptive strike against the United States.”28 However, in view of contradicting sources and Khrushchev’s tendency to make declarations without details and factual evidence, it is unlikely that Castro’s role was as significant as claimed.
During each and every stage of the Crisis, Castro’s role is overshadowed by that of the Soviet Union’s and the United States. In the beginning, it was Khrushchev, not Castro, who initiated the deployment of nuclear arms; and Castro’s’ relation with the U-2 shooting is little more than a misunderstanding on the part of the Soviet soldiers. As argued by Bonsal, the Missile Crisis was entirely between the Soviet Union and the United States. This view can be justified when we consider the possibility that Khrushchev may have sent his missiles for reasons other than for Castro’s defense and when we are faced with Castro’s obvious exclusion from the Crisis negotiations. Castro’s “role” in the Crisis, if he has one at all, is that he unintentionally helped convinced Khrushchev to concede to Kennedy’s demands. As Castro himself declares, “I cannot take the credit for the resolution of the crisis...the major role belongs to Khrushchev who caused that crisis...
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