Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RFK and Cuba

I thought it was curious a few years ago when efforts were made to publicize a memorandum by former Attorney General Robert Kennedy in favor of allowing unrestricted travel by Americans to Cuba (see, for example this 2009 Washington Post op-ed).

It was a great memo as far as I’m concerned, but the bulk of RFK’s record on Cuba had nothing to do with people-to-people contacts. It had to do with his brother’s unusual delegation of foreign policy functions to the Attorney General, with RFK’s direction of operations that would be called terrorism today, and with the Kennedy Administration’s Bay of Pigs disaster, a gross betrayal of allies and a waste of lives on both sides of the beach that would be impeachable today. Or at least we would like to think so.

The records of RFK’s official actions regarding Cuba during that period are being bottled up by his family, as this item on James Fallows’ blog details. These are official papers, not personal papers, and it’s a travesty that they are under family rather than government control.

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