I hope it made Kennedy shit in his pants

September 11, 1962

This is fantastic news, unexpected news: Khrushchev has said publicly exactly what needed to be said: if the U.S. attacks and invades Cuba, he will order his nuclear forces to pummel the United States, to destroy the gringo nation and gringo empire once and for all. Frankly, I didn’t think Comrade Nikita had it in him. Yes, he has gone out on a limb to deliver the weapons to our island, and we appreciate it. That is a real and meaningful commitment. But against the gringos, you must be willing to use them, and to say you will use them, in the face of enemy aggression. But he said it: you mess with Cuba and we’ll destroy you.

Of course, he did not precisely let the cat out of the bag. He did not say, “we will destroy you, Uncle Sam, by using the missiles we are deploying in Cuba.” That is what we have been trying to get him to say for months. He is still skittish about it. But we will take our satisfaction with the Russians where we find it. And I find Khrushchev’s latest statement very reassuring. I hope it made Kennedy shit in his pants.

This means that we Cubans can begin to be more honest about what is going on here. I think I may send Dorticos to the UN next month to test the limits as to how honest we can be. What if Osvaldo said something like, “we have all the means we need to repel an invasion of our island, on our island,” or words to that effect. Coming from a Cuban, this could mean only one thing—that we have nukes in Cuba. Coming from Khrushchev, the way he stated it today, it is ambiguous. He might mean the Soviets would respond from Cuba, but he sort of implies that the Soviet retaliation on our behalf would come from the USSR itself. I’ll have Osvaldo stick it to them in New York. Hah hah hah! That might make both Kennedy and Khrushchev shit in their pants!

I see that the gringo newspapers are quoting the American secretary of state as saying that Kennedy is not worked up in the least about Khrushchev’s statements. That implies that Khrushchev is bluffing. We need a different headline. I will tell the editor of Revolucion that we need a headline like, “Khrushchev to Kennedy: Rockets Will Rain Down on the U.S. if it Invades Cuba.” Our people need to know that we are not alone in this struggle with the gringos.

And maybe we can push Khrushchev a little in the direction of honesty about what is going on here.