‘OPERATION DULCINEA’ The Hijacking of the SS Santa Maria, 21 January— 2 February 1961.

Surrounded on all sides by the US Sixth Fleet, the DRIL finally agreed to negotiate with the Americans. Rear-Admiral Allen Smith, second-in-command of the US Atlantic Fleet, came on board the Santa Liberdade with a number of his officers and two CIA men on Sunday 29th January to negotiate on behalf of Admiral Robert L. Dennison, the commander-in-chief of the US Atlantic Fleet[/caption]

“THE ‘WINDS OF CHANGE’ heralded by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan in February 1960 were global ones. His Cape Town speech, referring as it did to Africa and, considering the Portuguese dictatorship’s massive dependence on Angola and Mozambique, no doubt made António de Oliveira Salazar distinctly uneasy. It also gave heart to the anti-colonialist movement worldwide. In Venezuela in 1958, the dictator Marco Pérez Jímenez, faced with growing popular opposition, stuffed his suitcase with dollars one day and fled to the US. On January 1 the following year, armed guerrillas marched into Havana, overthrowing another US cacique, Fulgencio Batista.

“These events gave a major boost to the expectations of radicals and liberals everywhere. Across Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula young people began to believe that the idea of toppling tyrants looked achievable and, finally, the time had come to rise up in arms against Franco and Salazar. New opposition groups began to emerge inside Spain itself such as the libertarian Movimiento Popular de Resistencia (MPR) and the socialist-oriented Frente de Liberación Popular (FLP).

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