Fidel Castro Had Secret Nukes: Transcript

But Soviets removed the tactical nukes after relations soured

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 12, 2012 3:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Think the threat of a nuclear Cuba ended with the Cuban Missile Crisis? Apparently not—because the Soviets had only removed their medium-range nuclear missiles under US pressure in November of 1962, and left about 100 tactical nukes unknown to the United States, Foreign Policy reports. But the Soviets decided not to leave those weapons behind when relations soured between Fidel Castro and Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan.

Visiting Cuba, Mikoyan struggled to make an agreement with Castro, who was angry over the missile withdrawal. Matters worsened when Castro told his UN representative to reveal the country's nuclear weapons stash, partly to gain leverage on inspections. Ultimately, Mikoyan told Castro the Soviets would remove the tactical nukes for their own reasons—not because of US pressure. "What do you think we are?" said an irate Castro. "A zero on the left, a dirty rag. We tried to help the Soviet Union to get out of a difficult situation." Click for a document that recounts the full meeting.

Above: Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1962, and below, President John F. Kennedy in Washington, April 3, 1963.   (AP Photo/Prensa Latina via AP Images, AP Photo, File)
Above: in a Oct. 23, 1962 file photo, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro; and below, a man walks past souvenir plates featuring Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China.   (AP Photos/File, Eugene Hoshiko)
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