The Cuban Revolution : Chapter 10 : Why the Anarchists Broke with Castro's Regime
(1902 - 1990) ~ Russian Emigre and American Anarchist Activist : He rode the rails for the Wobblies, sometimes as a gandy dancer (or maintenance man), or else hopping boxcars, and he always looked for the chance to stand in front of a crowd and, in that broken cello of a voice. (From : IWW.org.)
• "The very fact that autonomy, decentralization and federalism are more practical alternatives to centralism and statism already presupposes that these vast organizational networks now performing the functions of society are prepared to replace the old bankrupt hyper-centralized administrations." (From : "The Relevance of Anarchy to Modern Society," by S....)
• "Society without order (as the word 'society' implies) is inconceivable. But the organization of order is not the exclusive monopoly of the State. For, if the State authority is the sole guarantee of order, who will watch the watchmen?" (From : "The Relevance of Anarchy to Modern Society," by S....)
• "The increasing complexity of society is making anarchism MORE and NOT LESS relevant to modern life. It is precisely this complexity and diversity, above all their overriding concern for freedom and human values that led the anarchist thinkers to base their ideas on the principles of diffusion of power, self-management and federalism." (From : "The Relevance of Anarchy to Modern Society," by S....)
To explain why the anarchists were forced to break with Castro it is first necessary to depict the cruel, unbearable harassments which made it impossible for any of the opposition groupings to function. The situation is graphically sketched out by a consciencious eyewitness report in the following extract: (Yves Guilbert; Castro l'Infidele, Paris, 1961, pp. 174-180) [S.D.]
[Fidel Castro said on television, April 2, 1959] "When one newspaper is closed down, no newspaper will feel safe; when one man is persecuted because of his political ideas, no one can feel safe." Officially there is still freedom of the press in Cuba. There is no law limiting the right of expression. However, Castro's dictatorship could not tolerate the existence of a press not entirely devoted to him...
Shortly after the beginning of the [January 1, 1959] Revolution, Castro requisitioned the newspapers Alerta, Pueblo, Atajo, El Comercio de Cienfuegos, El Diario de Cuba of Santiago, and also closed down the journal El Camagueyano, founded in 1902... Although Castro pretends that the press is not being shackled, there is a great deal of unofficial, but no less harmful, harassment and sabotage . . .
To create a subservient press, Castro subsidized Revolucion [former organ of the July 26 Movement], Combate, Diario Libre, La Calle of Havana, Sierra Maestra, etc. Journals that he could not, for the 119 moment, entirely suppress were neutralized by an ingenious system of camouflaged censorship. The newspaper workers' union tried to nullify the impact of articles that did not strictly echo Castro's party line by printing a coletilla... a sort of disclaimer warning the reader that the article is "counter-revolutionary." It usually reads, "By virtue of the freedom of expression which exists in this country, this article has been printed according to the will of the owners of this publication. But, by virtue of this same freedom of expression, we, the employes of this journal, alert the public that this article is contrary to the truth." Another tactic has been to shut down an obstreperous publication by cutting off its supply of paper or other necessary materials.
Castro was not at all pleased with coletillas, which had the opposite of the intended effect, leaving the government open to the accusation of censorship. Early in 1960, he therefore launched an all-out offensive to liquidate, once and for all, the independent press.
[for example] . . . the editors of Prensa Libre, savagely attacked by the Castroites, realized that it too would soon be compelled to cease publication, and sounded the alarm in a hard-hitting article titled "The Hour of Unanimity." [Guilbert here quotes from the article] "'Unanimity reigns supreme in Cuba--totalitarian unanimity... there must be no discordant voices, no possibility of criticism. The control of every avenue of expression will facilitate the brain-washing of the public. Dissident voices will be bull-dozed into silence: the silence of those who CANNOT speak out or the silence of those who DARE NOT speak out..."
The great illustrated weekly magazine, Bohemia, of Havana, one of the most widely read Cuban magazines in Latin-America, was edited by Miguel Angel Quevado. Under Batista, Bohemia constantly fought for freedom and democracy, and denounced the dictator's outrageous violations of human rights. Castro considered Quevado one of his close friends. In the columns of his magazine, Quevado [initially] backed Castro and the Revolution to the limit. But he could not tolerate the increasing totalitarianism of Castro's government. [Bohemia, the only non-censored magazine after 1960, was preparing its "Liberty Edition," with a painting of Castro on its cover over the inscription "Honor and Glory to the National Hero!" when] . . . He closed down Bohemia and, on July 18, 1960, left Cuba. Quevado explained why he had to do so in a farewell message to the readers:
[Guilbert quotes] " . . . a diabolical, skillfully prepared plot to impose a Communist dictatorship on the American continent has been organized under the close supervision of Moscow. After listening to the declaration of Nikita Khrushchev, there can no longer be any doubt that Cuba is being used as a tool to promote the foreign policies of the U.S.S.R... Cuba is being pictured as a weak little nation whose very existence is being safeguarded by the guns of revolutionary Russia, the 120 greatest military power in the world. After Castro's enthusiastic pledge of solidarity with the U.S.S.R. and the "socialist countries," Castro's part in this attentat against freedom has become obvious...
. . . "In making our own revolution, it is not necessary to subject our people to the oppression and vassalage of Russia. To make a profound social revolution, it is not necessary to implant a system which degrades people to the lowly level of state serfdom, to wipe out the last vestige of freedom and dignity. This is not a genuine revolution...
"These lines should have appeared in the pages of Bohemia, but this is no longer possible. Barred from publishing this message in our own magazine, acutely conscious of its moral obligation to the people, to whom Bohemia has always been honest and faithful, the editor of Bohemia has made the only decision which these circumstances permit: to proclaim in these lines the sad truth of what is happening to Cuba, and to go into exile. . ."
Many other collaborators of Bohemia also left with Quevado. The magazine was immediately taken over by a gang of Castro Communists--while Castro hypocritically deplored "the exile of Quevado as one of the hardest blows to our Revolution."
The Anarchist Press Fights Back
Guilbert is perhaps the only witness who not only mentions the Cuban anarchists, but appreciates their unflinching dedication to the principles of freedom and justice.
. . . in the Cuban night some light still flickers. As far as circumstances over which they have no control permit, the little anarchist journals still valiantly defend freedom to the utmost. Their papers, El Libertario and Solidaridad Gastronomica (Organ of the Anarcho-Syndicalist food and restaurant workers union) still courageously project their gleam of hope that Castro fears. They, too, will soon be suppressed...(ibid. p. 178)
In the face of the growing oppression, the libertarian movement while constrained to modulate its criticism so as not to be confused with the counter-revolutionary reactionaries or the more liberal bourgeoisie, nevertheless succeeded in making its position unmistakably clear. For example, both papers prominently displayed provocative headline slogans:
WE ARE AGAINST ALL IMPERIALISMS! PRIVATE PROPERTY IS THE SYMBOL OF SLAVERY! SOCIALISM WILL BE FREE OR THERE WILL BE NO SOCIALISM!
THE LAND AND THE INDUSTRIES TO THE SYNDICATES! FOR FREE COLLECTIVES AND COOPERATIVES!
The anarchist papers were compelled to cease publication about two years after the revolution. Since Solidaridad Gastronomica appeared monthly and El Libertario (organ of the Libertarian Federation of Cuba -- ALC) irregularly, the following excerpts from the more important articles, though few, should nevertheless give a fair idea of how the anarchists viewed events during this short period.
The Anarchists and the Revolution
From the Libertarian Association of Cuba to the International Anarchist Movement Havana, June 1959
What follows are our first tentative impressions of the situation in Cuba on the morrow of the Revolution.
With the triumph of the Revolution, many of our comrades released from prison have been joined by ALL our exiled comrades, who have returned to participate in the revolutionary reconstruction of the new Cuba.
It is still too early to predict what orientation the Revolution may take in our country. But there can be no doubt--in view of the adequate measures taken--that the murderous Batista dictatorship will never again be restored to inflict itself upon our people.
The Revolution is preeminently a true people's revolution. The thousands of armed men fighting in the mountains, through their audacity and courage, demolished the dictatorial fortress. Our armed militants enjoyed the full moral and material backing of the masses. The widespread clandestine propaganda and militant actions and uprisings of popular movements all over Cuba, and the fighting solidarity of all groups, undermined the morale and will to fight of Batista's army and his civilian allies.
We feel that a new epoch in the life of Cuba has been opened. But we have no illusions about the character of the institutional changes now taking place. For the time being--how long nobody knows--we still possess civil rights, as well as the possibility of reorganizing our forces and making our ideas and ideals known to the people.
In a widespread revolutionary movement such as this, all sectors are represented; different groupings, often with conflicting aims, strive to exert maximum influence. And it is not always those helping libertarian conceptions that exert the greatest influence.
The doctrine of state centralization has, in Cuba as in so many other countries, had the most harmful effects. Many who sincerely desire a 122 regeneration of society are unfortunately obsessed with the notion that a successful revolution is possible only under a rigid and authoritarian regime. Among these are the extreme nationalists and fanatical patriots -- a very dangerous tendency which could facilitate degeneration of the revolution into a sort of Nazism and Fascism, particularly here in Latin-America.
The formidable Catholic influence is equally dangerous for the Revolution. The duplicity of the top of the Church hierarchy has been amply demonstrated in recent years. In return for supporting Batista, the Church was subsidized with donations of hundreds of thousands, even millions of pesetas... Nevertheless, many Catholics fought heroically against Batista, and the lower "rank and file" priests and other clergy fought bravely on all fronts to topple the Batista regime. When normal life has been restored, the Church will surely take advantage of this fact to curry favor with the new regime.
The Communist Party of Cuba is just as dangerous for the Revolution as are the extreme nationalists and the upper echelons of the Church. Fortunately, their influence is limited because they are discredited by their association with Batista and their servility to the Russian totalitarian dictatorship. Hiding behind the banner of liberalism, patriotism, mutual tolerance and the coexistence of all anti-Batista forces, they have been able to infiltrate a number of organizations and some sectors of the labor movement. Though small in number, the Communists are skillful connivers, well-organized and totally unscrupulous; their counterrevolutionary potential must not be underestimated.
The role the labor movement is to play in revolutionary reconstruction is a particularly crucial problem. From the fall of the Machado dictatorship in 1933 to the present, the unions have been the tools of, and one of the main pillars supporting, the government. The fact that the new Revolutionary government is moving to consolidate the labor movement into a single rigidly dominated centralized organization has fortunately--at least for the time being--not weakened the determination of the workers to fight for the autonomy and integrity of their own organizations against dictatorship. The Communists, naturally, are striving to reconquer their controlling position in the labor movement, which they enjoyed for so many years under Batista and the others. But the circumstances are not the same; they are not favorable, and we hope that, in spite of their efforts, the Communists will not succeed in dominating the labor movement.
Despite these and other obstacles, we will continue to struggle for the maximum realization of our libertarian alternatives--in accordance with the realities of the situation and with unflagging dedication--and against Statism and the deformation of the Cuban Revolution. 123
Manifesto to the Workers and the People in General
As early as January 18, 1959, only a few weeks after the Revolution, the Libertarian Association of Cuba already detected the first signs of the authoritarian character of the new regime and sounded the alarm in its Manifesto to the Workers and the People in General. The Manifesto reads in part: ...
In this historic moment of the nation and the working class, the ALC is obliged to call attention to certain fundamental problems...
The Revolution that recently freed the people of Cuba from the bloody tyranny of Batista is a people's revolution for liberty and justice, made by the people. The labor movement of our country was captured by the tyrants, who used it to promote their own sinister purposes. The voices of the rebels and the non-conformists were stilled by the prison officer, the persecutor and the assassin. Unions which dared question the authorities were immediately taken over by the Secretary-General of the [collaborationist] Confederation of Cuban Workers (C.T.C.) and/or the Ministry of Labor. Their freely elected representatives were ousted [or even arrested] and replaced by hand-picked faithful servants of the dictatorship, who were imposed upon the membership without the least semblance of democratic procedure. The workers themselves must see to it that such atrocities are never again revived in Cuba ...
We are alarmed that the allegedly "temporary" administrations of the unions and their officials are being installed without consultation or agreement of the membership or of the various organizations that made the Revolution ...
In the midst of the revolutionary turmoil, we do not expect everything, including the labor organizations, to function normally in so short a time. But it is our duty, and the duty of all the workers, by militant action, to see to it that the democratic procedures, the freedoms, and the rights gained by us with the triumph of the Revolution are respected ...
We must immediately hold free elections in the unions, where the workers will freely choose their representatives ... It is absolutely necessary that general membership meetings be called immediately to freely discuss and deal with the great and urgent problems ...
It is absolutely necessary that the workers themselves elect, dismiss or reinstate their officials. To permit any other procedure would be to allow the very same dictatorial practices which we fought against under Batista ...
We, the people who fought a bitter war against the old dictatorship, must now make sure that the Revolution will built a new social order that will guarantee liberty and justice for all, without exception...
We workers, who felt on our own bodies the blows inflicted by the old tyranny, must now, again, defend our fundamental rights.
RESOLVE NEVER AGAIN TO INSTITUTE A REGIME OF SUBMISSION AND SLAVERY!
From Solidaridad Gastronomica
THE WORKERS MUST BE ALERT NOT TO FALL INTO THE SAME ERRORS TWICE!
The heroic fighters who, with so much effort and sacrifice, defeated the Batista tyranny, merit the eternal gratitude of the Cuban people. Never again must the Cuban people be subjected to horrors such as the Batista tyranny.
We are tremendously disturbed to see swarms of adventurers and other phonies taking advantage of the victorious Revolution, and, by strong-arm methods, taking over control of the unions... Far from signifying a real revolutionary change, these methods only repeat the institutionalized violence of the Batista dictatorship... The Communists wait in the wings, all too anxious to repeat their betrayals of the workers--as when they collaborated with Batista to subjugate them.
Now, with the triumph of the Revolution, is precisely the time for the workers to be doubly alert and watchful not to repeat the same errors, not to allow the democratic assemblies to be destroyed by tolerating decrees from above, edicts converting the unions into agencies of the all-embracing state. The destructive power of the state is the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the workers.
We must avoid centralization. We must impede the surge of new hierarchies which are no better than the old ones. We must have free and open assemblies where the will of the majority of the workers can determine the future of our class and its organizations. (Jan. 15, 1959)
The Labor Racketeers and the Gangsters Return--Beware!
Barely two months after the Revolution overthrew the dictator Batista and his faithful lieutenant, Eusebio Mujal [fascist thug and Secretary-General of the Batista "labor front," the C.T.C.], the new dictators are already conniving to seize control of the unions, and, like their predecessors, rule the workers by decrees from above.
These tyrants are packing the union meetings with their stooges--strangers who are not even members--brought in to vote for 125 the labor racketeers. The workers are being intimidated by the presence of armed militiamen. These and other practices constitute flagrant violations of the elementary rights of the workers.
The Revolution must guarantee and defend the right of the workers to freely conduct their affairs without intimidation or interference. The fate of the Revolution is in our hands; the destiny of our class is in our own hands! (March 15, 1959)
Warning! Juan Marinello Is Moscow's Stooge and Batista's Friend!
It is reported in the press that "...yesterday afternoon, in a simple ceremony, Dr. Juan Marinello was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Languages and Literature in the Escuela Normal de la Habana [Havana School of Education], the same position from which this well-known writer and political leader had been ousted by the Batista Ministry of Education..."
This announcement deliberately gives the one hundred per cent FALSE impression that Marinello consistently fought the Batista dictatorship. The phony comrades [of the Communist Party] who now enjoy such great influence in the new revolutionary government were the staunchest and most faithful friends and supporters of the Batista dictatorship and were rewarded for their services by being appointed to very good posts in Batista's corrupt government. To deny this incontestable fact is absurd.
Is there a single Cuban who does not yet know that Juan Marinello head of the Communist Party of Cuba (P.S.P.) was instructed to collaborate with Batista by his masters the Russian Communist Party officials?
From El Libertario
The following article was published in El Libertario, June 20, 1959 shortly after the promulgation of the Agrarian Reform Law. It accurately predicted the disastrous consequences of massive seizures of land by the state, which led to the establishment of state farms (granjas) and the total domination and subjugation of the agricultural workers and peasants. [S.D.]
Plows Tractors and the Guajiro
Under the watchwords "Land and Liberty" and "The Land to Those Who Work It," the anarchists pioneered the organization of agricultural workers. Such men as Niceto Perez, Sabino Pupo, Casanas and Montero were in the struggle for the emancipation of the agricultural workers and peasants.
In contrast to the Marxist bias for the urban industrial workers [based on the fatalistic theory that the realization socialism will depend exclusively on the technical-scientific development of industry]], our conviction that the will of man to create his own social structures is paramount, leads us to attach special importance to the struggles of the rural masses.
The fact that the two greatest upheavals of our century have taken place in predominantly agrarian countries, leads us to place our greatest hope for social change in the vast peasant masses. And it is precisely because it is too often forgotten that the rural masses have always been the most downtrodden victims that we passionately encourage and sustain all measures which promote their rights.
All these considerations lead US to regard them not as passive automatons and lifeless pawns but on the contrary as dynamic human beings who are capable of great revolutionary achievements when inspired by a just and noble cause.
We have been dedicated champions of agrarian reform which we have been demanding for many years. Nevertheless we view with increasing alarm the Agrarian Reform Law which gives priority to the purely mechanical as opposed to the human factors. We view with alarm the government's mistrust of the peasants the enactment of measures which inevitably lead to the creation of a state superstructure ruinous to the creative self-activity spontaneity and initiative of the agricultural workers and a certain tendency to dismiss the small peasant proprietor as a conservative-minded "kulak".
We must realize that for every machine and every technical blueprint to work there must be human beings ready and willing to make the necesssary try sacrifices for the triumph of our cause. If we lose sight of this fact our cause is lost.
We must realize that the worst possible danger to the Revolution is the bureaucratization induced by the deification of technology and the consequent downgrading of the peasants.
Without underestimating the importance of huge cooperative farms to meet the need for agricultural products it must be stressed that the small peasant proprietors can also contribute greatly to agricultural production by organizing themselves into collectives for the intensive cultivation of the land in common...
(The reader will note how closelly El Libertario anticipated the constructive recornmcndations of the agricultural scientist Rene Dumont--see introduction.)
Generally speaking, those who now demand that political prisoners be tortured and locked in concentration camps became "revolutionaries" only AFTER the Revolution. Many ot these ''Johnny-come-latelies" were a short time ago humble lackeys of the Batista dictatorship. These vindictive sadists are far more severe than are the humane, magnanimous revolutionary veterans who fought on the Sierra Maestra and Escambray fronts.
The fact that the Revolution must defend itself against the most vicous and intractable counter-revolutionaries does not mean that it should become a blind, vindictive nemesis, totally impervious to human kindness.
The Revolution must not be sullied, corrupted and ultimately undermined by toleration of the concentration camps and the forced labor characteristic of the odious regimes of Hitler and Stalin! (June 20, 1959)
Children in Uniform
In the streets of Havana, in towns and villages, all over Cuba teenagers, and even children, are on parade: goose-stepping like Prussian soldiers, strutting, puffed up with their own conceit that they are training to "defend the country." And their commanders boast about how "revolutionary" they are. How vain their pretensions that they are really defending the Revolution! How far removed they are from the road to freedom!
These juvenile patrols remind us of Mussolini's Fasci Combatini Combattenti, and the parades of Franco's Blue Shirts. In no way do these little boys resemble the valiant fighters of the mountains, or the brave underground fighters of the French Maquis. For a future of oppression and servitude they are needed: but never to forge a tomorrow of fraternity in a free and happy community. They represent the militarization of the future, the poisonous herb of the barracks--that which the Revolution must abolish forever.
It is one thing to train the masses in the use of arms for self-defense. But it is a grievous error to militarize and corrupt the minds of youth, to inhibit the unfolding of their personalities and to turn them into a herd of mindless animals.
Are professional armies really better equipped to meet the hazards of war and invasion? History demonstrates that a people determined to defend its rights has been able to defeat regular armies. We who boast of "military glory," remember the Germany of the Kaiser and Hitler--their pompous, corseted, goose-stepping generals committing their most odious crimes! Remember the France of Laval and Petain betrayed by the militarists! REMEMBER! (Nov. 25, 1959)
Is There Real Freedom Of The Press in Cuba?
More than two weeks ago the C.N.T. exile organization in Cuba received an urgent appeal from the C.N.T. underground in Spain, asking for internationa solidarity on behalf of 99 imprisoned anarcho-syndicalist militants now facing very heavy sentences for opposing Franco-fascism. [The C.N.T.--Confederación Nacional del Frabajo Trabajo, National Confederation of Labor--was the anarcho-syndicalist confederation which fought in the Spanish Revolution and Civil War, 1936-39.] C.N.T. comrades here in Cuba personally delivered topics of the appeal to the daily newspapers of Havana, as well as the radio stations, requesting publication and announcement. But not a single word has thus far been published or broadcast. Is this freedom of the press? Isn't the nonsectarian revolutionary press maintained by the public obliged to print something of general interest, to serve all the people without discrimination? Or arc the libertarians not liked by those who control the press?
Those who rightly condemn capitalist monopoliers of the press for their partizan, reactionary policies, must not sink to their level. They must not impose their own brand of "revolutionary" monopoly and go so far as to renounce all moral obligation and refuse to help those who are fighting fascist barbarism, only because they do not like their revolutionary ideas...
It would indeed be criminal to deny freedom of the press to a movement like ours, whose struggles for the emancipation of the oppressed have been unequaled in the history of the Cuban Revolutionary movement. But if this sabotage and boycott continues, we will have to ask, IS THERE REAL FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IN CUBA? ( July 197 1960)
Declaration published in the Bulletin of the MECE; Miami, July-Aug. 1962.
. . .All militant Cuban libertarians fought for the downfall of Batista and enthusiastically hailed and assisted the Revolution. We hoped that the Revolution would bring more liberty and social justice to the men, women and children of Cuba. We tried to help the people's voluntary organizations (cooperatives, cultural groups, peasant and student groups, etc.) assume a decisive part in the construction of the new l.ibertarian Cuba. Little by little, we saw our hopes dissipated as the new rulers became more and more arrogant, ruthless and dictatorial.
While we saw the outrages and bestialities committed daily by the members of the revolutionary oligarchy, we remained silent because we did not want the people to confuse our revolutionary criticism with the criticism of reactionary elements? who attacked the regime only to safeguard their economic and political priveleges. We criticized the Castro-Communist dictatorship, not because it was TOO REVOLUTIONARY, but because it was NOT REVOLUTIONARY ENOUGH.
Between the spring and the summer of 1960, we exposed ourselves to the persecution of the regime by attempting to initiate a widespread discussion which would have given us the opportunity to expose before the Cuban people the ideological bankruptcy of rhe new dictatorsllip and present our constructive solutions to the problems of the Cuban Revolution.
The rulers made a free and open discussion of issues and principles impossible. We were accused by Blas Roca [leader of the Communist Party, ex-friend of Batista] of hiding behind the mask of extreme revolutionism, the better to serve the interests of the American State Department. 7 (In August, 1960), he said, "Today in Cuba we have anarcho-syndicalists who publish Declarations of Principles, that are of wonderful assistance to counter-revolution...they help counterrevolution from extremist positions with phraseology and arguments that look leftist."] When we wrote a fifty-page pamphlet replying to these slanders and outlining our viewpoint, the State Publishing House refused to publish it, and private publishers were strictly warned not to do so. We, and other non-conformist groups, were not allowed to print anything. Our paper Solidaridad Gastronomic was so hounded by the authorities that it ceased publication March 20, 1961. The best equipped print shops confiscated from the bourgeois press were opened to the Communists. A veritable flood of Marxist books and pamphlets were used to brain-wash the workers and peasants of Cuba.
This, together with appointing Communists to key posts in the government, the unions, the schools, peasant and cultural organizations, etc., convinced us that the Revolution was lost. ~ his was the bitter end of our hopes, and from that time on our opposition to the increasingly brutal totalitarian regime began.
[The Bulletin also published the following notice dispatched from Cuba:]
Havana, August 16, 1962
Through this little note, we are letting you know that, for reasons too long and too complicated to explain at this time, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Association of Cuba has decided to suspend publication [of its journal and other activity].
Behind these few lines of lie shattered hopes, the despair and the tragedy of the aborted Cuban Revolution.
Anarchists in Castro's Prisons
This is a partial list of anarchists imprisoned because they refused to serve the Castro totalitarian regime, just as they fought its predecessor the Batista tyrannt, remaining always faithful to their ideals.. (Froom Boletin Informacion Libertaria--Movimiento Libertaria Libertario de Cuba En Exillioo: Miami, July-August 1962) [S.D.]
Pláacido Mendez: Bus driver, delegate for routes 16, 17, and 18. For many years, fought against the Batista tyranny and at various times imprisoned and brutally tortured. In 193X he was forced to go into exile, returning secretly to Cuba to fight in the Cuban underground movement against Batista in the Sierra Escambray. With the downfall of Batista, he resumed his union activities refusing to accept the totalitarian decrees of the so-called revolutionary government. Comrade Mendez is serving his sentence in the National Prison on the Island of Pines, built by the bloody dictator Machado. Mendez has been condemned by ( Castro's Revolutionary Tribunal to twelve years at hard labor. His family is in desperate economic difficulties.
Antonio Degas: Militant member of the glorious National Confederation of Labor of Spain (CNT): living in Cuba since the termination of the Spanish Civil War, working in the motion picture industry. This comrade conspired against the Batista tyranny and with the triumph of the Revolution, unconditionally placed himself at the service of the new Castro regime. Because of his activities against the communist usurpers of the Revolution, he was imprisoned by the lackeys of Castro without trial. Antonio Degas is imprisoned in the dungeons of Cabana Fortress and subjected to inhuman treatment. His wife and children, under conditions of at-owing poverty, must also find ways of helping him in prison where he is under medical treatment.
Alberto Miguel Linsuain: Comrade Linsuain is the son of a well-known Spanish Revolutionist, who died in Alicante towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. Linsuain was extremely active against the Batista dictatorship and joined the rebel forces in the Sierra Cristal, under the command of Castro s brother, Raúl Castro. For his bravery in battle he was promoted to Lieutenant in the Rebel Army. With the end of the armed struggle, he left the army and dedicated himself to the union movement of his industry. He was elected by his fellow workers as General Secretary of the Federation of Food, Hotel and Restaurant Workers of the Province of Oriente. When the communists subtly began to infiltrate and take over the organized labor movement, Comrade Linsuain fought the communist connivers. This aroused the hatred of the communist leaders in general and Rau'l Castro, in particular he had violent quarrels with Raúl Castro even when he had first met him in the Sierra Cristal while fighting against Batista. Comrade Linsuain has been in jail for over a year without trial. His family has not heard from him for months and fears for his life. (A later Bulletin reported that Linsuain was either murdered or died in jail.)
SondalioTorres: Young sympathizer of libertarian ideas, who, inspired by our comrades, fought bravely in his native Cuba, against Batista. With the triumph of the Revolution, Torres threw himself, body and soul, into the consolidation and constructive work of the Revolution, moving to Havana on government construction projects. On the job, he openly voiced his fears that the Castro government was gradually, but surely, becoming a ferocious dictatorship. For this, the stool-pigeon members of the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) accused him of counter-revolutionary activities. Sondalio was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. To force him to falsely accuse other fellow-workers of counter-revolutionary acts, Sondalio was subjected to barbarous torture. Four times he was dragged out to face the firing squad and four times he was retrieved just as he was about to be shot. Torres is serving his sentence in the Provincial prison of Pinar del Kito.
José Acena: Veteran libertarian militant; employed in the La Polar brewery; Professor (at one time) at the Instituto de la Vibora. For thirty years Acena carried on an uninterrupted struggle against all dictatorships, including the first as well as the second periods of Batista s tyrannical regimes. For his bravery in the underground revolutionary struggles of the 26th of July Movement, he was made treasurer of the Province of Havana. With the triumph of the Revolution, Acena collaborated fully with the new Castro regime, particularly in the labor and political movements. Acena soon realized that a totalitarian Marxist-Leninist system was being established in Cuba and quarreled violently with the new rulers, denouncing Castro personally and telling him plainly why he hated his regime. From that time on, he was hounded and persecuted by Castro s henchmen and imprisoned various times. Finally, after a year without trial, he was accused of counter-revolutionary acts and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. This, in spite of the fact that he still bears on his body the scars of wounds inflicted on him by Batista s jailers. He is desperately ill and in need of surgery.
Alberto Garcia: Comrade Alberto Garcia, like so many other militants of our movement, fought against Batista in the ranks of Castro's 26th of July Movement. Because of his well-earned prestige earned in the course of hard underground struggles, Garcia, after the fall of Batista, was elected by the workers of his industry to be Secretary of the Federation of Medical Workers. For his uncompromising opposition to the super-authoritarian conduct of the communists, he was arrested and sentenced to thirty years at hard labor, falsely accused of 'counter-revolutionary' activitiees. Comrade Garcia is one of the most valiant young militants in the Cuban Liberation Movement.
From : Anarchy Archives
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