Carlos Alberto Montaner, Tireless Fighter for Cuba’s Freedom

The writer and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner during a conference in 2018. (Sergio Santillán Díaz / YouTube / Captura2)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 28 May 2023 — The first time I learned about Carlos Alberto Montaner was thanks to an article of his entitled Henry Kissinger in Havana, a work that I liked very much and that established my future interest in a compatriot who, when no one was listening and even less wanted to see, assumed the commitment to attack Castroism, without considering the damage that such a decision could bring about.

The clipping was sent to me in Cuba in the mid-1970s or late 1970s by former political prisoner Héctor Caraballo, who had managed to escape the island on a raft. Héctor, based in Puerto Rico, established a relationship with Montaner as a result of the interest they both shared in Cuba.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that those were decades in which rare voices cried out in the desert of anti-Castroism. Not a few, including governments, underestimated the Cuban dictator who dizzyingly set up a gigantic apparatus with the help of the former Soviet Union to subdue all of America.

Montaner is among the pioneers who confronted the nascent totalitarianism in Cuba and abroad, an honorable credit that not many can show. His management has been successful, to the extreme, that, in a few years, he became a benchmark for learning about the reality of the Island that the Castros and their henchmen had taken over.

On the other hand, Carlos Alberto is among the first to denounce the danger that Castroism represented for the entire continent. His works in this regard were many and I am sure they were among the most widely read by politicians and intellectuals in the hemisphere, including in the United States, which greatly contributed to the mission of combating totalitarian subversion. His farewell letter leaves a void that is difficult to fill.

It is true that I have commented on more than one occasion that one of the sayings of the writer José Antonio Albertini is “ink also kills,” but there are writers like Montaner and Albertini himself who, with the ink they use, have saved and protected those who require aid.

We must never forget those who, with their talent and dedication, have defended freedom, as well as others, with plenty of courage, who have fought the Fidelista subversion with arms in their hands in different parts of the world, such as Félix Rodríguez and Rigoberto Acosta, among others, as well as the Makasis, Cubans who fought in Africa, both on land, in the air and even in the legendary Lake Tanganyika, the Guevarist and Víctor Dreke armies.

Nor should the many patriots who languished in prisons in Cuba, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela be overlooked for confronting, in their own way and with their convictions, the Island’s totalitarianism.

Castroism has never stopped repressing, and nor have dignified Cubans asked for quarter, among them Carlos Alberto, who through the media, his political activism and international appearances did not stop attacking the dictatorship that overshadowed his homeland, turning him into one one of enemies most hated by Castroism.

There was no lack of patriots to wage war against totalitarianism in all its forms, with or without the consent of the United States. Nor have compatriots been absent who, like Montaner, José Ignacio Rasco, Juan Clark, Eduardo García Moure and Humberto Medrano, just to mention a few, put their talent to the task of spreading the truth about Cuba, achieving, modestly, that willful blindness would give way to some light.

Not all of us will agree with the work that Montaner has accomplished throughout his intellectual tenure, but we do recognize that his work has been exemplary. While the Castros sank Cuba as a nation and a Republic, his life’s work has profoundly contributed to demonstrating the catastrophe that was taking place in our country.

Carlos Alberto Montaner has been, in my opinion, one of the most productive promoters of democracy in Cuba and the rest of the continent. His indisputable talent for debating and his ability to communicate his ideas made him a giant whose work we should all be proud of. He is a great man and as such he deserves our respect and a prominent place in our present and in national memory.


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