Fair Play for Cuba Committee
The Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) was an activist group set up in New York in April 1960. The FPCC's purpose was to provide grassroots support for the Cuban Revolution against attacks by the United States government, once Fidel Castro began openly admitting his commitment to Marxism and began the expropriation and nationalization of Cuban assets belonging to U.S. corporations. The FPCC opposed the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, the imposition of the United States embargo against Cuba, and was sympathetic to the Cuban view during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Subsidiary Fair Play for Cuba groups were set up throughout the United States and Canada. Among its twenty-nine early notable supporters were William Appleman Williams, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, James Baldwin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Waldo Frank and Carleton Beals.
The Fair Play for Cuba Committee has been the subject of much speculation. It was accused by some of being a Soviet front, with little real support outside of a few dedicated American communists. However, it seems to have been connected to the Trotskyist Socialist Workers' Party.
The FPCC achieved notoriety through the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans. Oswald would later be accused of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of Oswald's FPCC leaflets had the address "544 Camp Street" hand-stamped on it, apparently by Oswald himself. This address was in the same building as the office of Guy Banister, an ex-FBI agent who was involved in anti-Castro and intelligence activities. There is no evidence Oswald actually rented an property at 544 Camp Street and it has been suggested he only used the address on his leaflets to embarrass Banister, who was well known for his anti-communism.
Oswald's New Orleans activities were investigated by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, as part of his prosecution of Clay Shaw in 1969. The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) also investigated the possible relationship of Oswald to Banister's office in the late 1970s.
In his 2002 book, The Kennedy Conspiracy (2002), Anthony Summers asserted that documents indicate both the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI infiltrated the FPCC. He quoted a CIA officer saying "We did everything we could to make sure it was not successful -- to smear it ... to penetrate it. I think Oswald may have been part of a penetration attempt."
Vincent T. Lee shut down the national Fair Play for Cuba Committee in December 1963 when its landlord evicted the group from its national office; the notoriety accorded to it, following the Kennedy assassination, made it impossible for the committee to continue its work. The group continued to exist in Canada and still published several pamphlets until late 1964.
- Richard Gott : Cuba a new History 177-178
- E.Van Gosse, Where the bous Are; Cuba and the Cold war, and the making of the new left,London 1993
- "Pro-Castro Organization Now Defunct" United Press International. December 29, 1963.
- "XIII. 544 Camp Street and Related Events". Appendix to Hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives X. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. March 1979. p. 123.
- Appendix to Hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Volume X & 1979 pages 123-124.
- Appendix to Hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Volume X & 1979 pages 128.
- Cassels, Louis (June 17, 1961). "Fair Play for Cuba Committee Activated". Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, California). UPI. p. 11. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Edson, Peter (October 21, 1962). "Edson in Washington; Defectors to Castro". The Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky). NEA. p. 21. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Testimony of Vincent T. Lee in regard to Oswald and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee
- Transcript of the radio debate between FPCC representative Lee Harvey Oswald, Ed Butler and Carlos Bringuier
- Fair Play for Cuba and the Cuban Revolution by Bill Simpich, CounterPunch, July 24, 2009
- George E. Rennar Papers. 1933-1972. 37.43 cubic feet. At the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. Contains materials about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.