No More Cigars

From Jean-Paul Sartre to Susan Sontag, Fidel Castro courted—and received—the support of useful idiots in the West.

Shortly after taking power in 1959, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro took up Vladimir Lenin’s old strategy of gaining the support of “progressive” intellectuals in Europe and the United States. Lenin called them “useful idiots.” French writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir became Castro’s first marks.

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