As a youngster in the 1950s and 60s, the big thing hanging over my head was the Russians and the bomb. The propaganda was relentless. The fear we felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) was real in us. I remember a gal named Susan who was teachers’ pet assigned to go to all eight classrooms in our school to announce that the Russians had backed down. Our sense of relief was palpable. Creating fear in children in that manner is abusive, but the idea is to get ’em while they are young, instill the fear so that it will reside in them for their entire lives.
At age 38 I finally realized that the USSR never posed a threat, that the Cold War was not real, I felt a physical sense of relief, as if a cloud had been removed, a weight taken off my shoulders. That physical sensation was real. All the fear they instilled in me as a child vanished, and I felt a wonderful freedom I’d never before experienced.
I did this for myself, that is, I was not following some leader or guru. I was just exploring and testing my boundaries when the dam broke. It was an accumulation of questions and doubts arising, and no specific instance. But I do remember a particular moments. In the book The Fish is Red, by Warren Hinkle and William Turner, there is a a brief section (pp 129-31) where it is alleged that Havana had concocted a plan to overthrow the Arturo Frondizi Ércol government of Argentina. A Cuban career diplomat serving in Buenos Aires resigned and took with him eighty-two documents that purported to detail such a plan. The Cuban government claimed that the documents were forged by Cuban exiles working with the CIA. The US State Department announced that it had exhaustively studied the documents and that they were genuine.