In November 1940, a young Fidel Castro wrote a rather cheeky and amusing letter to the then US president Franklin Roosevelt. In the letter, Castro asked Roosevelt for some money — a $10 bill. He even told Roosevelt about Cuba’s largest iron mines:
Santiago de Cuba, November 6th 1940
Mr. Franklin Roosvelt
President of the United States:
My good friend Roosvelt:
I don’t know very English, but I know as much as write to you.
I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy, because I heard in it, that you will be President for a new (periodo).
I am twelve years old. I am a boy but I think very much, but I do not think that I am writing to the President of the United States.
If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.
My address is:
Sr. Fidel Castro
Colegio de Dolores
Santiago de Cuba
I don’t know very English but I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don’t know very Spanish but you know very English because you are American but I am not American.
Thank you very much
Good by. Your friend,
F. Castro (signed)
If you want iron to make your ships I will show to you the bigest (minas) of iron in the land. They are in Mayorí, Oriente, Cuba.
Note: In 1940, Castro was fourteen years old (he was born on August 13, 1926), not twelve, as the letter inaccurately stated.
Castro said that he did receive a reply from the White House, though it was just a standard thank you note sent by a bureaucrat. So, he didn’t get a $10 bill and his offer to tell the whereabouts of the largest iron mines in Cuba fell on deaf ears.