Premier Fidel Castro's speech in Havana on 28 September 1965 was one of his typical talkathons for the first two hours. The seemingly casual insertion in the third hour of an offer to permit dissatisfied Cubans to leave the country startled his audience and focused the attention of the Western world once again on the Straits of Florida. Speculations as to his motives and sincerity were immediate. Subsequent events have proved the validity of his offer, subject to important reservations, but his motivation remains uncertain. The offer was a complete departure from Communist dogma, although his regime gained some short term advantages. An improved Cuban image for the scheduled 17 November meeting of the Organization of American States may have been a factor, since the offer received excellent press reports throughout Latin America. In any event, Castro created some immediate problems for the United States.
By Captain William F. Cass, U. S. Coast Guard