The Massive Migrations of Castroism

One of the boats intercepted by U.S. authorities. (Twitter/@USBPChiefMIP)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 17 September 2022 — El Instituto de la Memoria Histórica Cuba contra el Totalitarismo y Plantados hasta la Libertad y la Democracia en Cuba [The Cuban Institute of Historic Memory Against Totalitarianism and plantados (political prisoners) for Freedom and Democracy in Cuba] recently organized a conference on the different migratory waves driven by Castroism, which was coordinated by businesswoman Carmen Gómez de Toro, with the participation of several people who told their dramatic experiences.

During the event, the solidarity of the Cuban exile was highlighted through the work carried out by the Miami Medical Team, el Hogar Cubano de Caracas [the Cuban Home of Caracas] and the la Casa de los Balseros de Cayo Hueso [the House of the Rafters Key West]. They emphasized that the regime has resorted to all possible ways to expatriate its citizens.

The dictatorship has used emigration as a political and economic instrument since it took power in January 1959, causing, due to the insecurity that was established in the country, the first massive migratory wave in the history of Cuba and, later, by the systematic repression associated with an abhorrent material and moral poverty.

That first wave of exiles ended in 1962. It was mainly composed of a significant number of government officials of the overthrown Fulgencio Batista regime and the majority of the ruling class, businessmen and professional sectors, who never trusted the revolutionary proposals. In addition, there was the peculiar “Operation Peter Pan,” a contingent of 14,000 young people and children taken out of the Island in a large humanitarian operation with the assistance of different charitable organizations in the U.S. and pro-democracy activists, some of the latter of whom ended up in prison. continue reading

The second exodus, in 1965, was made from Camarioca, near Varadero. Closing that boarding point, Washington and the dictator negotiated the departure of Cubans through an airlift. Between 1965 and 1973, the so-called Freedom Flights transported about 300,000 people, with two daily flights for five days a week, all paid for by the U.S. at a cost of 12 million dollars.  It was “the largest air operation to transport refugees in the history of this great nation.”

Before being allowed to leave Cuba, many of the participants in this group had to work in the Johnson and Jacqueline Brigades*, a punishment imposed on those who wanted to leave Castro’s paradise. These people, regardless of their qualifications, had to work in the fields and cemeteries until they received their exit permits.

A particularly cruel migratory current was the Mariel Boatlift. This scandal placed the Castro regime in the place it deserved, because  people kept voting with their feet. The emigrants were humble people, some educated under totalitarian power.

Some scholars attribute the motivation for a large part of the population to leave the country to the visits of Cubans returning the Island in 1979, banned by the regime for almost two decades. The fact is that the income forced from foreign diplomatic headquarters in Havana increased, the most scandalous of all being that of the Embassy of Peru, an event that led to the Mariel exodus.

The events of Mariel moved the country and further split society. The most orthodox henchmen of the dictatorship, following orders, organized massive rallies of repudiation, humiliating numerous people and injuring many, who, when they visited hospitals to be helped, saw more than one doctor deny them assistance. The repudiation rallies, known since 1959, became more cruel and popular than in the Castro past.

At the end of the 1980s, the inexhaustible exodus created a new tide known as the Rafter Crisis that reached its climax in 1994. Thousands of people left the country on rustic and fragile rafts that, curiously, the authorities watched being built without preventing it, when in the recent past they had sunk boats with refugees, throwing sandbags at them from helicopters. The number of missing on these journeys is incalculable, and the late Arturo Cobo made a wall of mourning to remember them in the Home of Key West.

In the 21st century, the cravings for freedom paired with material needs continue to motivate Cubans to leave their island, with the U.S., for the majority, the final goal. In 2022 alone, more than 140,000 Cubans have entered this country, overcoming infinite hardships.

*Translator’s note: See more here. Partial auto translation: “They were forced to work in jobs outside of their usual duties, mostly in agricultural work for shifts that averaged 14 or 16 hours a day. These individuals were compulsorily housed in barracks that were in terrible sanitary conditions. Surveillance and control in exchange for recognition of the right to leave the country, they served a sentence that fluctuated between three and five years.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba: In Defense of Radio Martí

Radio Martí has reduced its transmission hours due to financial difficulties. (Archivo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 10 September 2022 — The Cuba Broadcasting Office (OCB), which groups together Radio and Television Martí and its website, Martí Noticias, is facing serious problems to survive, since the administration of President Donald Trump drastically reduced its budget. President Joe Biden has not considered increasing it and, according to some, would welcome its closure, as the Cuban dictatorship has always demanded.

Due to the lack of resources, the transmission has been reduced to 12 hours a day and it is unknown to what levels it will decrease after planned Reduction in Force (RIF) has been implemented, which would drastically affect the already small workforce, of just over 60 people, possibly affecting 23.

At a time when the situation in Cuba is especially convulsive and the population, particularly activists, need to communicate with each other, the decrease in the operations of these media is harmful, because their listeners have a high confidence in what they hear from them, which protects them from falling into provocations, a common practice of the dictatorship.

Beyond any other consideration, the work carried out by the OCB has been highly beneficial for the people of Cuba and in particular for the opposition to the totalitarian regime. I confess to being proud of having had the opportunity to work for 23 years at Radio Martí. continue reading

I joined leading the station with Herminio San Román and Roberto Rodríguez Tejera. Two notable journalists were directing news, Gilberto Rosal and William Valdez. The four were committed to truthfully informing the Cuban people, to assisting all the opponents on the island, and to ensuring that the news and analysis were based on reality. Everyone was deeply hurt by the situation in Cuba and we were striving to get truthful information to the island.

The stations have always worked according to the guidelines of the federal government, which are very rigid as far as information is concerned, measures that we may or may not like as Cubans, but that are established for all the media controlled by the Government.

Unfortunately, there has been no shortage of people who for different reasons have severely criticized the station. It is true that there have been mistakes and mismanagement, that it has been possible to do things better, but that does not detract from the OCB’s many achievements in favor of informing the Cuban people and serving as a liaison to those who fight for freedom in the interior of the island. We must not forget that the iron Castro censorship makes it practically impossible for what happens at one point on the island to be known a few kilometers away.

The vast majority of workers are talented, information professionals who take their work very seriously, and are governed by very strict reporting standards that must be faithfully adhered to. I assure you, without any reservation, that objectivity in the information is fundamental, and editorializing in a news story, regardless of the orientation, is rejected. I learned about cases of colleagues separated from their duties, in my opinion, after no serious transgressions, because a supervisor in Washington interpreted a report or a program with too much zeal.

Periodically, from the central office in Washington, which coordinates all the communication offices of the federal government, officials travel to give seminars to refresh old guidelines or point out new provisions. It should not be forgotten that the OCB is an agency of the United States Government, which acts on the basis of the provisions of the officials designated to direct it, and these do not always support the existence of the station, or simply do not sympathize with its programming.

The OCB, in my opinion, is in danger of dying from consumption. If the readjustment takes place, they will have to reduce more hours, so I wonder: will the organizations in exile continue to remain silent in the face of the slow death of Radio Martí? More importantly, will the Cuban-American congressmen who defended these entities for decades simply attend their funeral without striving to resurrect it, as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen would without even being a representative of the House? I repeat, there have been bad officials, but repeating to the late colleague Cristina Sansón: “Where is the mission and commitment to Cuba?”

The OCB is an important instrument to help totalitarianism disappear on the island, in addition, it is very useful to continue defending freedom and democracy throughout the hemisphere. Let’s do something.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba, Breaking the Truce

Massive night demonstration in the early hours this Friday in Nuevitas, Camagüey. (Captura/Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 28 August 2022 — El 23 se rompe el corojo [on the 23rd the truce is broken (and we start riding again)], is a Mambisa expression that meant the end of the truce between the insurgents and the Spanish, who refused to leave the “always faithful island of Cuba,” a phrase that, over time, became synonymous with the fact that there is no possible conciliation when the victims of the abuses assume that they have no other alternative but to defeat their perpetrators.

General Antonio Maceo, Bronze Titan, the most distinguished Cuban general, 26 wounds in combat, refused to sign a peace agreement after ten years of struggle, 1868-1878, with the Spanish general Arsenio Martínez Campos, both agreeing to resume hostilities eight days later, motivating among the guerrillas the enthusiastic exclamation: “on the 23rd the truce is broken!” alluding to the end of the truce that many considered ominous.

Castroism breathed into broad sectors of the citizenry the certainty that the regime was immovable, that any action against it would fail and its actors would suffer the consequences. Still more, Fidel Castro had the audacity to proclaim that socialism in Cuba was irreversible, as Adolf Hitler proclaimed his thousand-year Reich.

However, we write with pride that in these six long decades, the resistance has not ceased, as shown by the numerous political prisoners who rot in prisons without international organizations being able to visit them as demanded by, among others, the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights.

On the property called Cuba, which the Castro brothers appropriated, it seems that so many opponents have emerged that the political police can’t control them. Many are losing the fear that gripped them day after day, and others show that the population is willing to break the vile armor of an atrocious dictatorship that has humiliated and vexed them for years. continue reading

It’s evident that Cubans want to break the truce since they don’t stop demanding better living conditions along with the end of the dictatorship, as has been seen in the city of Nuevitas, where the city dwellers have constantly shouted at the dictatorship that they were tired of living as slaves, some alluding in their demands to the Mambi machete redeemer and apparently echoing the expression of General Antonio, “Freedom is conquered on the edge of the machete, it is not asked for; begging for rights is typical of cowards unable to exercise them.”

The protests in most of the national territory are a constant, a symptom that the population is losing its fear and freeing itself from the burden of blind obedience to a leadership that has only reaped failures and that has devastated the country as if it had suffered a war.

Apparently, the growing misery and the permanent harvest of frustrations have led the people to realize that the promises of the regime are invalid and that they need to act at any cost to be able to access a better life.

After the protests of July 11, 2021, there has been a notable discontent aggravated by the power cuts. Power is miraculously restored when the population protests firmly, as has happened in the neighborhood of Pastelillo, in Nuevitas. This can be understood  that for the Castro government, those who are obedient suffer the most.

Everything seems to indicate that repression is no longer enough to continue controlling a population dissatisfied in all aspects. Fear and hope, the two most leafy trees of Castroism, are apparently drying up rapidly.

Citizens are noticing, more than ever before, the high levels of corruption and ineptitude of officials to solve the numerous and constant problems generated by the regime itself, which aren’t caused by the vaunted embargo or American aggression.

In addition, the most faithful supporters of Castroism, no matter how servile they may be, understand that the protests are legitimate, that they are not imported and that they don’t respond to proposals from abroad. It is the neighbor, the repressor himself, who suffers from the systematic and permanent stupidity of a failed dictatorship in all aspects, except in their effort to destroy the Cuban nation as they did with the Republic.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Castro, Another Member of the Argentine Military Junta

Fidel Castro harangues the crowd. (Archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 24 July 2022 — Fidel Castro was a legal opportunist. A fundamentalist of power and obviously an unscrupulous subject. His indisputable talent guided him to the conquest of power and its preservation; in both projections he had a resounding success. He was the dean of Latin American dictators and the one who governed the world the longest: 49 years and 8 days, according to a recent exhibition.

On the other hand, although Castro always tried to present himself as a civilian leader and incessantly attacked the military governments of the hemisphere, which he described as gorilla regimes, he maintained close relations with various uniformed caciques.

One of the first was General Juan Domingo Perón, about whom Castro wrote. “We are very grateful to General Perón, he was the first to recognize us. He sold us those cars that we still have, those Fords that are still around. He sold us wagons for our railroads. We are very grateful to him. We have always been friends of the Peronists. Perón seriously wounded the snake (the US says so) although he did not kill it.”

This was the origin of the more than 2.7 billion that Cuba owes to Argentina and the basis, perhaps, for the close relationship of the Military Junta of that country with the Cuban dictator, despite the fact that the defenders of the Cuban regime in that country accuse the military of thousands of disappeared. Bad memory is everywhere and those who best represented it were the Fernández-Kirchner couple.

Argentina was a target of Castro’s subversion. However, several years ago the secret links that existed between the Argentine Military Junta and the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro were discovered, a relationship that was denied by the supporters of Castroism. In 2003, however, Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, a former political prisoner of Cuba’s Black Spring, published a book [La Falsa Imagen de Fidel Castro (En Colores): Evidencias Irrefutables], which I do not intend to comment on, in which he graphically demonstrates that these relationships existed and were beneficial for both. continue reading

The book presents graphic testimonies of the unusual relationship, not exceptional, if we remember the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, signed in Moscow seven days before the Nazi invasion of Poland, which resulted in the partition of that country between Berlin and the Kremlin. In other words, the opportunism of the Caribbean leader was inspired by the example of two of his teachers, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.

Among those blessed by Pope Castro, not to be confused with Francisco, despite his human relationship with the executioner Raúl Castro, was the Peruvian general Juan Velazco Alvarado, who led a military coup against President Fernando Belaunde Terry and established an iron dictatorship that Castro distinguished with his visit, to the extreme that months later a large delegation of high-ranking Peruvian soldiers attended the Cuban military maneuvers called “Ayacucho 150” in which the dictator Castro said, “And in Peru Today, as in Cuba, Yankee imperialism no longer dominates!”

Velazco Alvarado was followed by two Panamanian soldiers, Omar Torrijos and Manuel Antonio Noriega, who for Castro were good dictators due to the close relations he had with both. These rulers, like his mentor, did not hesitate to crush the opposition.

However, the most productive military man for Castroism was Hugo Chávez Frías. The Venezuelan coup leader, affirms journalist Alexis Ortiz, was the bridge of salvation for Cuban totalitarianism when it lost the multimillion-dollar subsidy from the former Soviet Union. The Castro state, sucker by nature, found in Chávez and Venezuela the necessary cornucopia to survive, despite the fact that the Cuban model was already exhausted by that time.

However, in my opinion, the most aberrant relationship was that of the Argentine Military Junta with Castro, as Felipe Fuentes’ book demonstrates. Supposed ideological enemies allied themselves to avoid being condemned in international instances for their systematic violation of human rights but, even more monstrous, is that the relatives of those who attribute thousands of disappeared and murdered to that Military Junta, defend the legacy of Castroism.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba, Protests Against Totalitarianism

Protesters in Santiago de Cuba, on July 11, 2021. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 17 July 2022 — The protests of July 11, 2021 were a glorious feat for all of us who reject the Castro totalitarian regime.

That bravery, to a certain extent, neutralized the criticisms issued by some about what they describe as the extreme passivity of the Cuban people in the face of an iron dictatorship — an unpleasant saying, but one that reflects a real perception of what is happening on the island.

Without pretending to justify what must be criticized, the cowardice and apathy of many, we should brandish the epic courage of men and women who have never stopped confronting Castro totalitarianism.

Many have been martyrs in this bloody process and even more so the political prisoners who have served years behind bars in these more than six decades, including the large number of young people trained under the Castro regime who populate prisons for refusing to submit to tyranny.

It’s true that for so many years there have been few protests, but it’s an irrefutable truth that the more closed the regimes of force are, the more difficult it is to oppose them, and a totalitarian regime like the Cuban one, which has been able to establish strict social and police control, doesn’t cede space but must be taken away, which has a high human cost as history has shown.

The average Cuban, apparently, has concluded that it’s better to conspire to overthrow the regime than to participate in a media demonstration, because it’s as criminal to the Castro authorities to take to the streets demanding freedom as it is to participate in a plot to overthrow the tyranny. Other dictatorships brutally beat protesters and imprison them for hours; on the island of the Castros, the beating is joined by long years of sentences to be served under subhuman conditions. continue reading

Young people in prison for participating in barely-known protests or in other high-profile protests are in the same condition as artists who, through their creations, manifest dissent and freedom of opinion.

The first anniversary of the protests of July 11, 2021, lead us to remember some of the popular demonstrations against Castroism, many of them forgotten by the long years that have passed and whose protagonists have mostly left for eternity.

Lost in the mists of time is the protest organized by mothers, wives and daughters, in January or February 1959, to demand an end to the shootings.

In February 1960, discontent with communist penetration into universities materialized with a protest organized by students in the Central Park of Havana, on the occasion of the visit to Cuba by the Soviet Deputy Prime Minister, Anastás Mikoyan. In October, the students demonstrated again in Santa Clara, against the execution of five captured guerrillas, including the president of the FEU of Las Villas, Porfirio Ramírez Ruiz. That same year, the electricity sector carried out a massive march in the capital rejecting the regime’s measures against workers.

In 1961, the provinces of Oriente and Camagüey were the scene of student protests against communism and, in September of that same year, parishioners and Catholic organizations organized a procession in the church of La Caridad, in Havana, which had been banned by the authorities. However, the religious walk occurred with exclamations of “Long live Christ the King,” “Cuba Yes, Russia No.” The authorities reacted violently and shot dead the young Arnaldo Socorro.

In June and July 1962, the cities of Cárdenas and Perico, in Matanzas, were shaken by large protests, and in Cárdenas the regime took out tanks to repress it, a legacy that had its climax in the great protests of July 11 of last year, with its sad aftermath of numerous wounded and hundreds of prisoners, many minors.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Very Cruel and Painful Days are Coming in Cuba

Amelia Calzadilla*, in her second video, also denounced the shortages experienced by the Cuban people. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 19 June 2022 – “I don’t care about your fear”: I heard this phrase in a film from Cuba. A woman’s voice that synthesized the feelings of many others, all fed up with a cocktail that has lasted 63 years, in which only repression and misery are mixed. An expression that reflects, in my modest opinion, the probability of very cruel and painful days that should lead to a new homeland where there are no executioners or perpetrators.

That was one of the voices I heard on social media this week. A comment that only occurs in a frightened society like the Cuban one. Where terror prevails, people censor themselves and ensure that their loved ones don’t break the circle of fear because of the harm that could happen to them.

Another heartbreaking testimony I had the opportunity to see was that of a mother of three who denounces the precarious situation she faces with her family. A forceful and irrefutable evidence of the failure of Castro totalitarianism, in addition, to show the useless sacrifice of large segments of several generations of Cubans to work in favor of a project that has devastated the island and many of the values of its citizens.

Castroism in any of its derivatives, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian and an eventual Colombian if Gustavo Petro comes to power, only leads to failure and frustration. It is an inefficient proposal in all its expressions, except for its undeniable ability to impose strict social control based on repression and disinformation. continue reading

Young people should consider miraculous political proposals with great deliberation. It’s true that in politics there are very bad things that must be eradicated, but they shouldn’t be a reason to blindly believe in an enlightened person who only assures that he will change everything to build a bright future. You have to educate yourself, know the past and learn that “my rights end where those of others begin.”

The example of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua should serve as a model for new generations who hope to “conquer heaven” without understanding that a comfortable life within justice is only achieved with work. The rest remains to be seen.

Cubans overwhelmingly embraced their Messiah and repudiated those who denied him. In that commotion of unbridled hysteria, as the historian and journalist Enrique Encinosa described it, representatives of all generations closed their eyes and lent themselves to hunt down those who disagreed. They were the ones who helped destroy the country, leading the emerging generations to the degree of despair that this mother shows when, aware of the reprisals she may suffer, she accuses the Government of being inept, corrupt and complacent, with everything badly done.

It’s true that it has been the Castro leadership and all its officials, including police and military, who have supported the disgraced regime for more than six decades, but they have also contributed to the support and formation of the colonies of Venezuela and Nicaragua, who have lent their skills and talents to disseminate and convince the so-called silent majority of the justice and profitability of the totalitarian project.

A totalitarian regime doesn’t allow fiefdoms; only those who oppose it are relatively free of its mandates. However, the rest of the citizenry must behave as ordered by the authorities, which motivates a very high level of complicity and an understanding of the fear that transcends the individuality of the person, a syndrome of defenselessness that transforms citizens into a herd without will, but that reaches a moment of rupture as happened with this mother, who asks to be arrested and urges the rest of the mothers of the island to unite, to demand once and for all respect for their rights and a dignified life.

This anguished mother* calls the regime a liar when she exposes one of its fundamental falsehoods that says the “goods belong to the people.” We all listened and read, repeated ad nauseam, “this belongs to the people,” and we must have the courage to deny it as this lady, who is suffering numerous reprisals and abuse from the authorities, has done. All that remains is to trust that more mothers, citizens, will join her call to achieve a country “with all and for the good of all.”

*Amelia Calzadilla

Translated by Regina Anavy
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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Pedro Luis Boitel, Prisoner Number 26621

Pedro Luis Boitel died 50 years ago today in prison, during a hunger strike. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 25 May 2022 — That was the numerical identification that the prison administration of the Isla de Pinos prison hung on Pedro Luis Boitel, who on May 25 marks 50 years since he died on a hunger strike.

Giving political prisoners a number was a form of dehumanization, of standardization, but they did not achieve their goal, because the prisoners proudly displayed the number, which reflected their time in prison and, to a certain extent, the fight for democracy.

This martyr of the country, a worker at the emblematic Cuban radio and television company CMQ, was also a leader of the historic University Student Federation (FEU), an independent entity that was distorted by Castro’s totalitarianism.

Pedro Luis was a man capable of reaching the maximum stage of a human being in society, that of a citizen fully aware of his duties and rights, always ready to claim and defend his prerogatives without fear of consequences.

In the documentary, Nobody Listened (1984), Boitel’s mother, Clara Abraham de Boitel, expresses with great pride that her son could not bear an injustice. She affirms that he was a man not destined to live long because of his strong commitment to the truth and fairness. His mother knew him very well because his life was soon distorted by Castro’s totalitarianism.

His life was short, but full of national glory. He was one of those men who fully conformed to Martí’s expression: “When one dies in the arms of the grateful homeland, death ends, the prison breaks; life finally begins with dying!” continue reading

Boitel faced the regime of Fulgencio Batista. Persecuted by the Police, he went into exile in Venezuela, where he fought groups that sought to destabilize the incipient democracy of that country.

In Venezuela and before the triumph of the insurrection, he had his first confrontation with the Castro brothers, who were drastically opposed to him informing the world of what was happening in Cuba, a sign that, even before coming to power, the fateful brothers intended to establish absolute control over information.

His status as a student leader was contested by the Castros and the 26th of July Movement (M26J). The moncadistas did not trust Boitel to preside over the FEU, his independence of opinion made him unpredictable for the interests of the new regime, and they decided to support another university student, Rolando Cubelas, a government official, commander of the rebel army and leader of a rival organization of the M26J during the insurrectionary stage, the Student Revolutionary Directory.

The new leadership of the FEU led to this prestigious entity becoming one of the transmission belts of totalitarian power. The Cuban student body was subdued and the historical rebellion crushed before the firing squad or with long prison sentences.

Pedro Luis went to prison for many years. His colleagues remember him as a tireless man, always ready to report any abuse and willing to endure any punishment without ever giving up.

His rebellion was such that he even escaped from the Isla de Pinos prison. His companions in the escape, Armando Valladares, the only survivor of that brave deed, evokes with admiration the leadership of the student leader before and after being captured, evokes his stoicism in the face of the insanity of the henchmen and affirms that he learned a lot from Pedro Luis.

For many of his colleagues, he has been the most emblematic Cuban political prisoner after José Martí. His rebellion and constant hunger strikes made him unique in a setting where brave men like Alfredo Izaguirre, Armando Sosa Fortuny, Onerio Nerin Sánchez, Roberto Martín Pérez and Israel Abreu, just to mention a few, left traces of exceptional courage and national convictions.

Pedro Luis Boitel’s legacy of heroism and fidelity to Cuba was picked up by many Cubans, particularly those of more recent generations. Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez founded the Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prison organization in the Castro prisons; his sister, Berta Antúnez, formed the Pedro Luis Boitel Civic Resistance Movement, and the numerous times imprisoned hero of the Black Spring, Félix Navarro, organized the Party for Democracy under the name of an unforgettable martyr.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.