APRIL 13, 1960
NEW YORK—How complicated the situation in Cuba seems to be growing! Now former backers of Fidel Castro, or so they claim to be, are urging the Cuban people to take up arms again for the restoration of democracy, telling them that they are in danger of being committed to international communism.
One feels sorry for the people, who seem like hopeless pawns in a situation of this kind.
I have a feeling that somehow we in the United States have not handled this situation properly. True, the President has been wise and patient and he has not allowed any hasty steps to be taken that might look as though we were trying to interfere in Cuba's internal affairs.
Perhaps, however, if we had offered help tactfully we might have been able to help to get a more equitable settlement on our investments in Cuba. And we might also have had some influence in helping to provide some kind of technical assistance, either through the United Nations or through cooperation with other South American countries that would have made it possible for the Cuban government to be more efficiently set up.
When we do not act to find ways in which to help people it is entirely natural that the Soviet Union will try to step in and fill any gap that we have left unfilled.
Cuba is so near to us that we have taken it for granted that there would always be friendly relations between us, so long as it was a free nation. It would certainly be uncomfortable for us to feel that the Soviet Union had a predominant influence there. It would in some ways be comparable to other areas of the world where we occupy a position of dominating influence and other nations object to it vociferously.
Governor Luis Munoz Marin of Puerto Rico has just urged Puerto Ricans now living in New York to use their ballots to help solve their problems. He said that if they could be counted on to vote in every election they would soon find that they could achieve better conditions for themselves.
I quite agree with him that the major problems of the Puerto Ricans living here are those of poverty and exploitation and that while they are not the only ones who suffer from these conditions they can better their own lot by using their votes wisely and consistently.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have sent me cards of good wishes during the past week. I would like to report that my ankle is coming along slowly. I am able to move around but have to do so with care and I cannot move as easily yet as I might wish.
It is unfortunate that life teaches one to be patient when one likes it least, and this probably will be a good lesson in making me move slowly.
I will have to move slowly and do fewer things, and perhaps in the long run I will do the few things better.