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Although preoccupied by the war it had been waging against India in the Himalayas since 20 October, --which did not prevent New Delhi from condemning Kennedy's "foolishness" (The Hindustan Times), or the illegality of the blockade (The Statesman)-- China launched, as of 25 October, a large-scale "anti-American campaign" in the main cities where a succession of "mass rallies" and "enthusiastic meetings evinced "the total support given by the people of China to the people of Cuba".

A pro-Cuban demonstration in Beijing

A pro-Cuban demonstration in Beijing
A pro-Cuban demonstration in Beijing

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The People's Daily, November 5, 1962
The People's Daily
November 5, 1962

There were demonstrations and parades every day: two weeks later, some 300,000 people marched in the streets of Beijing shouting "Heroic Cuba Shall Overcome!". The crisis hit headlines and filled front pages, and the Press, following the People's Daily in its 27 October issue, hammered in the idea that "the Cuban revolution was forever". The Soviet position was third-page news.

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Beijing used the crisis to challenge Moscow's leadership of the international Communist movement. Pointing out Khrushchev's errors to Third World countries, the People's Daily, accused the Soviet Union of "revisionism" and Khrushchev of "defeatism", making him responsible for a "Soviet Munich".

The People's Daily, October 27, 1962
The People's Daily
October 27, 1962
The People's Daily, October 29, 1962
The People's Daily
October 29, 1962

The crisis did indeed feed the rivalry between the Soviets and China, as they were both engaged in gaining preponderance in Asia and Africa. In the meantime, Rabat, Phnom Penh, Dakar, Libreville or Jakarta were applauding the "heroic people of Cuba". At the request of the USA, France brought pressure to bear on such client African states as Senegal, so as to get them to refuse the landing rights the Soviets requested in order for them to run the blockade and fly supplies to Cuba.

In Latin America, there were sharply contrasted responses, in so far as the Castro revolution and national liberation had met with a favourable reception. Public concern was running high in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Peru, where the Cuban and Soviet images suffered a severe blow. Throughout Latin America there were anti-American demonstrations followed by rioting: in La Paz, 5 people were killed and 27 wounded. But, generally, public opinions could not understand how the Cuban regime could strike an alliance with a superpower, nor why the Soviet Union could drop a client state like a hot potato. The media fuelled their doubts, insisting on the danger of nuclear war. Some newspapers, such as the unofficial Mexican daily El Nacional, advocated the eradication of all Marxist organizations in Cuba. The Latin American political leaders were favourable to the USA, and on 23 October the OAS adopted a resolution in line with their stand. As a matter of fact, they had excluded Cuba in January 1962.

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