Could FDR Have Prevented the Cuban Revolution?

Santiago de Cuba

Nov 6 1940

Mr Franklin Roosvelt, President of the United States.

My good friend Roosvelt I don’t know very English, but I know as much as write to you. I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy, because I heard in it, that you will be President for a new (periodo). I am twelve years old. I am a boy but I think very much but I do not think that I am writing to the President of the United States. If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.

My address is:

Sr Fidel Castro
Colegio de Dolores
Santiago de Cuba
Oriente Cuba

I don’t know very English but I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don’t know very Spanish but you know very English because you are American but I am not American.

(Thank you very much)

Good by. Your friend,

(Signed)

Fidel Castro

If you want iron to make your sheaps ships I will show to you the bigest (minas) of iron of the land. They are in Mayari Oriente Cuba.

A $10 bill seems like quite a steal! From Letters of Note, via Matt Yglesias. For more on how to run a dictatorship, see Monday’s post. If you would like to read more about side payments in politics, see James Fearon’s “Rationalist Explanations for War.”