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New Yorkers Support President on Cuba but Wonder if It’s “Too Late”

Oct. 23, 1962 - The reaction of New Yorkers today to President Kennedy’s speech last night was a combination of “It’s about time we took strong action on Cuba” and dread of the consequences. In scores of on-the-street interviews, all except those connected with peace groups said they supported the President’s stand. Almost all stated opinions like these: “He ought to have spoken up earlier,” “The only fault with the speech was that it was too long in coming,” and “I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a bit too late, but better late than never.” Jack Kessler, a taxi driver, had this to say: “Who could’ve said it better than Kennedy? We should’ve done it a year ago. But it don’t feel nice knowing that that chicken-plucker down there could drop a couple on us. Castro’s a lawyer, but a little nuts. He’s just likely to say, ‘The jig is up,’ and — boom!” Mr. Kessler’s “chicken-plucker” referred to an allegation that during a 1959 visit to New York, Premier Castro and his entourage plucked and cooked chickens in his suite for fear of being poisoned.


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