The Soviet Union secretly planned to leave 100 nuclear weapons on Cuba after the end of the crisis but were so scared by Fidel Castro’s instability that they made up a law to retrieve them.Documents released by the US National Security Archive disclose how close Cuba came in 1962 to becoming Latin America’s first nuclear power.
Minutes of a meeting with Anastas Mikoyan, the Soviet deputy prime minister, show Castro was furious at the USSR ending the crisis by agreeing to remove its strategic missiles.
Unknown to Washington, the Soviets had left 100 tactical nuclear weapons on Cuba, and documents suggest they planned to train Cubans how to use them.
But Mikoyan was so concerned at Castro’s erratic behaviour during a diplomatic visit that he wrote back to Moscow that they must urgently take back the remaining bombs.
“What do you think we are?” an emotional Castro asked during the four-hour November 22 meeting. “A zero on the Left, a dirty rag. We tried to help the Soviet Union to get out of a difficult situation.”
Mikoyan was driven to cite a non-existent Soviet law banning the transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to other countries. “And when are you going to repeal that law?” Castro asked. “We will see,” he said.
The documents, which came from the archives of Mikoyan’s late son, feature in a new book titled The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis.
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