Ronald Hilton (July 31, 1911, Torquay, England – February 20, 2007, Palo Alto, California) was a British-American academic, reporter and think-tank specialist, specializing in Latin America and, in particular, Fidel Castro's Cuba.
Ronald Hilton was educated at Oxford University and at the University of California at Berkeley and became a US citizen in 1946. He launched the Hispanic American Report in 1948. He was an academic expert on Latin America who helped to uncover the CIA’s clandestine preparations for the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in April 1961. He spent most of his long working life at Stanford University.
During a research trip to Guatemala in 1960, he learned that a group of Cuban exiles were training at a secret camp (which everybody there seemed to know about) for their ill-fated attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime. Hilton was the main source when the left-wing weekly The Nation broke the story in November 1960. The invasion went ahead anyway a few months later, after the Kennedy administration succeeded in persuading the New York Times (NYT), that had decided to follow up the Nation story, to delay publishing its own investigations.
Hilton later published a series of articles about Castro’s (1959) revolution in the Hispanic American Report that were written by Herbert Matthews and which the NYT had declined to publish because it felt that Matthews had grown too close to the Cuban leader. He founded the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) in 1965, a global political, economic and religious forum, after resigning as the Director of the Institute of Hispanic American and Luso-Brazilian Studies (Bolivar House), which he had founded earlier at Stanford University. Hilton continued in his post as the Professor of Romanic Languages at the Stanford University until he retired at the mandatory age of 65.
In 1970, he launched the World Affairs Report, that continued publication until 1990 and became an on-line publication afterward. He became a Visiting Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford in 1987. He died in 2007 from cancer, aged 95.
In 1939, he married a fellow student, Mary Bowie, while both were enrolled in graduate studies at Berkeley. Mary Bowie Hilton died in 2007. A daughter survives them.