Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cuba honors Herbert Matthews, the man who "invented" Fidel Castro

In 2005, IPBiz had a post: In 1975, Newsweek ran a story which included the sentence-- Back in 1959, National Review magazine ran a cartoon of Fidel Castro sitting on a map of Cuba and proclaiming, "I got my job through The New York Times." One does not hear much these days about how Herbert Matthews, a New York Times correspondent whose published 1957 interview with Castro in his Sierra Maestra redoubt assured the world that Fidel was not a Communist. The assertion of Matthews wasn't true in 1957, 1975, or 2005.

Fast forward to a release by Reuters on 17 Feb. 2007: Cuba unveiled a marble plaque on Saturday [Feb. 17] commemorating the interview 50 years ago by New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews that helped build the legend of Fidel Castro, the state news agency Prensa Latina reported.


The [Cuban] government had claimed Castro was dead. Matthews' article, published by The New York Times on Feb 24, 1957, showed Castro was still alive and fighting. It immediately made the 30-year-old firebrand an international figure.

In that glowing article Matthews wrote: "The personality of the man (Castro) is overpowering. It was easy to see that his men adored him and also to see why he has caught the imagination of the youth of Cuba all over the island. Here was an educated, dedicated fanatic, a man of ideals, of courage and of remarkable qualities of leadership."

Reuters also noted a recent book "The Man Who Invented Fidel," by Anthony DePalma.


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