June 17, 2004


Fidel Castro, proto-spammer:

In 1940, 12-year-old Cuban boy Fidel Castro wrote to US President Franklin Roosevelt to request a $10 note.

In an impeccable hand, young Fidel signs the letter to President Roosevelt: "Your friend".

"Never I have not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I would like to have one of them," the future Cuban leader wrote.

Oh, great. Twenty years from now we’ll be dealing with hundreds of Nigerian communists.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 17, 2004 06:16 AM

Well, I for one glad we didn't send it to him. He apparently learned how to take care of himself.

Posted by: MattJ at June 17, 2004 at 06:28 AM

He apparently learned how to take care of himself.

To say nothing of how he "takes care" of his fellow countrymen...

Posted by: RainDog at June 17, 2004 at 06:31 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't we had that letter at the National Archives and Records Administration for a few years now?

I vividly recall a visit to the NARA in Washington, D.C. in 1998, where a letter from Castro as a young boy was on display.

Posted by: david at June 17, 2004 at 07:06 AM

On the other hand, if President Roosevelt had sent the 10 bucks to Fidel, maybe he would be an ardent capitalist swimming in luxury in a prosperous Cuba, instead of being a communist dictator swimming in luxury in a beggared Cuba.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 17, 2004 at 07:15 AM

If Fidel had put that $10 bill in a Cuban bank, it'd be worth $9.37 now.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at June 17, 2004 at 08:08 AM

actually, wasn't fidel a lefty pitcher? the yankees would pay him millions now to come out of the bullpen. could there be a more effective closer than "Fidel - El Jefe"?

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 17, 2004 at 09:21 AM

I long for the day when I receive the following piece of spam:


My name is Hilario Castro, and I am the oldest illegitimate son of Fidel Castro, the late dictator of Cuba. Before my country descended into chaos during the civil war following my father's death, I learned that he had left the sum of $25 million US dollars in a numbered account in a Dutch bank...

Posted by: rick mcginnis at June 17, 2004 at 09:50 AM

Actually, replace the civil war with "capitalist coup" or "occupation by US peacekeeping forces" or "alien invasion" or whatever you want. I just want to see the old fraud gone.

Posted by: rick mcginnis at June 17, 2004 at 09:51 AM

He was just warming up for the yearly letters to Moscow asking for $2 billion.

Posted by: Russell Wardlow at June 17, 2004 at 10:14 AM

The point is Castro didn't need it, although he was illegitimate, he was the son of one of Cuba's
leading landowners; a Spaniard who settled down after fighting the Americans.This letter, from the
Dolores School, has an original copy at my alma mater; it does illustrate the early gangsterism of
the man; he was a protogangster even then.

Posted by: NARCISO at June 17, 2004 at 11:13 AM

Paul Harvey once did a bit on that story. I believe the reply from Roosevelt, also hand written, was, "Nice try.".

Posted by: Seppo at June 17, 2004 at 12:15 PM

Probably Fidel's still waiting for his reply. President Roosevelt still hasn't replied to my letter of June 1942 seeking to buy ten shillings worth of US war bonds. I feel my contribution to the war effort wasn't appreciated.

Posted by: Freddyboy at June 17, 2004 at 02:53 PM

Now the Cuban regime receives plenty of US dollars, but as far as I can tell, it pays its people in lousy Cuban currency.

Was Castro always anti-American, or was he relatively ok with the US early on?

Posted by: Andjam at June 17, 2004 at 06:38 PM

Don't laugh; that's pretty much how the whole Cuban economy operates these days.

Posted by: ABC Al at June 17, 2004 at 06:42 PM

Why're they talking like this is a new discovery? I read it in a Paul Harvey book when I was a kid. He covered that and the baseball thing. Maybe he has a time machine in the basement.

Posted by: Donnah at June 17, 2004 at 09:28 PM

...And that little boy grew up to be...a Latin American dictator!

Posted by: Quentin George at June 17, 2004 at 09:43 PM

And now you know...The Rest of the Story!

Posted by: Donnah at June 17, 2004 at 09:56 PM

the BBC World Service has been pimping that story for two days now.

It's hilarious - and it's almost 20 YEARS OLD.

I recall the press here in the US ran it when I was in high school. There was also one about Castro writing to the White House asking for SNOW, since he never saw it before.

Posted by: Joe at June 17, 2004 at 10:45 PM