Cubanet, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, Santiago do Cuba, 29 October 2016 — The top headline in the nightly news on the Castro family’s private television — the only television permitted in our country – on October 28th this year, was: “Cubans are paying tribute to Camilo Cienfuegos on the 57th anniversary of his physical disappearance.” Then we see leaders, the military, workers and students, all of them in the service of the family who own the television and who also own everything in Cuba, – when a few people own everything, the rest don’t even own their own lives – scatter flowers in the sea or in rivers in homage to the brave and much-loved guerilla. Lázaro Expósito, Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party in the province of Santiago de Cuba, and his entourage, distributed their flowers in the contaminated Santiago Bay.
Was Camilo lost at sea? Or, did Fidel Castro make him disappear? For most Cubans, the second possibility seems more likely. My father, Daniel Ferrer, fought in Column 9 under the command of Huber Matos, and, with me still in primary school, he told me that Camilo hadn’t fallen into the sea, that that was just a story. He never explained to us why he said that. Since I was a kid I have never wanted to be deceived or used. From the 5th grade on, I never again “threw flowers for Camilo.” They haven’t found any trace of the light aircraft which, supposedly, crashed into the sea. Will we need a diver like the one who discovered the wreckage of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s plane?
If Camilo was, and I think it is true, a brave, intelligent and sincere man who fought for the restoration of democracy to the Cuban people – the great majority of Cubans who fought against Batista thought that they were fighting to restore the 1940 constitution, never imagining that they were fighting for one family to become owners of the whole nation – it is logical to think that, when he saw the disastrous road along which Castro was leading the Revolution, he would have expressed his disagreement, or, at the very least, Fidel and Raúl would have imagined that it would not be easy to manipulate him and, in either case, would have decided to get rid of him. And if that is what happened, he certainly does deserve flowers, respect, admiration and justice. But not that we should participate in the Castros’ farce of casting flowers on the sea.
If, on the other hand – and I don’t think it’s true – Camilo was another docile instrument in the hands of the Stalin of Birán (Fidel Castro’s birthplace), always ready to obey orders, even though the orders converted his country into a nation of slaves, and he really disappeared in an airplane accident over the sea, after Huber Matos’ arrest, then it’s the best thing that could have happened to him. In that way, he died clean, without having on his shoulders the weight of the tyranny’s subsequent grave and continuous crimes And, if that’s how it was, he deserves neither flowers nor admiration.
But, I do think that he deserves flowers, respect, admiration, and justice. And for that, I do not throw flowers into the sea. One day, we will know where his remains are. I don’t know why, but whenever they speak of Camilo, or of other friends and victims of the Castros, even inluding the Argentinian communist who executed so many Cubans in Havana’s La Cabaña fortress, I remember Lev Trotsky, Sergei Kirov, Lev Kámenev and Gregory Zinoviev, among other victims of Joseph Stalin’s purges.
They say there is no proof that Stalin ordered Kirov’s assassination, or that Castro got rid of Camilo. But what we do know is that Stalin did not like to be upstaged by anyone, and that the Castros even stick people away and out of sight if they seem to be the slightest bit “difficult.” Kirov and Camilo seemed to be malcontents. Those who want to have everything, do everything to control everything, and then they tell whatever whoppers suit them. But, in Stalin’s time, there was no internet.
Translated by GH