The Cuban Communist Party, or the Partido Comunista de Cuba (hereafter PCC), is the organisation that preceded the development of the broad left-wing revolutionary movement that transformed into the late Fidel Castro’s communist government, and which was then recreated to support the government.
by Karl Radl
I have previously discussed both the likely possibility that Fidel Castro and his powerful brother Raul Castro are themselves of partial Jewish descent (1) — and are very aware of it (2) — as well as the fact that Cuba and Israel have long had a very strange diplomatic relationship. (3)
Previously, I have argued that the latter is likely to be at least partially the result of the former.
Here I would like to expand upon the largely unknown but extremely important relationship between the PCC and the Jews. To begin with, I think it is apt to quote Richard Gott’s summary of the early history of the PCC.
‘An embryonic Communist Party, formed in 1925 by socialists attracted to the Russian revolution, was eventually strong enough to take over the CNOC in 1931. Several of the more prominent Cuban communists were Jews from Eastern Europe — a fresh input into Cuba’s ethnic mix — some of whom still found it easier to speak Yiddish rather than Spanish. One of them, Yunger Semjovich, was to survive into the early years of the Revolution in 1959, under the name of Fabio Grobart. Distrust of the communists as ‘foreign’, ‘Jewish’ and beholden to Moscow was one of the obstacles facing the party, distrust as prevalent on the nationalist left as on the right.’ (3)
To be more specific: three of the ten founders of the PCC in 1925 were Jewish. (5) The rest, as Simons has noted, were left-wing Cuban intellectuals. (6)
In order to give context to this situation, it is important to note that in 1924 there were only 24,000 Jews in Cuba out of a total population, as recorded in the 1931 Cuban census, of 3,962,344. This equates to Jews representing only 0.6 percent of the Cuban population.
Therefore the fact that three out of the ten founders of the PCC (i.e. thirty percent) were Jewish, while not conclusive it is suggestive that Jewish involvement with the PCC was significant.
Indeed, one of these three founders, Yunger Semjovich aka Fabio Grobart, (7) was in many ways the old man of communism in Cuba between 1925 and 1959. When in 1944 the PCC transformed itself into the Partido Socialista Popular (i.e. Popular Socialist Party or PSP), Grobart was one of the party leaders who made and carried out the decision.
The PSP formed the corner stone of the revolutionary movement in Cuba during the 1940s and early 1950s. Only with the emergence of the Revolutionary Directory student movement lead by Faure Chomon and Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement (hereafter M26J) did this begin to change.
When Castro arrived back in Cuba from Mexico in November 1956, he did so on board the yacht Granma, the money for which had been donated by a Jew. (8) When he emerged victorious in the 1959 Cuban revolution, he had the support of Grobart’s PSP as well as the Revolutionary Directory and, most importantly, his M26J group.
The M26J movement also included among its senior commanders one Enrique Oltuski Osacki — born in Cuba in 1930 to Polish Jewish immigrant parents — (9) who served as a vital link between the M26J guerrillas and the primarily urban movements of the Revolutionary Directory and PSP. (10) In addition to this, Osacki served as the head of the M26J movement in the central Las Villas province. (11)
It is also a well-established, but not widely known fact that the M26J was funded by Castro’s long-time friend Ricardo Subirana Lobo, aka Richard Wolf, who was a Cuban Jew. (12)
Once Batista had been toppled in 1959, Osacki was appointed as the Minister of Communication and was one of the three M26J representatives in the new Cuban cabinet. (13) In 1960, he was subsequently appointed as Che Guevara’s deputy in the Department of Industrialisation and then joined the Central Economic Planning Board (JUCEPLAN). (14) As of 2009 he was Vice Minister for Fishing. (15)
After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, Fabio Grobart was one of the most trusted of Fidel’s confidants and government officials. (16) As late as 1986 Grobart was still a very prominent and influential Cuban communist leader, in the third Cuban Party Congress in that year it was Grobart who introduced Casto to the delegates. (17)
Richard Wolf predictably became Castro’s ambassador to Israel in 1960 and successfully promoted trade and scientific exchanges, which allowed Cuba to break the US blockade of the country. (18)
These weren’t the only members of Cuba’s Jewish population who supported and benefited from Castro’s communist revolution — Manual Stolik Novigod, a Jew who became one of Castro’s top diplomats is yet another example — (19) but the foregoing discussion clearly demonstrates that, as 0.6 percent of the Cuban population at the time, Jews played a significant and disproportionate role in bringing about the murder and terror that has accompanied Castro’s rule in Cuba.
Put it this way: Jews bankrolled Castro’s M26J group, one of Castro’s key commanders was a Jew, the long-time head of the ‘official communist party’ in Cuba and a Castro ally was a Jew and Castro believed himself to be of Jewish ancestry.
Taking into consideration the population demographics of Cuba and how small the Jewish community in the country was at the time (0.6 percent of the population), it would have been difficult for Castro’s communist revolution to have been more Jewish than it in fact was.
(2) Allan Metz, 1993, ‘Cuban-Israeli Relations’, p. 117 in Jorge Perez-Lopez (Ed.), 1993, Cuban Studies 23, 1st Edition, University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh
(4) Richard Gott, 2004, Cuba: A New History, 1st Edition, Yale University Press: New Haven, p. 132
(5) Metz, Op. Cit., p. 115
(6) Geoff Simons, 1996, Cuba: From Conquistadors to Castro, 1st Edition, MacMillan: Basingstoke, p. 242
(7) Tad Szulic, 1986, Fidel: A Critical Portrait, 1st Edition, Hutchinson: London, pp. 83, 190-191
(8) Metz, Op. Cit., p. 115
(9) Helen Yaffe, 2009, Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution, 1st Edition, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke, p. 286
(10) Ibid, pp. 38; 286
(11) Simon Reid-Henry, 2008, Fidel & Che: A Revolutionary Friendship, 1st Edition, Hodder & Stoughton: London, p. 196; Szulic, Op. Cit., p. 362; Yaffe, Op. Cit., p. 286
(13) Szulic, Op. Cit., p. 373
(14) Reid-Henry, Op. Cit., pp. 235; 253; Yaffe, Op. Cit., p. 286
(15) Yaffe, Op. Cit., p. 286
(16) Reid-Henry, Op. Cit., p. 251
(17) Szulic, Op. Cit., p. 81
(19) Metz, Op. Cit., p. 115
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Source: The Purity Spiral