Government leaders from the Caribbean have told American officials that "Cubans are all over the place in the Caribbean," even dating secretaries at a foreign ministers' conference in Jamaica to get information and promote Cuban interests.
By contrast, the officials complained that the "United States was nowhere to be found." One asked that the United States do more to prevent leftist coups in the area, including organizing a regional coast guard. The United States might send more of its warships into the Caribbean, this official said.
These items were relayed to the White House by Robert Pastor, National Security Council expert on Latin America, in a secret memorandum obtained by The Chicago Tribune. Pastor, in a report dated June 18, said Henry forde, foreign ministerof Barbados, told him he was "extremely concerned about the expansion of Cuban influence in the Caribbean."
Relaying his talks with Forde, Pastor wrote:
"At a recent foreign ministers' conference in Jamaica, he said that the Cubans took out a large number of rooms in the hotel where all the foreign ministers were staying and even went so far as trying to date the secretaries as a way to get information. They sought interviews with all the foreign ministers."
What worries Forde and other Caribbean leaders is a return by Castro to a policy of exporting revolution there, and a lack of U.S. response. After nearly a decade of directing his attention elsewhere, Castro has once again begun providing arms and advice to leftist guerrillas in Caribbean countries.
Forde told Pastor that Prime Minister Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, and Premier Lee Moore of St. Kitts and Nevis, were concerned, too.
Williams was said to be cutting off aid to Guyana because it had become involved with the leftist movement in Grenada. Williams and Moore were said to be interested in a coast guard "to be a regional strike force to prevent a repetition of the Grenada coup."
According to an assessment by the CIA, Castro has his own domino theory. He believes the eventual fall of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua will have a "ripple effect" throughout Central America and the Caribbean, bringing a wave of leftist governments.
The NSC's Pastor was told that, in the Caribbean, Cuba used small amounts of money "through friendly professors in the University of the West Indies and other institutions to help their groups on each island."
Cuba first concentrated on Jamaica when it began to re-enter the Caribbean theater. It provides technical assistance to the government there.