Cuba Revolution Quotes

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The only way we'll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba -- yes Cuba too.
Malcolm X
Anarchy is like custard cooking over a flame; it has to be constantly stirred or it sticks and gets heavy, like government.
Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues)
To the accusation that Cuba wants to export its revolution, we reply: Revolutions are not exported, they are made by the people.
Fidel Castro
I have met only a very few people - and most of these were not Americans - who had any real desire to be free. Freedom is hard to bear. It can be objected that I am speaking of political freedom in spiritual terms, but the political institutions of any nation are always menaced and are ultimately controlled by the spiritual state of that nation. We are controlled here by our confusion, far more than we know, and the American dream has therefore become something much more closely resembling a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels. Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and, internationally, for many millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster. Whoever doubts this last statement has only to open his ears, his heart, his mind, to the testimony of - for example - any Cuban peasant or any Spanish poet, and ask himself what he would feel about us if he were the victim of our performance in pre-Castro Cuba or in Spain. We defend our curious role in Spain by referring to the Russian menace and the necessity of protecting the free world. It has not occurred to us that we have simply been mesmerized by Russia, and that the only real advantage Russia has in what we think of as a struggle between the East and the West is the moral history of the Western world. Russia's secret weapon is the bewilderment and despair and hunger of millions of people of whose existence we are scarecely aware. The Russian Communists are not in the least concerned about these people. But our ignorance and indecision have had the effect, if not of delivering them into Russian hands, of plunging them very deeply in the Russian shadow, for which effect - and it is hard to blame them - the most articulate among them, and the most oppressed as well, distrust us all the more... We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is. Anyway, the point here is that we are living in an age of revolution, whether we will or no, and that America is the only Western nation with both the power, and, as I hope to suggest, the experience that may help to make these revolutions real and minimize the human damage.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
[W]e understood perfectly that the life of a single human being is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest man on earth. . . . [The revolution] demands they understand that pride in serving our fellow man is much more important than a good income; that the people's gratitude is much more permanent, much more lasting than all the gold one can accumulate.
Ernesto Che Guevara
I resent the hell out of the politicians and generals who force events on us that structure our lives, that dictate the memories we'll have when we're old.
Cristina García (Dreaming in Cuban)
Nine Negro boys in Alabama were on trial for their lives when I got back from Cuba and Haiti. The famous Scottsboro "rape" case was in full session. I visited those boys in the death house at Kilby Prison, and I wrote many poems about them. One of those poems was: CHRIST IN ALABAMA Christ is a Nigger, Beaten and black-- O, bare your back. Mary is His Mother-- Mammy of the South, Silence your mouth. God's His Father-- White Master above, Grant us your love. Most holy bastard Of the bleeding mouth: Nigger Christ On the cross of the South.
Langston Hughes (Good Morning, Revolution: Uncollected Social Protest Writings)
Through Jimi Hendrix's music you can almost see the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and of Martin Luther King Junior, the beginnings of the Berlin Wall, Yuri Gagarin in space, Fidel Castro and Cuba, the debut of Spiderman, Martin Luther King Junior’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Ford Mustang cars, anti-Vietnam protests, Mary Quant designing the mini-skirt, Indira Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister of India, four black students sitting down at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina, President Johnson pushing the Civil Rights Act, flower children growing their hair long and practicing free love, USA-funded IRA blowing up innocent civilians on the streets and in the pubs of Great Britain, Napalm bombs being dropped on the lush and carpeted fields of Vietnam, a youth-driven cultural revolution in Swinging London, police using tear gas and billy-clubs to break up protests in Chicago, Mods and Rockers battling on Brighton Beach, Native Americans given the right to vote in their own country, the United Kingdom abolishing the death penalty, and the charismatic Argentinean Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. It’s all in Jimi’s absurd and delirious guitar riffs.
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
Here’s another one,” he continued. “Do you know about the three main achievements of the Revolution? Healthcare, education, and sports. Do you know about the three failures of the Revolution? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Regina Anavy (Out of Cuba: Memoir of a Journey)
[The young communist] must always pay attention to the mass of human beings he lives among. Every Young Communist must fundamentally be hu­man, so human that he draws closer to humanity's best qualities. Through work, through study, and through ongoing solidarity with the people and all the peoples of the world, he distills the best of what man is. Developing to the utmost the sensitivity to feel an­guish when a human being is murdered in any corner of the world and to feel enthusiasm when a new banner of freedom is raised in any corner of the world. [Applause] The Young Communist cannot be limited by national borders. The Young Communist must practice proletarian internationalism and feel it as his own.
Ernesto Che Guevara
In consequence, the National General Assembly of the People of Cuba proclaims before America: the right of peasants to land; the right of the worker to the fruit of his labor; the right of children to receive education; the right of the sick to receive medical and hospital care; the right of the young to work; the right of students to receive free instruction, practical and scientific; the right of Negroes and Indians to 'a full measure of human dignity'; the right of woman to civil, social and political equality; the right of the aged to secure old age; the right of intellectuals, artists and scientists to fight through their work for a better world; the right of States to nationalize imperialist monopolies as a means of recovering national wealth and resources; the right of countries to engage freely in trade with all other countries of the world; the right of nations to full sovereignty; the right of people to convert their fortresses into schools and to arm their workers, peasants, students, intellectuals, Negroes, Indians, women, the young, the old, all the oppressed and exploited; that they may better defend, with their own hands, their rights and their future.
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
The Revolution, after discovering that it had confused the knife with the assassin, turned sugar, which had been responsible for underdevelopment, into an instrument of development. There was no alternative, born of Cuba's incorporation into the world market, to break the spine of that monoculture and dependence.
Eduardo Galeano (Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent)
Having reviewed President Trump’s new policy it is apparent that Carnival and Holland American Cruise Lines will continue to operate their cruises to Havana. My team and I are booked on one of these cruises and hope to help bring the people of Cuba and the United States back into the mainstream of cooperative societies.
Hank Bracker
In every society are men of base instincts. The sadists, brutes, conveyors of all the ancestral atavisms go about in the guise of human beings, but they are monsters, only more or less restrained by discipline and social habit. If they are offered a drink from a river of blood, they will not be satisfied until they drink the river dry.
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
Would the behavior of the United States during the war—in military action abroad, in treatment of minorities at home—be in keeping with a “people’s war”? Would the country’s wartime policies respect the rights of ordinary people everywhere to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? And would postwar America, in its policies at home and overseas, exemplify the values for which the war was supposed to have been fought? These questions deserve thought. At the time of World War II, the atmosphere was too dense with war fervor to permit them to be aired. For the United States to step forward as a defender of helpless countries matched its image in American high school history textbooks, but not its record in world affairs. It had opposed the Hatian revolution for independence from France at the start of the nineteenth century. It had instigated a war with Mexico and taken half of that country. It had pretended to help Cuba win freedom from Spain, and then planted itself in Cuba with a military base, investments, and rights of intervention. It had seized Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and fought a brutal war to subjugate the Filipinos. It had “opened” Japan to its trade with gunboats and threats. It had declared an Open Door Policy in China as a means of assuring that the United States would have opportunities equal to other imperial powers in exploiting China. It had sent troops to Peking with other nations, to assert Western supremacy in China, and kept them there for over thirty years.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present)
Yet this is not a novel. It is a faithful transcription of my memories, some of them hazy, others riddled with holes left by the passage of the years, others patched up by time and the filters of experience and distance, and still others, no doubt, completely invented by the stubborn narrator we all have within us, who wants things to be the way they sound best to us now, and not the way they were.
Alma Guillermoprieto (Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution)
I had witnessed this phenomenon in Cuba in the 1950s, when the idle rich were cruelly indifferent to poverty, and it had not surprised me when Fidel Castro had been able to organize his revolution. I had ample reason to despise that same Castro of recent years, for on major matters he had lied to me, encouraging me to make a fool of myself in my reports from Cuba, but I had to admit his drawing power and feared that much of Latin America, always hungry for a savior, would imitate Cuba—even Mexico.
James A. Michener (Mexico)
And now, in Madrid, Spain's besieged capital, I've met wide-awake Negroes from various parts of the world--New York, our Middle West, the French West Indies, Cuba, Africa--some stationed here, others on leave from their battalions--all of them here because they know that if Fascism creeps across Spain, across Europe, and then across the world, there will be no place left for intelligent young Negroes at all. In fact, no decent place for any Negroes--because Fascism preaches the creed of Nordic supremacy and a world for whites alone.
Langston Hughes (Good Morning, Revolution: Uncollected Social Protest Writings)
6) The National General Assembly of the people of Cuba - confident that it is expressing the general opinion of the peoples of Latin America - affirms that democracy is not compatible with financial oligarchy; with discrimination against the Negro; with disturbances by the Ku Klux Klan; nor with the persecution that drove scientists like Oppenheimer from their posts, deprived the world for years of the marvelous voice of Paul Robeson, held prisoner in his own country, and sent the Rosenbergs to their death against the protests of a shocked world including the appeals of many governments and of Pope Pius XII.
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
and some other shit, and the wife—can’t remember her name—would cry a lot. The kids were young. Three of them. They were okay, but they always talked about the big house they had in Cuba. And servants. So I guess they all felt like they got fucked.” He smiled. “Hey, I was born fucked in New Jersey.” There were two kinds of history: the kind you read about, and the kind you lived through—or were actually part of. For Jack, the Cuban Revolution was a childhood memory. For Sara, it was family history, and part of who she was. For Eduardo, it was a boyhood trauma and an obsession. And for me, it was irrelevant. Until today. Jack asked me, “You trust these people?” “My instincts say they’re honorable
Nelson DeMille (The Cuban Affair)
They contend, in their frenzy, that Cuba exports revolutions. There is room for the idea in their commercial, sleepless and pawnbroker minds, that revolutions can be bought or sold, rented, loaned, exported or imported as one more commodity. Ignorant of the objective laws which rule the development of human society, they believe that their monopolist, capitalist and semi-feudal regimes are eternal. Educated in their own reactionary ideology - a mixture of superstition, ignorance, subjectivism, pragmatism and other aberrations of the mind - they hold an image of the world and of the march of history which accords with their exploiting class interests. They presume that revolutions are born or die in the brains of individuals or by virtue of divine laws, and that the gods are on their side.
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
By October of 1958, most roads leading to the Oriente Province had become impassable. Bridges were cut and dropped by the rebels, making travel to the eastern part of Cuba extremely difficult. The elections in November were seen as an obvious sham and everyone knew that the only way to survive was to keep quiet and wait for changes to take place. Most of Batista’s supporters were still in denial and carried out their atrocities with abandon. Tension among the people in Havana had grown and as Christmas approached, it became obvious that this year things would be different. People that had been harassed, or worse, were in no mood to celebrate the holidays. With the country engaged in a civil war that affected everyone, Christmas was not celebrated in the usual manner during the winter of 1958.
Hank Bracker
Tamara Bunke was the only woman to fight alongside “Che” during his Bolivian campaign. She was an East German national, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 19, 1937, of Communist activist parents. As a child, her home was frequently used for meetings, hiding weapons and conducting other Communist activities. After World War II, in 1952 she returned to Germany where she attended Humboldt University in Berlin. Tamara met “Che” Guevara when she was an attractive 23-year-old woman in Leipzig, and he was with a Cuban Trade Delegation. The two instantly hit it off as she cozied up to him and, having learned how to fight and use weapons in Pinar del Rio in western Cuba, she joined his expedition to Bolivia. Becoming a spy for the ELN, she adopted the name “Tania” and posed as a right-wing authority of South-American music and folklore. In disguise, she managed to warm up to and entice Bolivian President René Barrientos. She even went on an intimate vacation to Peru with him.
Hank Bracker
We Negroes of America are tired of a world divided superficially on the basis of blood and color, but in reality on the basis of poverty and power—the rich over the poor, no matter what their color. We Negroes of America are tired of a world in which it is possible for any group of people to say to another: "You have no right to happiness, or freedom, or the joy of life." We are tired of a world where forever we work for someone else and the profits are not ours. We are tired of a world where, when we raise our voices against oppression, we are immediately jailed, intimidated, beaten, sometimes lynched. Nicolás GuiIlén has been in prison in Cuba, Jacques Roumain, in Haiti, Angelo Herndon in the United States. Today a letter comes from the great Indian writer, Raj Anand, saying that he cannot be with us here in Paris because the British police in England have taken his passport from him. I say, we darker peoples of the earth are tired of a world in which things like that can happen.
Langston Hughes (Good Morning, Revolution: Uncollected Social Protest Writings)
Operation Pedro Pan It was like a raging wildfire that the Radio Swan story spread throughout Cuba! Many affluent Cubans, convinced that their children would actually be sent to Moscow for political indoctrination, panicked and sent their children to Florida. In all, as many as 14,000 Cuban children were airlifted to Miami, under a program named “Operation Peter Pan.” During the next two years, British Airways, under charter, flew many of the children to the United States by way of Kingston, Jamaica. The unaccompanied children started arriving in Miami in October of 1960. They arrived in waves, with the children of the more affluent families coming first. Their parents trusted their friends and family in the United States to take care of their children. Since the Castro régime was having economic difficulties very few people thought that it would last as long as it did. Most of them still believed that Castro was just a passing phenomenon until a counter-revolution would depose him.
Hank Bracker
Five years later, Albert Sabin published the results of an alternative polio vaccine he had used in an immunization campaign in Toluca, Mexico, a city of a hundred thousand people, where a polio outbreak was in progress. His was an oral vaccine, easier to administer than Salk’s injected one. It was also a live vaccine, containing weakened but intact poliovirus, and so it could produce not only immunity but also a mild contagious infection that would spread the immunity to others. In just four days, Sabin’s team managed to vaccinate more than 80 percent of the children under the age of eleven—26,000 children in all. It was a blitzkrieg assault. Within weeks, polio had disappeared from the city. This approach, Sabin argued, could be used to eliminate polio from entire countries, even the world. The only leader in the West who took him up on the idea was Fidel Castro. In 1962, Castro’s Committee for the Defense of the Revolution organized 82,366 local committees to carry out a succession of weeklong house-to-house national immunization campaigns using the Sabin vaccine. In 1963, only one case of polio occurred in Cuba.
Atul Gawande (Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance)
Doremus, reading the authors he had concealed in the horsehair sofa—the gallant Communist, Karl Billinger, the gallant anti-Communist, Tchernavin, and the gallant neutral, Lorant—began to see something like a biology of dictatorships, all dictatorships. The universal apprehension, the timorous denials of faith, the same methods of arrest—sudden pounding on the door late at night, the squad of police pushing in, the blows, the search, the obscene oaths at the frightened women, the third degree by young snipe of officials, the accompanying blows and then the formal beatings, when the prisoner is forced to count the strokes until he faints, the leprous beds and the sour stew, guards jokingly shooting round and round a prisoner who believes he is being executed, the waiting in solitude to know what will happen, till men go mad and hang themselves—Thus had things gone in Germany, exactly thus in Soviet Russia, in Italy and Hungary and Poland, Spain and Cuba and Japan and China. Not very different had it been under the blessings of liberty and fraternity in the French Revolution. All dictators followed the same routine of torture, as if they had all read the same manual of sadistic etiquette. And now, in the humorous, friendly, happy-go-lucky land of Mark Twain, Doremus saw the homicidal maniacs having just as good a time as they had had in central Europe.
Sinclair Lewis (It Can't Happen Here)
José Martí, born on January 28, 1853, is known as the George Washington of Cuba, or is perhaps better identified with Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America. Although he admired and visited the United States, José Martí realized that not only would he have to free his country from Spain, he would also have to prevent the United States from interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs. By his admirers, he was considered a great Latin American intellectual, and his newspaper Patria became the voice of “Cuban Independence.” After years of suppression, the Cuban struggle for independence began in 1868. At the age of 17, José Martí was jailed in Cuba and then exiled to Spain because of his revolutionary activities. It was during this time in his life that he published a pamphlet describing the atrocities he had experienced while being imprisoned in Cuba. He strongly believed in racial equality and denounced the horrors of people having to live under a dictatorship. In 1878, Martí was allowed to return to Cuba under a general amnesty, but was once again banished from Cuba after being accused of conspiracy against the Spanish authorities. From 1881 to 1895, he lived and worked in New York City. Moving to Florida, he organized forces for a three-pronged attack supporting the smoldering Cuban War of Independence. It was during one of the first battles that he was killed at the Battle of Dos Ríos in Cuba, and thus became a national hero and martyr when he was only 42 years old.
Hank Bracker
Cuba has nine official National Public Holidays January 1st - Liberation Day & New Year’s Liberation Day is also called “Triunfo de la Revolucion.” This day celebrates the removal of dictator Batista from power and the start of Fidel Castro’s power. January 2nd - Victory of the Armed Forces A holiday commemorating its revolution’s history. Good Friday Good Friday became a national holiday following the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The first Good Friday recognized as a holiday was in 2014, according to Granma, the Official Body Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. May 1st - International Labour Day Called “Dia de los Trabajadores,” Havana-Guide.com noted there are many celebrations this holiday, including “speeches on the ‘Plaza de la Revolucion’ celebrating the work force and the Communist party.” July 25th till 27th - Commemmoration of the Assault to Moncada/National Rebellion Day This three-day long holiday remembers the 1953 capture and exile of Fidel Castro, according to VisitarCuba. This happened near Santiago in the Moncada army barracks. This week is also celebrated with carnivals in Santiago as the saint day of St. James (Santiago). October 19th - Independence Day, “Dia de la Independencia” Independence Day celebrates the early independence of Cuba in 1868, when Carlos Manuel Cespedes freed his slaves and began the War of Independence against Spain, according to Travel Cuba. December 25, 2017 - Christmas, “Natividad” Christmas has only recently been re-established as a holiday due to Pope John Paul’s visit in 1998.
Hank Bracker
General Mario Vargas Salinas, now retired from Bolivia’s Eighth Army Division, was one of the young army officers present at Guevara’s burial. It was his duty to accompany an old dump truck carrying the bodies of the six dead rebels, including that of “Che” Guevara, to the airstrip in Vallegrande, Bolivia. Knowing that the facts surrounding the burials were leaking out, he decided that after 28 years the world should know what had happened to “Che” Guevara’s body. At the time, Captain Vargas, who had also led the ambush in which Tamara “Tania” Bunke, Guevara’s lover, was shot dead, said that Guevara was buried early on the morning of October 11th, 1967, at the end of the town’s landing strip. After the gruesome facts became known, the Bolivian government ordered the army to find Guevara's remains for a proper burial. General Gary Prado Salmón, retired, had been the commander of the unit that had captured Guevara. He confirmed General Vargas’ statement and added that the guerrilla fighters had been burned, before dumping their bodies into a mass grave, dug by a bulldozer, at the end of the Vallegrande airstrip. He explained that the body of “Che” Guevara had been buried in a separate gravesite under the runway. The morning after the burials, “Che” Guevara’s brother arrived in Vallegrande, hoping to see his brother’s remains. Upon asking, he was told by the police that it was too late. Talking to some of the army officers, he was told lies or perhaps just differing accounts of the burial, confusing matters even more. The few peasants that were involved and knew what had happened were mysteriously unavailable. Having reached a dead end, he left for Buenos Aires not knowing much more than when he arrived….
Hank Bracker
The more that injustice, exploitation, inequality, unemployment, poverty, hunger, and misery prevail in human society, the more Che's stature will grow. The more that the power of imperialism, hegemonism, domina­tion, and interventionism grow, to the detriment of the most sa­cred rights of the peoples-especially the weak, backward, and poor peoples who for centuries were colonies of the West and sources of slave labor-the more the values Che defended will be upheld. The more that abuses, selfishness, and alienation exist; the more that Indians, ethnic minorities, women, and immigrants suffer dis­ crimination; the more that children are bought and sold for sex or forced into the workforce in their hundreds of millions; the more that ignorance, unsanitary conditions, insecurity, and homelessness prevail-the more Che's deeply humanistic message will stand out. The more that corrupt, demagogic, and hypocritical politicians exist anywhere, the more Che's example of a pure, revolutionary, and consistent human being will come through. The more cowards, opportunists, and traitors there are on the face of the earth, the more Che's personal courage and revolution­ary integrity will be admired. The more that others lack the ability to fulfill their duty, the more Che's iron willpower will be admired. The more that some individuals lack the most basic self-respect, the more Che's sense of honor and dignity will be admired. The more that skeptics abound, the more Che's faith in man will be admired. The more pessimists there are, the more Che's optimism will be admired. The more vacillators there are, the more Che's audacity will be admired. The more that loafers squander the prod­uct of the labor of others, the more Che's austerity, his spirit of study and work, will be admired.
Fidel Castro
One of Castro’s first acts as Cuba’s Prime Minister was to go on a diplomatic tour that started on April 15, 1959. His first stop was the United States, where he met with Vice President Nixon, after having been snubbed by President Eisenhower, who thought it more important to go golfing than to encourage friendly relations with a neighboring country. It seemed that the U.S. Administration did not take the new Cuban Prime Minister seriously after he showed up dressed in revolutionary garb. Delegating his Vice President to meet the new Cuban leader was an obvious rebuff. However, what was worse was that an instant dislike developed between the two men, when Fidel Castro met Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon. This dislike was amplified when Nixon openly badgered Castro with anti-communistic rhetoric. Once again, Castro explained that he was not a Communist and that he was with the West in the Cold War. However, during this period following the McCarthy era, Nixon was not listening. During Castro’s tour to the United States, Canada and Latin America, everyone in Cuba listened intently to what he had to say. Fidel’s speeches, that were shown on Cuban television, were troubling to Raúl and he feared that his brother was deviating from Cuba’s path towards communism. Becoming concerned by Fidel’s candid remarks, Raúl conferred with his close friend “Che” Guevara, and finally called Fidel about how he was being perceived in Cuba. Following this conversation, Raúl flew to Texas where he met with his brother Fidel in Houston. Raúl informed him that the Cuban press saw his diplomacy as a concession to the United States. The two brothers argued openly at the airport and again later at the posh Houston Shamrock Hotel, where they stayed. With the pressure on Fidel to embrace Communism he reluctantly agreed…. In time he whole heartily accepted Communism as the philosophy for the Cuban Government.
Hank Bracker
Fidel Castro, who always enjoyed sports, promoted programs that helped Cuba become a front-runner in Latin America. The island nation fields outstanding baseball, soccer, basketball and volleyball teams. It also excels in amateur boxing. Believing that sports should be available for everyone, not just the privileged few, the phrase “Sports for all” is a motto frequently used. When Castro took power, he abolished all professional sports. Only amateur baseball has been played in Cuba since 1961. An unexpected consequence of this initiative was that many players discovered that they could get much better deals if they left Cuba. As an attempt to prevent this, Fidel forbade players from playing abroad and if they did leave the island, he would prevent their families from joining them. Originally, many Cuban baseball players played for teams in the American Negro league. This ended when Jackie Robinson was allowed to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers during the late 1940’s. Afterwards, all Cuban baseball players played for the regular leagues regardless of their race. The Negro National League ceased after the 1948 season, and the last All-Star game was held in 1962. The Indianapolis Clowns were the last remaining Negro/Latin league team and played until 1966. Cuban players with greater skill joined the Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. If they defected to the United States directly, they had to enter the MLB Draft. However, if they first defected to another country they could become free agents. Knowing this, many came to the United States via Mexico. In all, about 84 players have defected from Cuba since the Revolution. The largest contract ever given to a defector from Cuba was to Rusney Castillo. In 2014, the outfielder negotiated a seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox for $72.5 million. Starting in 1999, about 21 Cuban soccer players have defected to the United States. The Cuban government considers these defectors as disloyal and treats their families with disrespect, even banning them from taking part in national sports.
Hank Bracker
Though Fidel came to boast of his Marxism-Leninism, he himself never joined the Communist Party. As the revolution careened along, the Communists may even at times have served as a restraining force, espedally in foreign affairs. Yet, despite the jostling for position between Communists and Fidelistas, the year 1959 saw the dear commitment of Castro’s revolution to the establishment of a Marxist dictatorship in Cuba and the service of Soviet foreign policy in the world—a commitment so incompatible with the expressed purposes of the revolution as surely to justify the word betrayal.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House)
One crisis, in Cuba, mounted quickly after Fidel Castro staged a successful revolution against a corrupt pro-American dictatorship and triumphantly took power in January 1959. Castro at first seemed heroic to many Americans. When he came to the United States in April, he was warmly received and spent three hours talking with Vice-President Nixon. But relations soon cooled. Castro executed opponents and confiscated foreign investments, including $1 billion held by Americans.
James T. Patterson (Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (Oxford History of the United States Book 10))
As Sir Eric Williams wrote in From Columbus to Castro: The situation was more discouraging in Cuba, which was in every sense of the term an American colony. The Americans openly supported, in the interest of stability, the dictator Machado who raised no awkward questions of Cuban independence and who was concerned merely with the exile or assassination of hostile labour leaders and the reckless and enormous increase of the public debt, both public and private. America dominated the scene. One American writer has stated that no one could become President of Cuba without the endorsement of the United States. According to another, the American Ambassador in Havana was the most important man in Cuba. A third analyses United States policy as "putting a veto on revolution whatever the cause". The Platt Amendment dominated the relations between the United States and Cuba. On the occasion of a threatened rebellion by a Negro political party, the Independent Party of Colour, the United States sent troops to Cuba. In reply to Cuba's protests Secretary of State Knox stated: "The United States does not undertake first to consult the Cuban Government if a crisis arises requiring a temporary landing somewhere." In 1933 Ambassador Sumner Welles identified six desirable characteristics which a Cuban president should possess. These read in part: "First, his thorough acquaintance with the desires of this Government… Sixth, his amenability to suggestions or advice which might be made to him by the American Legation.
Randall Robinson (The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks)
As a result of their own experience in a country with historical social mobility, American policy makers are often blind to deeply embedded social stratifications that characterize other societies. The only successful political revolution in the western hemisphere that also resulted in a social revolution was that of Fidel Castro’s Cuba in 1959, a revolution that the United States spent the next fifty-plus years trying to contain or reverse.
Francis Fukuyama (Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy)
Meanwhile, angered by white violence in the South and inspired by the gigantic June 23 march in Detroit, grassroots people on the streets all over the country had begun talking about marching on Washington. “It scared the white power structure in Washington, D.C. to death,” as Malcolm put it in his “Message to the Grassroots” and in his Autobiography.6 So the White House called in the Big Six national Negro leaders and arranged for them to be given the money to control the march. The result was what Malcolm called the “Farce on Washington” on August 28, 1963. John Lewis, then chairman of SNCC and fresh from the battlefields of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama where hundreds of blacks and their white student allies were being beaten and murdered simply for trying to register blacks to vote, was forced to delete references to the revolution and power from his speech and, specifically, to take out the sentence, “We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory.” Marchers were instructed to carry only official signs and to sing only one song, “We Shall Overcome.” As a result, many rank-and-file SNCC militants refused to participate.7 Meanwhile, conscious of the tensions that were developing around preparations for the march on Washington and in order to provide a national rallying point for the independent black movement, Conrad Lynn and William Worthy, veterans in the struggle and old friends of ours, issued a call on the day of the march for an all-black Freedom Now Party. Lynn, a militant civil rights and civil liberties lawyer, had participated in the first Freedom Ride from Richmond, Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1947 and was one of Robert Williams’s attorneys.8 Worthy, a Baltimore Afro-American reporter and a 1936–37 Nieman Fellow, had distinguished himself by his courageous actions in defense of freedom of the press, including spending forty-one days in the Peoples Republic of China in 1957 in defiance of the U.S. travel ban (for which his passport was lifted) and traveling to Cuba without a passport following the Bay of Pigs invasion in order to help produce a documentary. The prospect of a black independent party terrified the Democratic Party. Following the call for the Freedom Now Party, Kennedy twice told the press that a political division between whites and blacks would be “fatal.
Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography)
From the Bridge” by Captain Hank Bracker Behind “The Exciting Story of Cuba” It was on a rainy evening in January of 2013, after Captain Hank and his wife Ursula returned by ship from a cruise in the Mediterranean, that Captain Hank was pondering on how to market his book, Seawater One. Some years prior he had published the book “Suppressed I Rise.” But lacking a good marketing plan the book floundered. Locally it was well received and the newspapers gave it great reviews, but Ursula was battling allergies and, unfortunately, the timing was off, as was the economy. Captain Hank has the ability to see sunshine when it’s raining and he’s not one easily deterred. Perhaps the timing was off for a novel or a textbook, like the Scramble Book he wrote years before computers made the scene. The history of West Africa was an option, however such a book would have limited public interest and besides, he had written a section regarding this topic for the second Seawater book. No, what he was embarking on would have to be steeped in history and be intertwined with true-life adventures that people could identify with. Out of the blue, his friend Jorge suggested that he write about Cuba. “You were there prior to the Revolution when Fidel Castro was in jail,” he ventured. Laughing, Captain Hank told a story of Mardi Gras in Havana. “Half of the Miami Police Department was there and the Coca-Cola cost more than the rum. Havana was one hell of a place!” Hank said. “I’ll tell you what I could do. I could write a pamphlet about the history of the island. It doesn’t have to be very long… 25 to 30 pages would do it.” His idea was to test the waters for public interest and then later add it to his book Seawater One. Writing is a passion surpassed only by his love for telling stories. It is true that Captain Hank had visited Cuba prior to the Revolution, but back then he was interested more in the beauty of the Latino girls than the history or politics of the country. “You don’t have to be Greek to appreciate Greek history,” Hank once said. “History is not owned solely by historians. It is a part of everyone’s heritage.” And so it was that he started to write about Cuba. When asked about why he wasn’t footnoting his work, he replied that the pamphlet, which grew into a book over 600 pages long, was a book for the people. “I’m not writing this to be a history book or an academic paper. I’m writing this book, so that by knowing Cuba’s past, people would understand it’s present.” He added that unless you lived it, you got it from somewhere else anyway, and footnoting just identifies where it came from. Aside from having been a ship’s captain and harbor pilot, Captain Hank was a high school math and science teacher and was once awarded the status of “Teacher of the Month” by the Connecticut State Board of Education. He has done extensive graduate work, was a union leader and the attendance officer at a vocational technical school. He was also an officer in the Naval Reserve and an officer in the U.S. Army for a total of over 40 years. He once said that “Life is to be lived,” and he certainly has. Active with Military Intelligence he returned to Europe, and when I asked what he did there, he jokingly said that if he had told me he would have to kill me. The Exciting Story of Cuba has the exhilaration of a novel. It is packed full of interesting details and, with the normalizing of the United States and Cuba, it belongs on everyone’s bookshelf, or at least in the bathroom if that’s where you do your reading. Captain Hank is not someone you can hold down and after having read a Proof Copy I know that it will be universally received as the book to go to, if you want to know anything about Cuba! Excerpts from a conversation with Chief Warrant Officer Peter Rommel, USA Retired, Military Intelligence Corps, Winter of 2014.
Hank Bracker (The Exciting Story of Cuba: Understanding Cuba's Present by Knowing Its Past)
As Fidel Castro, the leader of Communist Cuba, would explain with a frankness that his Russian mentors preferred to avoid: “The revolution needs the enemy. . . . The revolution needs for its development its antithesis, which is the counterrevolution.”9 And if enemies were lacking, they had to be fabricated.
Richard Pipes (Communism: A History (Modern Library Chronicles Series Book 7))
Both in Cuba and in the United states, the word 'freedom' comes up frequently in describing Cuba's history and current realities. It's a word that incorporates many different meanings. US policy makers tend to use it to refer to freedom for private enterprise, while for Cuban policy makers it generally means freedom from U.S interference.
Aviva Chomsky (Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean (Comparative and International Working-Class History))
Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth provided intellectual cover for a generation of enthusiasts for Third World socialism—including Sartre himself. Revolutionary violence in far-off countries would serve as a source of both political liberation and cultural regeneration. Cuba, Vietnam, China (particularly during Mao’s Cultural Revolution), and Khmer Rouge Cambodia promised to turn politics into the same cleansing, unifying force that National Socialism’s revolution on the Right had promised: a spontaneous, vital, and invincible movement toward liberation from a dying West.
Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline in Western History)
[W]ho would have thought that by the mid-twentieth century the darker nations would gather in Cuba, once the playground of the plutocracy, to celebrate their will to struggle and their will to win? What an audacious thought: that those who had been fated to labor without want, now wanted to labor in their own image!
Vijay Prashad (The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World)
there was a choice of roast breast of flamingo, tortoise stew, roast tortoise with lemon and garlic, and crayfish, oysters, and grilled swordfish from the nearby fishing village of Cojímar. There was also grilled venison sent by a government minister from Camagüey who owned livestock and, the most obscure delicacy of all, grilled manatee. The guests drank añejo rum and smoked Montecristo cigars.
T.J. English (Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the Revolution)
Meanwhile, countries that had actually undergone the dreamed-of socialist revolution— North Korea, Cuba, and East Germany, for example—suffered from sputtering economies and totalitarian regimes. To people who had embraced so-called Marxist dogma during their entire careers, the juxtaposition of these two realities was both puzzling and disturbing.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir)
Che had shown the way in Cuba, back in ‘59 and ‘60, sending thousands of possible enemies of the revolution to the firing squads.  It was Che’s firm conviction that it was necessary to execute class enemies en masse, in order to terrorize the rest into rapid submission.  This was a necessary step to guarantee the permanence of the revolution, when half measures would only put the revolution at risk.  It was Che’s dictum that it was better to execute one hundred innocent men, than to allow one clever traitor to live to challenge the revolution.  In the furtherance of the glorious cause of promoting social justice, the ends always justified the means.
Matthew Bracken (Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista (The Enemies Trilogy, #2))
Liked Following Message More Contact Us .. Status Photo / VideoOffer, Event + . Write something... . 1 Draft Created Saturday, November 5 at 4:05pm. See draft. . The Year of “Alphabetization In the Cuban post revolution era it was at “Che” Guevara who promoted educational and health reforms. 1961 became the “Year of Cuban Literacy” or the “Campaña Nacional de Alfabetización en Cuba,” meaning the “Year of Alphabetization in Cuba.” The illiteracy rate had increased throughout Cuba after the revolution. Fidel Castro in a speech told prospective literacy teachers, “You will teach, and you will learn,” meaning that this educational program would become a two-way street. Both public and private schools were closed two months earlier, for the summer than usual, so that both teachers and students could voluntarily participate in this special ambitious endeavor. A newly uniformed army of young teachers went out into the countryside, to help educate those in need of literacy education. It was the first time that a sexually commingled group would spend the summer together, raising the anxiety of many that had only known a more Victorian lifestyle. For the first time boys and girls, just coming of age, would be sharing living conditions together. This tended to make young people more self-sufficient and thought to give them a better understanding of the Revolution. It is estimated that a million Cubans took part in this educational program. Aside from the primary purpose of decreasing illiteracy, it gave the young people from urban areas an opportunity to see firsthand what conditions were like in the rural parts of Cuba. Since it was the government that provided books and supplies, as well as blankets, hammocks and uniforms, it is no surprise that the educational curriculum included the history of the Cuban Revolution, however it made Cuba the most literate countries in the world with a UNESCO literacy rate in 2015, of 99.7%. By Captain Hank Bracker, author of the award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba,” Follow Captain Hank Bracker on Facebook, Goodreads, his Website account and Twitter.
Hank Bracker
Historical Santa Clara Santa Clara is the fifth largest city in Cuba with a population of over 210,000 people. It is the capital of the Province of Villa Clara and was founded by 138 people from only two families on July 15, 1689. As with many Cuban cities during the 17th century, it was constantly attacked and plundered by pirates. Santa Clara has had a number of names since it was founded. Its layout is clearly that of Colonial Spanish origin, having a squared design with a plaza and a church in the center. It is conveniently located along the highway connecting Santiago de Cuba with Havana. Santa Clara is known as the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution. Two columns of rebels attacked the Batista forces on December 31, 1958. One was led by “Che” Guevara and the other by Camilo Cienfuegos. Guevara’s troops destroyed the Trans-Cuban railroad tracks and overturned a train sent by Batista carrying reinforcements. The victory over the city’s demoralized defenders was decisive, forcing Batista to leave Cuba and fly to the Dominican Republic. Fleeing into exile, Batista opened the way for the rebel troops to take the capital city of Havana. From the award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba” by Captain Hank Bracker
Hank Bracker
Lucitta knew Russian politics, and discussed how Trotsky was compelled by Stalin’s régime to deny many of his beliefs. It seemed that Mella, believing in one’s own personal independence, developed an interest in Trotsky’s philosophy. Basically, Trotsky believed that an international revolution should be initiated by the people, and that Communism wouldn’t succeed if it were only in one country surrounded by capitalistic states. Stalin countered that Marxism should be concentrated and strengthened under strong leadership in one country, which was the case in Russia. It didn’t help Trotsky’s cause within the Communist Party, when he contended that Stalinism in reality was “Tyranny disguised as Communism.
Hank Bracker
General Gary Prado Salmón, retired, had been the commander of the unit that had captured Guevara. He confirmed General Vargas’ statement and added that the guerrilla fighters had been burned, before dumping their bodies into a mass grave, dug by a bulldozer, at the end of the Vallegrande airstrip. He explained that the body of “Che” Guevara had been buried in a separate gravesite under the runway. The morning after the burials, “Che” Guevara’s younger brother, Juan Martin Guevara, arrived in Vallegrande, hoping to see his brother’s remains. Upon asking, he was told by the police that it was too late. Talking to some of the army officers, he was told lies or perhaps just differing accounts of the burial, confusing matters even more. The few peasants that were involved and knew what had happened were mysteriously unavailable. Having reached a dead end, he left for Buenos Aires not knowing much more than when he arrived.
Hank Bracker
The name Camp Columbia came from a historic and rather poetic name for the United States. It was founded in 1898, for the purpose of housing U.S. Army troops during the provisional American protectorate over Cuba. It was also considered “the First American occupation of Cuba,” established in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. After the withdrawal of American troops, the military establishment was turned over to the Cuban government and became the largest Cuban army base on the island. On September 4, 1933, at Camp Columbia, an army base in Havana, Batista with his inner circle of conspirators took over power as he forced a military coup. Labor leaders who had opposed Machado’s re-election, along with “The Student Directory” comprised of teachers as well as students, joined the sergeants in assuming control of the government. In this way, Batista turned the revolt within the military into the full-blown “Revolution of 1933.
Hank Bracker
On a number of occasions, Tamara joined “Che” on his sorties into the Bolivian highlands, without incident. However, on March 24, 1967, a guerrilla fighter who had been captured by the Bolivian army betrayed her by giving away Tamara’s location. Although she escaped, the Bolivian soldiers found an address book in her Jeep and came after her in hot pursuit. With no other place to hide, she made her way back to “Che” Guevara’s forces. It was considered an open secret that Tamara had been intimate with “Che” but now the troops could not help but notice what was going on. The way they looked into each other’s eyes, and whispered sweet nothings, left no doubt in anyone’s mind, but that she was his lover…. The Bolivian highlands are notorious for the infestation of the Chigoe flea parasite, which infected Tamara. Having a leg injury and running a high fever, she and 16 other ailing fighters were ordered out of the region by Guevara. On August 31, 1967, up to her waist in the Rio Grande of Bolivia, and holding her M 1 rifle above her head, she and eight men were shot and killed in a hail of gunfire by Bolivian soldiers. Leaving their bodies in the water, it was several days before they were recovered downstream. Piranhas had attacked the bodies and their decomposing carcasses were polluting the water. Since the water was being used for drinking purposes by the people in a nearby village, the soldiers were ordered to clear the bodies out of the river. As they were preparing to bury Tamara’s remains in an unmarked grave, a local woman protested what was happening, and demanded that a woman should receive a Christian burial. When he received the news of what had happened, Guevara was stunned and refused to accept it, thinking it was just a propaganda stunt to demoralize him. In Havana Fidel Castro declared her a “Heroine of the Revolution.” There is always the possibility that Tamara was a double agent, whose mission it was to play up to “Che” when they met in Leipzig and then report back to the DDR (Democratic German Republic), who would in turn inform the USSR of “Che’s” activities. The spy game is a little like peeling an onion. Peel off one layer and what you find is yet another layer.
Hank Bracker
In the Cuban House of Representatives in 1955, Díaz-Balart spoke out against the amnesty granted to Castro by Batista. He went on to become the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and Minister of the Interior during the Batista administration. Although he was elected to the Cuban Senate in 1958, he was unable to take the seat due to Castro’s revolution. Fleeing Cuba, he moved to Spain becoming employed as an insurance company executive, before moving to Miami. In 1959, Díaz-Balart founded the first anti-Castro organization “La Rosa Blanca,” “The White Rose.” He was the father of former Republican U.S. Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart, of the 21st Congressional District in Florida. Lincoln Díaz-Balart and his immediate family were all Democrats, before switching their affiliation to the Republican Party. He was also father of the present Republican U.S. Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart of the new 25th Congressional District in Florida. He had two other sons, José Díaz-Balart, a TV news journalist with Telemundo and MSNBC, and Rafael Díaz-Balart, founder and CEO of Vestec International Corporation, a private banking and investment firm.
Hank Bracker
Gustavo Arcos, a loyal revolutionary who was with Castro in the second car when they attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, was shot in his back. The shot severely wounded him and disabled his right leg, thereby causing him a lifetime of pain. A few years later, Arcos went to Mexico with the intention of gathering support as well as money and munitions for the movement. After the revolution, for his loyalty, Gustavo Arcos was appointed the Cuban Ambassador to Belgium. However, as ambassador he became disillusioned with the Soviet form of communism and began to see Castro more as a dictator than a revolutionary leader. When he returned from his duties in Belgium, instead of being able to freely leave Cuba, Arcos was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of being a counter-revolutionary. In 1981, after his release from his years of confinement, he attempted to escape from Cuba, for which he was sent back to prison. After his second release, Arcos decided that he could better serve the people of Cuba by staying and accepting the position of the Executive Secretary of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights. His committee rapidly grew from occupying a small office in Havana, to being a nationwide organization recognized by the United Nations. Gustavo Arcos died of natural causes on August 8, 2006, at 79 years of age.
Hank Bracker
The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity or Libertad Act of 1996, better known as the Helms-Burton Act, was passed by the 104th United States Congress on March 6, 1996 and enacted into law by President Bill Clinton on March 12, 1996. Its intention was to bolster and continue the United States embargo against Cuba. It also opposes Cuban membership in international institutions, and prohibits commercial television broadcasts from the United States to Cuba. Further, the law provides for protection of the property rights of certain United States nationals and the property formerly owned by U.S. citizens but confiscated by Cuba after the Cuban revolution, The Act is named for the original sponsors, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, and Representative Dan Burton of Indiana.
Hank Bracker
In May of 1952, about a dozen individuals lead by Fidel Castro formed a group of anti-Batista rebels called “The Movement.” Fidel Castro had become a well-known activist and wrote articles intended to fire up the public in an underground newspaper El Acusador (The Accuser). In one year, his group grew to about 1,200 people. They began accumulating weapons with the idea that they would openly attack a Batista stronghold as a uniformed militant force. Being careful, Castro kept his intentions secret and only a few people knew that the target would be the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The attack on the second largest military barracks in Cuba, named after General Guillermón Moncada, a hero of the War of Independence, was worked out in the tiny two-room apartment of Abel Santamaría. Abel and his sister Haydée lived on the corner of 25th and O Streets in El Vedado, Havana. Only Abel, Haydée and seven other people were entrusted with the details of the attack. Tight security was maintained throughout and since the volunteers of the revolution were divided into cells, few of them knew each other…. One hundred and thirty two men and two women went up against 1,000 trained soldiers and although the battle ended badly for the Castro brothers, the attack on the barracks caused a public fury throughout Cuba. At his sentencing for leading the failed mission, Fidel delivered his famous “History will Absolve Me” speech. Read more in “The Exciting Story of Cuba.
Hank Bracker
Esteban Ventura Novo rose to the rank of a police Lieutenant Colonel during the Batista regime in Cuba. Feared by many, he became known as the white-suited assassin and was infamous in Havana’s Fifth Precinct. He later moved to the Ninth Precinct where he continued his reign of terror. The University of Havana was closed due to the ongoing revolution and the students feared for their lives. Esteban Ventura Novo was known for the cruel torturing of people and how he dispatched his adversaries. On April 20, 1957 Ventura organized the largest massacre of students in Havana. At the time he sent a squad of undercover police to find Fructuoso Rodríguez, the president of the Federation of University Students and his followers and without hesitation Ventura ordered that they be killed in cold blood. During the second half of 1958, the swinging city of Havana became a dangerous place in which to live. The ruthless but dapper Ventura who started as a police snitch gained his promotions by means of his vicious conduct and the diabolical way he eliminated the so-called “enemies of the state.” Ventura, was condemned to death by Fidel Castro’s revolutionary army but managed to escape to Miami where he and other members of the Batista regime found refuge. Ventura settled in Miami, where he founded a security agency, which was located on First South West Street and Bacon Boulevard. On April 1, 1959, Ventura was granted permission to stay in the United States. He had escaped justice despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Esteban Ventura Novo, the “Man in the White Suit” continued to live a comfortable life in South Florida, until his death at the age of 87.
Hank Bracker (Suppressed I Rise)
Captain Joseph Frye One of the nicest parks in present day downtown Tampa, Florida, is the Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park. The 5-acre park, which lies between the Tampa Bay Times Forum (Amalie Arena) and the mouth of the Hillsborough River at the Garrison Channel, is used for many weddings and special events such as the dragon boat races and the duck race. Few people give thought to the historic significance of the location, or to Captain Joseph Frye, considered Tampa’s first native son, who was born there on June 14, 1826. Going to sea was a tradition in the Frye family, starting with his paternal great-grandfather Samuel Frye from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, who was the master of the sloop Humbird. As a young man, Joseph attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated with the second class in 1847. Starting as an Ensign, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy until the Civil War, at which time he resigned and took a commission as a Lieutenant in the Confederate Navy. The Ten Years’ War, also known as “the Great War,” which started in 1868 became the first of three wars of Cuban Independence. In October 1873, following the defeat of the Confederacy and five years into the Cuban revolution, Frye became Captain of a side-wheeler, the S/S Virginius. His mission was to take guns and ammunition, as well as approximately 300 Cuban rebels to Cuba, with the intent of fighting the Spanish army for Cuban Independence. Unfortunately, the mission failed when the ship was intercepted by the Spanish warship Tornado. Captain Frye and his crew were taken to Santiago de Cuba and given a hasty trial and before a British warship Commander, hearing of the incident, could intervene, they were sentenced to death. After thanking the members of his crew for their service, Captain Frye and fifty-three members of his crew were put to death by firing squad, and were then decapitated and trampled upon by the Spanish soldiers. However, the British Commander Sir Lambton Lorraine of HMS Niobe did manage to save the lives of a few of the remaining crewmembers and rebels.
Hank Bracker
From the Bridge” Celebrating “La Navidad Cubana” Before the fall of Batista, Cuba was considered to be a staunch Catholic Nation. As in other Christian countries, Christmas was considered a religious holiday. In 1962, a few years after the revolution, Cuba became an atheist country by government decree. Then In 1969, Fidel Castro thinking that Christmas was interfering with the production of sugar cane, totally removed the holiday from the official calendar. Of course Christmas was still celebrated by Cubans in exile, many of whom live in South Florida and Union City, NJ. However it was still was celebrated clandestinely in a subdued way on the island. It was said, if it is to believed, that part of the reason for this was due to the fact that Christmas trees do not grow in Cuba. Now that Christianity and Christmas have both been reestablished by the government, primarily due to the Pope’s visits to Cuba, Christmas as a holiday has been reinstated. Many Christmas traditions have been lost over the past five decades and are still not observed in Cuba, although the Cuban Christmas feast is highlighted by a festive “Pig Roast,” called the “Cena de Navidad” or Christmas dinner. Where possible, the dinner includes Roast Pork done on a spit, beans, plantains, rice and “mojo” which is a type of marinade with onions, garlic, and sour orange. Being a special event, some Cubans delight in serving the roasted pork, in fancier ways than others. Desserts like sweet potatos, “turrones” or nougats, “buñuelos” or fritters, as well as readily available tropical fruits and nuts hazelnuts, guava and coconuts, are very common at most Christmas dinners. Beverages such as the “Mojito” a drink made of rum, sugar cane juice, lime, carbonated water and mint, is the main alcoholic drink for the evening, although traditionally the Christmas dinner should be concluded by drinking wine. This grand Christmas dinner is considered a special annual occasion, for families and friends to join together. Following this glorious meal, many Cubans will attend Misa de Gallo or mass of the rooster, which is held in most Catholic churches at midnight. The real reason for Christmas in Cuba, as elsewhere, is to celebrate the birth of Christ. Churches and some Cuban families once again, display manger scenes. Traditionally, children receive presents from the Three Wise Men and not from Santa Claus or the parents. Epiphany or “Three King’s Day,” falls on January 6th. Christmas in Cuba has become more festive but is not yet the same as it used to be. Although Christmas day is again considered a legal holiday in Cuba, children still have to attend school on this holiday and stores, restaurants and markets stay open for regular business. Christmas trees and decorations are usually only displayed at upscale hotels and resorts.
Hank Bracker
On March 13, 1957, with guns blazing, they exited their vehicles and attacked the unwary guards at the Presidential Palace. Running, the attackers stormed into the dining room and then on to the offices on the lower level, only to find them empty. Since the elevator was up on the third floor of the building, the attackers were momentarily stymied. Although they had previously studied a floor plan of the palace, they became disoriented, perhaps from the intense fighting that had already claimed about ten of their number. An equal number or more of the president’s elite guards also lay dead on the presidential grounds. For a moment those attackers still alive had difficulty in locating the grand marble staircase to the second floor. Once they did, they were repelled by a hail of gunfire from the guardsmen, now fully aware of what was happening. When Carlos Menoyo was fatally hit on the stairs, Menelao Mora Morales took charge of the assault and managed to ascend to the top of the stairs, where he also was shot dead. About nine men made it to the second floor, but without leadership, they didn’t know where to go from there. Trapped on the second floor, they searched for a way out. The hapless, amateur warriors couldn’t retreat down the stairs where their leaders lay and where the shooting was still intense. Stuck, they didn’t know how to get up to the third floor or back down the staircase and out of the building. Batista was on the upper floor with his family, as the remaining attackers were now being methodically killed. To them the third floor could only be reached by elevator, which was effectively being kept in place at the top of the lift shaft, thus preventing the assault from reaching Batista and his family. Although some few managed to escape during the next few hours, thirty-five of the attackers were killed in and around the palace. A final count revealed that five of the palace guards were killed along with one tourist, who just happened to be there at the wrong time. Only three of the rebels managed to find a way out and escaped.
Hank Bracker
For the most part, four-car self-propelled Budd railcars presently connect Santiago de Cuba with Havana on the Central line. The flagship of the system is a 12-coach train originally used between Paris and Amsterdam. Although buses competed with the railroad, they all became nationalized after the revolution. Attempting to prevent the decay of the Cuban system, British Rail helped during the 1960’s by supplying new locomotives. However, this slowed and eventually came to a halt after the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Eastern Bloc and countries that continued to be friendly with Cuba, such as Canada, Spain and Mexico, took over. During the past decade China, Iran and Venezuela became Cuba’s primary benefactors and suppliers. Cuba has had long-range plans to update and modernize its railroad system. These plans are presently being realized and the upgrading and modernizing of the country’s 26,000 miles of track and replacing older locomotives, including some steam engines, with powerful and modern diesel-fueled locomotives are becoming a reality. P
Hank Bracker
As Fidel Castro’s M–26–7 forces increased their attacks, the Cuban army was forced to withdraw into the larger towns for safety. This caused ever-increasing pressure on Batista. The United States government stopped supplying the Batista régime with weapons and ammunition. In 1958, in spite of an all-out attack and heavy aerial bombings upon Castro’s guerrilla forces, known as “Operation Verano,” the rebels continued advancing. At that time Batista’s Army had 10,000 soldiers surrounding the Sierra Maestra Mountains and Castro had 300 men under his command, many of them former Batista soldiers who joined the rebels after being appalled by the abuses that they were ordered to carry out. By closing off the major roads and rail lines, Castro put Batista’s forces at a severe disadvantage. On January 1, 1959, with his pockets stuffed with money and an airplane full of art, Presidente Fulgencio Batista flew the coop. Flying to the Dominican Republic before continuing to Portugal some months later, he left Anselmo Alliegro Mila to serve as Acting President. The next day he was relieved and Carlos Manuel Piedra, who had served as the senior member of the Supreme Court, was appointed Provisional President for a day. It was in accordance with the 1940 Cuban constitution, but his appointment was opposed by the new leader, Fidel Castro…. Piedra was 92 years old when he died in 1988.
Hank Bracker
Frank Fiorini, better known as Frank Sturgis, had an interesting career that started when he quit high school during his senior year to join the United States Marine Corps as an enlisted man. During World War II he served in the Pacific Theater of Operations with Edson’s Raiders, of the First Marine Raiders Battalion under Colonel “Red Mike.” In 1945 at the end of World War II, he received an honorable discharge and the following year joined the Norfolk, Virginia Police Department. Getting involved in an altercation with his sergeant, he resigned and found employment as the manager of the local Havana-Madrid Tavern, known to have had a clientele consisting primarily of Cuban seamen. In 1947 while still working at the tavern, he joined the U.S. Navy’s Flight Program. A year later, he received an honorable discharge and joined the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer. Again, in 1949, he received an honorable discharge, this time from the U.S. Army. Then in 1957, he moved to Miami where he met former Cuban President Carlos Prío, following which he joined a Cuban group opposing the Cuban dictator Batista. After this, Frank Sturgis went to Cuba and set up a training camp in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, teaching guerrilla warfare to Castro’s forces. He was appointed a Captain in Castro’s M 26 7 Brigade, and as such, he made use of some CIA connections that he apparently had cultivated, to supply Castro with weapons and ammunition. After they entered Havana as victors of the revolution, Sturgis was appointed to a high security, intelligence position within the reorganized Cuban air force. Strangely, Frank Sturgis returned to the United States after the Cuban Revolution, and mysteriously turned up as one of the Watergate burglars who were caught installing listening devices in the National Democratic Campaign offices. In 1973 Frank A. Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt, Eugenio R. Martínez, G. Gordon Liddy, Virgilio R. “Villo” González, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord, Jr. were convicted of conspiracy. While in prison, Sturgis feared for his life if anything he had done, regarding his associations and contacts, became public knowledge. In 1975, Sturgis admitted to being a spy, stating that he was involved in assassinations and plots to overthrow undisclosed foreign governments. However, at the Rockefeller Commission hearings in 1975, their concluding report stated that he was never a part of the CIA…. Go figure! In 1979, Sturgis surfaced in Angola where he trained and helped the rebels fight the Cuban-supported communists. Following this, he went to Honduras to train the Contras in their fight against the communist-supported Sandinista government. He also met with Yasser Arafat in Tunis, following which he was debriefed by the CIA. Furthermore, it is documented that he met and talked to the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, or Carlos the Jackal, who is now serving a life sentence for murdering two French counter intelligence agents. On December 4, 1993, Sturgis suddenly died of lung cancer at the Veterans Hospital in Miami, Florida. He was buried in an unmarked grave south of Miami…. Or was he? In this murky underworld, anything is possible.
Hank Bracker
When the British attacked Havana in 1762, Admiral de Hevia failed to scuttle the ships under his command. Thus, his ships fell into the hands of the British. The Admiral was returned to Spain where he was court-martialed, stripped of his titles and sentenced to house arrest for 10 years. Fortunately, he was pardoned three years later, on September 17, 1765. Reinstated he returned to active duty as the commander of the Marine Corps in Cadiz. He died seven years later on December 2, 1772, at Isla de León, Spain. Havana being under the rule of the British governor Sir George Keppel, the 3rd Earl of Albemarle, the British opened trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a dramatic transformation in the culture of Cuba, as well as bringing an increase to the population. Thousands of additional slaves were brought to the island under British rule, ostensibly to work on the new sugar plantations. The British occupation, however, didn’t last long, since the Seven Years’ War ended less than a year after the British arrived, and with the signing of the Peace of Paris Treaty the English agreed to surrender Cuba in exchange for Florida. In Britain, many people believed they could have done better, had they included Mexico and some of the colonies in South America, as part of the deal. The Florida Keys, not being directly connected to the Florida mainland, also remained in dispute, but it was not contested as long as free trade was permitted. After the deal was made with the British, Spain retained control of Cuba until after the secessionist movements were ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed on December 10, 1898. The United States Senate ratified the treaty on February 6, 1899. In 1793, many more slaves were imported into Cuba when French slave owners fled from Haiti during the Slave Rebellion, also known as the Haitian Revolution. This brought 30,000 white refugees and their slaves into Cuba. With their knowledge of coffee and sugar processing, they founded many new plantations. This period of the English occupation and French influx, although chronologically short, was when the floodgates of slavery were opened wide. It was at this time that the largest numbers of black slaves ever, were imported into the country.
Hank Bracker
The same conclusion had already been presented to incoming President Kennedy by Arthur Schlesinger, transmitting the report of his Latin American Mission, which warned of the susceptibility of Latin Americans to “the Castro idea of taking matters into one’s own hands.” The dangers of the “Castro idea” are particularly grave, Schlesinger later elaborated, when “The distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes…[and] The poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living.” The Soviet threat was not entirely ignored. Kennedy feared that Russian
Keith Bolender (Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba)
Logically, then, whatever Fidel Castro did in opposition to American policy was wrong, regardless of his intentions and strategy towards his own people. All of the revolution’s accomplishments in free education, free medical services, the re-distribution of wealth and agrarian land reforms were disregarded, and continue to be discredited. All actions by Fidel were seen through the prism of being against American interests, and were by definition wrong. The only way to deal with Castro and his revolution was to remove him and the disease. In whatever way possible.
Keith Bolender (Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba)
The actions of both sides made it easier for that American wrath to be warranted as retribution of the aggrieved. The early months saw the United States refuse to buy Cuban sugar or refine oil purchased from the Soviets. The Cubans instituted land reform, confiscating American land (with offers of compensation that were refused), then turned to the nationalization of American industry. As more property was taken, more economic measures were instituted against Cuba. American aggression ran from the embargo, propaganda, isolation, and the Bay of Pigs military invasion. As the rhetoric increased, terrorist acts were formulated and carried out. In partial response to the terror and other hostilities, the revolution became increasingly radicalized. From the start, policy makers knew terrorism would put a strain politically and economically on the nascent Cuban government, forcing it to use precious resources to protect itself and its citizens. It was to be part of the overarching strategy of making things so bad that the Cubans might rise up and overthrow their government.17
Keith Bolender (Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba)
As Fidel Castro’s M–26–7 forces increased their attacks, the Cuban army was forced to withdraw into the larger towns for safety. This caused ever-increasing pressure on Batista. The United States government stopped supplying the Batista régime with weapons and ammunition. In 1958, in spite of an all-out attack and heavy aerial bombings upon Castro’s guerrilla forces, known as “Operation Verano,” the rebels continued advancing. At that time Batista’s Army had 10,000 soldiers surrounding the Sierra Maestra Mountains and Castro had 300 men under his command, many of them former Batista soldiers who joined the rebels after being appalled by the abuses that they were ordered to carry out. By closing off the major roads and rail lines, Castro put Batista’s forces at a severe disadvantage. On January 1, 1959, with his pockets stuffed with money and an airplane full of art, Presidente Fulgencio Batista flew the coop. Flying to the Dominican Republic before continuing to Portugal some months later, he left Anselmo Alliegro Mila to serve as Acting President. The next day he was relieved and Carlos Manuel Piedra, who had served as the senior member of the Supreme Court, was appointed Provisional President for a day. It was in accordance with the 1940 Cuban constitution, but his appointment was opposed by the new leader, Fidel Castro.
Hank Bracker
The Directorio Revolucionario (“DR”) existed during the mid-1950’s and it was a Cuban University students’ group in opposition to the dictator President Fulgencio Batista. It was one of the most active terrorist organizations in Havana. Although they were given orders not to attack the rank and file police officers, semantics became important, as their targets were no longer “assassinated,” but rather were “executed.” To them the term sounded more legally acceptable. However, regardless of how it is phrased, murder is murder! At 3:20 on the afternoon of March 13, 1957, fifty attackers from the “DR”, led by Carlos Gutiérrez Menoyo, attacked the Presidential Palace. Menoyo had fought in the Sahara Desert against the German forces under General Rommel during World War II. By demonstrating great courage, Carlos had been decorated and given the rank of second lieutenant in the French army and was uniquely suited for this task. Now, with workers representing labor, and rebellious students from the university, they drove up to the entrance to the Presidential Palace in delivery van #7, marked “Fast Delivery S.A.” They also had two additional cars weighted down with bombs, rifles, and automatic weapons… (Read more in the Exciting Story of Cuba)
Hank Bracker
Batista was a rebellious non-commissioned officer in the 1933 Cuban Army and became the indisputable leader of the revolutionary faction within the military. Fulgencio Batista took over power during the bloody “Sergeants’ Revolt” and forced a military coup with the help of students and labor leaders, thus taking control of the government. He promoted himself to the rank of Colonel and summarily discharged the entire cadre of commissioned officers. Many officers fearing for their lives, barricaded themselves into the National Hotel. The Hotel Nacional was the fanciest hotel in Cuba, but that didn’t stop Batista from shelling it, using the Cuban war ship, the SS Cuba. Those officers who were not killed outright were jailed and “pax Batistiana” began. Batista controlled the short-lived five man Presidency of Cuba, which was called “The Pentarchy of 1933.” This ruling body was followed by the Presidency of Ramón Grau San Martin, a professor of the University of Havana, who held the office for just over 100 days. Carlos Mendieta followed and stayed in power for 11 months, after which Batista set himself up as the strong man behind a continuing succession of puppet presidents. Although calling himself a “Progressive Socialist,” Batista was supported by the “Communist Party” which had been legalized in 1938. In time much of this changed!
Hank Bracker
The eldest son of Fidel Castro, Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, a nuclear scientist better known as "Fidelito," who closely resembled his father was found dead in Havana on Thursday morning, February 1, 2018, after having taken his own life. Castro Díaz-Balart was born in 1949, when Fidel was married to Mirta Diaz-Balart. Being with his father when he triumphantly entered Havana during the Cuban Revolution, he was very popular among the people but resisted becoming involved in politics. The 68-year-old son of Cuba’s revolutionary leader, had been suffering from depression for months according to State television in Cuba. It was reported that he had been receiving outpatient medical treatment following a hospital stay. A nuclear physicist trained by the former Soviet Union, he had run Cuba's nuclear power program until a dispute with his father. At the time of his death, Castro Díaz-Balart was a scientific adviser for the Cuban Council of State and was vice president of Cuba’s Academy of Sciences. During the time his father was the President of Cuba "Fidelito" helped in the development of a nuclear power program in the Communist country. He had three children, Mirta-María, Fidel Antonio and José Raúl with Natasha Smirnova his first wife whom he met in Russia. After divorcing Smirnova, he married María Victoria Barreiro from Cuba. He has three first cousins in the United States including U.S. Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart.
Hank Bracker
The major failing was that during the last years of the Batista régime, Cuba became extremely corrupt. Havana became America’s adult playground and tourists were bringing in the “Yankee Dollar.” Construction companies with the right connections were busy building new gambling casinos and hotels. Girly shows, prostitution and gaming became widespread and people in the service industry made a good income. Those people that were involved in politics or supported Batista’s rise in wealth were raking in money beyond their wildest imagination. While the good times rolled, in the Sierra Maestra Mountains things were fermenting and the revolutionaries were gaining strength. Young people throughout the island were becoming actively involved. Older people, tired of the corruption and decadence, silently supported Fidel Castro. They may not have known what was in store for them, but they did know that Batista and his followers had hijacked their country, and they were willing to back the fresh wind blowing down from the mountains. As the revolution heated up, the Policía Nacional and Batista’s spy network headed by the Military Intelligence Service, Servicio de Inteligencia Militar, resorted to torture and executions. The newspapers always cited that the bodies found alongside remote roads, railroad tracks or ditches, were shot by unknown persons. The bombs that were heard exploding at night reminded people that these were not normal times. Political enemies of the régime were rounded up and taken to police detention centers located around Havana. Special tribunals, Tribunales de Urgencia, were set up to deal with these prisoners. Since these jails were under the control of the local police, there was little or no accountability. Notorious police precincts such as the ones commanded by Captains Ventura and Carratalá prided themselves on the torturous pain they could inflict, using extremely imaginative methods. Most Cubans feared the police and it seemed that everyone knew of someone who had fallen into their clutches, many of whom were later found dead.
Hank Bracker
Divorce was legalized in Maryland and Holland adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1701. On that same date the German Hohenzollern royal family was developed from former emperors, kings, princes who were descended of the Germanic kingdoms scattered throughout central Europe. On April 9, 1865, in America, General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America, ended the Civil War by surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of the United States Forces. It wasn’t even a week later, when on April 14th, Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, while watching “Our American Cousin” at the Ford Theater. The following day, as Lincoln lay dying in Washington, D.C., Otto Von Bismarck, a conservative Prussian statesman was elevated to the rank of Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen in Europe. During the second half of the 19th century as Bismarck ran German and dominated European history, Cuba fought for its independence from Spain. On April 25, 1898, at the start of the Industrial Revolution, the United States declared war against Spain. The century ended with turmoil in Europe, a free Cuba and the United States as the new world power!
Hank Bracker
What thus emerged from the Russian Revolution was a new model of state capitalism which, in turn, would become attractive to the bourgeoisie of “backward” countries and colonies of the Western colonial powers (like Cuba, Vietnam, Mozambique, Angola, etc.). They could use the State to keep Western multinationals from bleeding the country dry, and try to “develop” independently through state mobilisation of the population. Devoid of real proletarian initiative, this was a flawed model, and even the Communist Party of the Chinese People’s Republic abandoned Stalinism after the death of Mao by setting up Special Economic Zones to attract international capital and build a new Chinese capitalist class (so-called “socialism with Chinese characteristics”). What they have in fact returned to is the type of state capitalism that Lenin advocated in 1918, opposed by the Left Communists of that time. Across the world many workers in the former Eastern European bloc still think it was better than what they have now. But neither “state capitalism” nor “state socialism” are socialism as understood by Marx. Both depend on the exploitation of workers whose surplus value is the basis for capitalist profit and who have no actual political say in the system.
Jock Dominie (Russia: Revolution and Counter-Revolution, 1905-1924. A View from the Communist Left)
I cannot think of a place I’d rather be than sitting among a group of women plotting revolution.
Chanel Cleeton (The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba)
They are underrepresented as directors of state companies and in administrative positions. • Except for the music and sport sectors and the armed forces, they rarely assume leadership positions of national and international projection. • The presence of blacks and mulattos in mass media is still feeble, especially in television and cinema. • According to statistics, black and racially mixed people occupy labor and social positions that do not correspond with the educational levels that they have attained.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
Of all the problems that the Revolution faced from the very beginning, the racial problem was the only one that did not receive specific, systematic, and consistent attention. • As a result of the above, the social policy of the Revolution never specifically addressed the question with reference to the different points of social departure from which blacks, whites, and mulattos arrived. • After intervention on the matter in March 1959 by Fidel Castro, Commander in chief of the Revolution, and a few initial attempts to promote the discussion, a zone of silence surrounded the racial question, which did not help at all to an understanding that it required an extensive and specific methodology. No doubt it was thought that including it within the general context of social justice for all would be sufficient. • The predominant thought that the racial problem would be resolved solely on the basis of a redistributive equity, framed by the great humanist work of the Revolution, generated an idealist error that has yet to be overcome. • The black and racially mixed population, feeling represented and protected by revolutionary work, plunged into forgetfulness of all the long years of suffering and discrimination. The Revolution had given them clear guarantees that such situations would not return. How are we to explain why such a position on the racial question was taken and accepted by the immense majority of the people, in particular blacks and mulattos?
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
As if that was not enough, the economic measures required to face the crisis, which tended to further affect the equality that had been attained, forced the state to negotiate with foreign capital and increase competition for the best-paying jobs in two economic sectors: emergent (tourism and corporations) and non-emergent. Consequently, racial prejudice and discrimination entered the economic sphere, moving slowly but continuously to other spheres of social life. Such dynamics still affect present-day Cuban society.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
In present-day Cuban society, racial prejudices and discrimination have arisen in the midst of a situation generated by the economic crisis, with the expected psychological impact of a problem that was considered solved but was far from being solved. It was idealistic to think that solely on the basis of distributing equality and the great humanitarian work of the Revolution that the racial problem would be settled. It was inevitable that we would have to pay a high price for the social imbalances generated by the crisis.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
Racism, firmly set within the structures of Cuban colonial society, should have received specific attention from the beginning, alerting the masses to form a resistance culture and to face the problem, not to turn it into a dead zone, into a “taboo,” as was the case during the first years of the sixties. Until recently and in very discreet ways, we have begun to speak out against the racial problem.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
83.5 percent of emigrants are white.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
The social policy of the Revolution did not differentiate between racial groups. All benefited, but those whose lives were least privileged still remained in a state of inequality. Having improved their situations noticeably, they still had not attained sufficient stability or were left at a halfway house to dream about a better life. When the crisis at the end of the eighties crisis occurred, all this inequality manifested with special crudity clearly evident to the black and racially mixed population. The economic crisis seriously affected the developing model of welfare in Cuban society, which was barely consolidated or initiated for those Cubans, generally black and mulatto, who came from the lowest stratum.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
The United States, unlike its European cousins, had always preferred the indirect mode of domination, one which soon became the norm: formally independent and sovereign states, but heavily dependent on their metropolitan masters... The function of these formally independent states was to serve the economic needs of the imperial powers, at the cost of their own political and economic sovereignty. This often resulted in a plantation culture ruled by the production of a single commodity-- sugarcane, in the case of Cuba-- or the extraction of mineral and oil resources, as in Africa and the Middle East.
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
In South America a governing creole elite, ruling in most cases with US political and military support, held the continent with relative ease. Rebellions, such as that led by Sandino in Nicaragua, were isolated and crushed. Physical and cultural repression of the indigenous population (with the exception of Mexico) was regarded as normal. Populist experiments (Argentina and Brazil) did not last too long. Few thought of Cuba as the likely venue for the first anti-capitalist revolution. (Introduction by Tariq Ali)
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
What is the history of Cuba but the history of Latin America? And what is the history of Latin America but the history of Asia, Africa and Oceania? And what is the history of all these peoples but the history of the most pitiless and cruel exploitation by imperialism throughout the world? At the end of the last and the beginning of the present century a handful of economically developed nations had finished partitioning the world among themselves, subjecting to its economic and political domination two-thirds of humanity, which was thus forced to work for the ruling classes of the economically advanced capitalist countries.
Fidel Castro (The Declarations of Havana (Revolutions))
Most black people were poor in the Republican Period and had no civil mechanisms to defend their interests as the most discriminated sector. And it was even worse for those of Haitian and Jamaican extraction, who were deemed second-class blacks and discriminated against even by other blacks.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
There is airtight evidence that without class consciousness racism can neither be understood nor opposed, and the absence of class differences is not enough to abolish them. We also need race consciousness.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
Historically, blacks and mulattos have always had to endure hurtful procrastination of their demands, ignorance of their aspirations, or mere silence. Instead of seeing the racial question as a matter to be confronted and resolved in a process that strengthens the nation, it has almost always been treated as a threat to national existence. Today, the dilemma has not been surmounted, although we have never enjoyed better conditions to face the problem and solve it.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
Racism, as an ideology that feeds racial prejudices and the exercise of discrimination, can only survive, and even resurge, in a society where to attain riches and the satisfaction of material and spiritual needs competition and individualism prevail as forms of social behavior. That is, a situation in which personal power and its continuous growth are indispensable conditions for occupying a prominent place in society.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
Class discrimination is less difficult to eradicate because racial discrimination resides and is exercised within the working class itself. Racism and racial discrimination transcend the limits of classist structure, becoming a more general phenomenon that does not disappear with the elimination of capitalism.
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
One of the specific forms in which whitening operates today is in the underrepresentation of blacks and mulattos in television, cinema, in new businesses or in high positions of state structure and government. This phenomenon of exclusion exists despite the extraordinary educational effort of the Revolution, which places them almost on a par with the white population.12
Esteban Morales Dominguez (Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality)
The revolution opened doors for us and allowed an enormous social mobility. Many walls that blocked communication were demolished, and taboos were cast out. (Interview in A Contemporary Cuba Reader, 2000)
Nancy Morejón
in honor of Aponte and his companions was placed there in the 1940s, though it was stolen in more recent times. Among Black communities in Havana, his memory was kept alive from generation to generation. Afro-Cuban historian José Luciano Franco recalled that in the 1960s, stories of Aponte’s accomplishments—including his participation in the American Revolution—were well known in popular neighborhoods.
Ada Ferrer (Cuba: An American History)
DESPITE THE INAUSPICIOUS BEGINNING OF the American Revolution’s overtures to the Spanish-speaking world, Spain—the New World’s oldest colonial power—opted to support the hemisphere’s first anticolonial movement.
Ada Ferrer (Cuba: An American History)
war required allies, preferably ones with deep pockets and powerful navies. To seek out such allies for the American Revolution, the recently established Continental Congress sent emissaries to Paris.
Ada Ferrer (Cuba: An American History)
But two facts are clear: it is impossible to understand the Cuban Revolution without understanding Miami, and it is impossible to understand Miami without understanding the Cuban Revolution.
Ada Ferrer (Cuba: An American History)
SANDINISTAS. The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional—FSLN), more commonly known as Sandinistas, ruled Nicaragua from 1979 until 1990, attempting to transform the country along Marxist-influenced lines. The group formed in the early 1960s, and spent the first two decades of its existence engaged in a guerrilla campaign against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza, receiving backing from Cuba which remained a close ally when the Sandinistas took office. With popular revulsion towards Somoza rising, in 1978 the Sandinistas encouraged the Nicaraguan people to rise up against his regime. After a brief but bloody battle, in July 1979 the dictator was forced into exile, and the Sandinistas emerged victorious. With the country in a state of morass, they quickly convened a multi-interest five-person Junta of National Reconstruction to implement sweeping changes. The junta included rigid Marxist and long-serving Sandinista Daniel Ortega, and under his influence Somoza’s vast array of property and land was confiscated and brought under public ownership. Additionally, mining, banking and a limited number of private enterprises were nationalized, sugar distribution was taken into state hands, and vast areas of rural land were expropriated and distributed among the peasantry as collective farms. There was also a highly successful literacy campaign, and the creation of neighborhood groups to place regional governance in the hands of workers. Inevitably, these socialist undertakings got tangled up in the Cold War period United States, and in 1981 President Ronald Reagan began funding oppositional “Contra” groups which for the entire decade waged an economic and military guerrilla campaign against the Sandinista government. Despite this and in contrast to other communist states, the government fulfilled its commitment to political plurality, prompting the growth of opposition groups and parties banned under the previous administration. In keeping with this, an internationally recognized general election was held in 1984, returning Ortega as president and giving the Sandinistas 61 of 90 parliamentary seats. Yet, in the election of 1990, the now peaceful Contra’s National Opposition Union emerged victorious, and Ortega’s Sandinistas were relegated to the position of the second party in Nicaraguan politics, a status they retain today. The Marxism of the Sandinistas offered an alternative to the Marx- ism–Leninism of the Soviet Bloc and elsewhere. This emanated from the fact that the group attempted to blend a Christian perspective on theories of liberation with a fervent devotion to both democracy and the Marxian concepts of dialectical materialism, worker rule and proletariat-led revolution. The result was an arguably fairly success- ful form of socialism cut short by regional factors.
Walker David (Historical Dictionary of Marxism (Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series))
Demonstrating for peace to promote war was nothing new. Totalitarianism always requires a tangible enemy. To the ancient Greeks, a holocaust was simply a burnt sacrifice. Khrushchev wanted to go down in history as the Soviet leader who exported communism to the American continent. In 1959 he was able to install the Castro brothers in Havana and soon my foreign intelligence service became involved in helping Cuba's new communist rulers to export revolution throughout South America. At that point it did not work. In the 1950s and 1960s most Latin Americans were poor, religious peasants who had accepted the status quo. A black version of liberation theology began growing in a few radical-leftist black churches in the US where Marxist thought is predicated on a system pf oppressor class ( white ) versus victim class ( black ) and it sees just one solution: the destruction of the enemy. In the 1950s UNESCO was perceived by many as a platform for communists to attack the West and the KGB used it to place agents around the world. Che Guevara's diaries, with an introduction by Fidel Castro, were produced by the Kremlin's dezinformatsiya machine. Changing minds is what Soviet communism was all about. Khrushchev's political necrophagy ( = blaming and condemning one's predecessor in office. It is a dangerous game. It hurts the country's national pride and it usually turns against its own user ) evolved from the Soviet tradition of sanctifying the supreme ruler. Although the communists publicly proclaimed the decisive role of the people in history, the Kremlin and its KGB believed that only the leader counted. Change the public image of the leader and you change history, I heard over and over from Khrushchev's lips. Khrushchev was certainly the most controversial Soviet to reign in the Kremlin. He unmasked Stalin's crimes, but he made political assassination a main instrument of his own foreign policy; he authored a policy of peaceful coexistence with the West but he pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war; he repaired Moscow's relationships with Yugoslavia's Tito, but he destroyed the unity of the communist world. His close association with Stalin's killings made him aware of what political crime could accomplish and gave him a taste for the simple criminal solution. His total ignorance about the civilized world, together with his irrational hatred of the "bourgeoisie" and his propensity to offend people, made him believe that disinformation and threats were the most efficient and dignified way for a Soviet leader to deal with "bourgeois" governments. As that very clever master of deception Yuri Andropov once told me, if a good piece of disinformation is repeated over and over, after a while it will take on a life of its own and will, all by itself, generate a horde or unwitting but passionate advocates. When I was working for Ceausescu, I always tried to find a way to help him reach a decision on his own, rather than telling him directly what I thought he should do about something. That way both of us were happy. From our KGB advisors, I had learned that the best way to ut over a deception was to let the target see something for himself, with his own eyes. By 1999, President Yeltsin's ill-conceived privatization had enabled a small clique of predatory insiders to plunder Russia's most valuable assets. The corruption generated by this widespread looting penetrated every corner of the country and it eventually created a Mafia-style economic system that threatened the stability of Russia itself. During the old Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. In Putin's time, the KGB now rechristened FSB, is the state. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. In 2004, Putin's Russia had one FSB officer for every 297 citizens.
Ion Mihai Pacepa (Disinformation)
Returning to New York City, Martí held a number of diplomatic positions for various Latin American countries and again wrote editorials for Spanish-language newspapers. Many considered Martí to be the greatest Latin American intellectual of the time. He published his newspaper Patria as the voice of Cuban Independence. While in the United States, he wrote several acclaimed volumes of poetry and along with other friends in exile, he spent time planning his return to Cuba. During the following year in 1892, he traveled throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the United States raising funds at various Cuban clubs. His first attempt to launch the revolution, with a few followers, was drastically underfunded and failed. However, the following year with more men and additional backing, he tried again. Although he admired and visited America in the interim, he feared that the United States would annex Cuba before his revolution could liberate the country from Spain. With small skirmishes, the Cuban War of Independence started on February 24, 1895. Marti’s plan for a second attempt at freeing Cuba included convincing Major General Máximo Gómez y Báez and Major General Antonio de la Caridad Maceo y Grajales, as well as several other revolutionary heroes of the Ten Years’ War, to join him. Together they launched a three-pronged invasion in April of 1895. With bands of exiles, they landed separately, using small boats. The main assault was on the south coast of Oriente Province, where their objective was to take and hold the higher ground. During this maneuver Martí was directed by the commanding officer General Máximo Gómez to remain with the rearguard, since he would be much more useful to the revolution alive than dead. However Martí, exercising his usual exuberance, took the lead and was instantly killed during one of the first skirmishes. Thus, he met his death on May 19, 1895, fighting regular Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos just north of Santiago de Cuba, at the relatively young age of 42.” José Martí remains revered as a hero by the people of Cuba regardless of politics!
Hank Bracker
we waste enormous sums of money propping up dictators – but two dictators on Earth are financially supported by the US taxpayer – the only two we do not support financially are Cuba and North Korea.
Robert David Steele Vivas (World War III Has Started -- the Public Against the Deep State -- Everywhere: Can Donald Trump Defeat the Deep State and Lead a Global Revolution? (Trump Revolution))