Cuba Archive Broadcasts Video Testimonials of Relatives of Victims of Extrajudicial Executions

Gerardo Fundora, Marta González’s cousin, was shot in October 1960 at Limonar’s shooting range, Las Villas. (Captura)

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14ymedio, Havana, 2 November 2020 — Moíses was 24 in 1961 and a leader of the Matanza resistance when, one night, after the tip-off by someone he trusted, hooded government agents went to pick him up at his house and executed him alongside three comrades, Bernardo and Orlando Barrabí and Orlando Rodriguez. All four were shot in the cemetery of Agramonte and buried in a mass grave.

Stories like this try to put faces to a large list of victims of the two Cuban dictatorships of the twentieth century, that of Batista from 1952 onward, and that of Castro. Archivo Cuba / Cuba Archive works on the testimonies of the stolen lives of at least 11,303 missing Cubans, in an ongoing database. The organization wants to go beyond the numbers, and asks relatives or witnesses of those killed o narrate their personal trauma.

“These are people, real human beings, whose lives have been stolen prematurely by political violence, directly or indirectly. These unjust and often brutal losses have impacted many more people: family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc., and have had a broad impact on the nation,” the organization says.

This is also the case of Gerardo Fundora, shot in October 1960 at the firing range in Limonar, Las Villas. Marta González, his cousin, recalls the story of this 32-year-old trade unionist, a member of the resistance against Batista who opposed the Castro brothers and formed a group of rebels in Palenque, Matanzas. After being captured with some members of his group and tortured, he was executed without trial after being accused of shooting at a girl. Before shooting him, he was exhibited in the city as an “example” of what could happen to any opponent.

According to data from Cuba Archive, 3,045 people were shot by the Castro regime, in a list that is still being updated.

The project incorporates many other murders, such as that of political prisoner Ernesto Díaz Madruga in 1964, recounted by the former political prisoner Armando Valladares. The event happened in the prison of Isla de Los Pinos in an attack by the guards with bayonets. Another victim was José Gabriel Ramón Castillo, whose death at 61 his sister Lucy Ramón recalls.

His death was caused by hepatitus contracted in a Cuban prison in 2018, a date so recent that it recalls why it is still necessary to bring back to the memory of the nation the lives that intolerance has claimed.

Translated by: Hombre de Paz

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