Comrades and Arms

When Fidel Castro asked for a show of hands in support of his new policies, an American journalist captured the response

(Cheryl Carlin)
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Castro "never believed he would get a million people to show up in the plaza," Guerra says. "He's really blown away. You see picture after picture of his face and the photographs of the crowd." After he asks for their support, Castro sees a forest of hands stretching to the sky. "Then there's this shot of Fidel's face," Guerra goes on. "He turns around, and he's surrounded by Che and Camilo and all the guys from the Sierra, and he gives them this look...‘We did it!' " For the first time, she says, "Fidel realized the visual dimensions of his power."

Within a year, however, St. George would become disillusioned with the revolution and return to the United States, where he reported on Cuban exiles plotting against the Castro government. Guevara ended up dismissing St. George as "the FBI guy," and he was routinely accused of being a CIA agent. His widow denies the charge. "He was Hungarian, so of course he was anti-communist," she says. "But he never worked for the CIA."

Guy Gugliotta covered Cuba for the Miami Herald in the 1980s.


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