“We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home,” raved Che Guevara in his message to the Tri-Continental Conference, “to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm!”
“The more I get to know Che Guevara,” beamed Benicio del Toro to In Touch magazine as he prepped for the role of Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s homage to the cruel revolutionary, “the more I respect him. Che was just one of those guys who walked the walk and talked the talk. There’s just something cool about people like that. ”
Fortunately, on Nov. 17, 1962, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI foiled the “walking of the walk” that Castro and Che had planned for us “hyenas” on Black Friday. Cuban agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving.
A little perspective: the March 2004 Madrid subway blasts, all 10 of the explosions that killed and maimed almost 2000 people, used a grand total of 100 kilos of TNT. Castro and Che’s agents planned to set off five times that explosive power in the three biggest department stores on earth — and on the year’s biggest shopping day, for good measure.
Thousands of New Yorkers, probably mostly women and children, were to be incinerated and entombed.
Castro and Che planned their Manhattan holocaust just weeks after Nikita Khrushchev foiled their plans for an even bigger massacre during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “If the missiles had remained,” Che Guevara confided to The London Daily Worker the following month, “we would have used them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City.”
Castro knew the Soviet missiles in Cuba’s possession were nuclear-armed. The Cuban dictator revealed to Robert McNamara during a meeting in 1992 that, in fact, the missiles’ nuclear capacity was “precisely why [he] urged Khrushchev to launch them.”
Soviet ambassador to Cuba during the Missile Crisis, Alexander Alexiev, reports a fascinating — if unsurprising — datum about those days. While Castro was begging, threatening, even trying to trick Khrushchev into launching a nuclear strike against the U.S., while he was ranting and yelling and waving his arms about grabbing his Czech machine gun and “fighting the Yankee invaders to the last man!” a “fearful” Castro and Che were also making reservations with Alexiev for a first-class seats in the Soviet embassy’s bomb shelter.
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