Both before and after Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba on January 1, 1959, the major media in America portrayed him as a champion of the Cuban people and a freedom fighter who was not a communist. It was not until December 1961, when Castro himself said he was a communist, that the media acknowledged this truth. Later, in an April 26, 1963 press conference, Dwight Eisenhower, who was president when Castro came to power, opined: "It would have taken a genius of prophecy to know that Castro was a Communist when he took control of Cuba." But Eisenhower did not say that Robert Welch, who founded the John Birch Society the month before Castro came to power, was warning at the time that Castro was a communist.
Christmas morning dawned gloomy and cold over the rebel camp. The low, overcast sky promised drizzle, or worse, by afternoon. The temperature, hovering just above freezing the past few days, was now dropping rapidly. The weather conditions did not improve the mood of the soldiers who, having skewered chunks of meat with the ramrods from their flint-lock firearms, were squatting around low campfires preparing the morning's repast.