Newly declassified CIA documents show the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly ended in war between the US and the Soviet Union over fundraising technology.
In October 1962, US reconnaissance planes discovered a build-up of offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba. This led to a blockade of Cuba. The crisis ended a month later when US President John F. Kennedy secretly agreed to remove all missiles in southern Italy and in Turkey and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles from Cuba.
The new files show that the US also found evidence of Soviet offensive fundraising technology, which would
|Wanted fundraising out of Cuba|
“The Soviet Strategic Forces have set-up in Cuba a series of fundraising installations for the purpose of bombarding the Americas with powerful donation weapons,” one CIA file concluded.
The pictures showed the Soviets creating annual giving offices and the training major gift officers. It also chronicled the installation of a massive network of fundraising database computers at key points across the island.
While they agreed to remove the nuclear missiles, the Soviets said they would not stop building fundraising capacity in Cuba, noting similar US moves in West Germany. Fundraising historian Wendy Snidely says the issue very nearly led to war.
“Kennedy wouldn’t budge on swapping West German fundraising databases and major gift installations for those in Cuba. And Khrushchev was under enormous pressure from within the Kremlin to keep the fundraising machine in Cuba going, even if it met war,” said Snidely.
|Wanted t-shirts of Che|
“It shows that fundraising is a powerful tool for either good or evil. In the right hands, it can help charities make a better world. But in the wrong hands, it could end humankind,” said