Terrorism and the Revolution of 1959

Recently we have been hearing the official spokesmen of Castro’s submissive society accusing everybody of being terrorists. However, did you know that the Castro Revolution came to power on a wave of urban terrorism, which left in its wake a quite significant sum of “collateral damage?”

The Revolution that triumphed in Cuba on January 1, 1959 is often very misunderstood, and what is understood, is often biased. For example, did you know that on July 26, 1953 Fidel and Raúl Castro (who was not a teenager back then, he was 22) used a hospital full of patients as a firing position to attack the  Moncada Barracks, in flagrant violation of every international convention then in effect regarding warfare? A hospital serving servicemen and their families, veterans of the Cuban War of Independence, as well as ordinary citizens, suddenly became the spot from where one of the Castros’ lieutenants held the Moncada garrison under gunfire.

It is hard to believe that a lawyer as brilliant as Fidel Castro would have been unfamiliar with these international conventions. Unless, of course, we wish to believe those dubious sources claiming Fidel Castro’s schooling left much to be desired, and that he earned his grades only thanks to the help of his trusted friend, a Colt .45 pistol.

The following are eleven cases I have chosen from the extensive list of victims published in the back pages of the Cuban weekly magazine  Bohemiain its first three issues of January 1959: the misnamed (only time would teach us how misnamed) “Special Liberty Editions.” Among the murders, battles, and executions listed, I have selected only a few of the Revolutionary attacks that left innocent victims.

I should make it clear that my source is incomplete: it references the list of the  Bohemia journalists, who compiled it hastily during the first few days of January 1959, based almost exclusively on press releases of the time. It should also be noted that the Cuban press was subject to censorship by the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista for virtually the entire time between 1956 until December 31, 1958. Consequently, many events went unrecorded.

February 22, 1955

Antonio Goulet, sixty years old, father of Corporal Dionisio Goulet, an army barber, was killed, mangled by a bomb at his home on 112 Cuartel de Pardos Street, Santiago de Cuba. The elder Goulet’s fifteen-year-old granddaughter Emilia Iris Tabares was also injured in the attack.

January 1, 1957

Magaly Martínez Arredondo, 17, residing at 12021 69 th Avenue in Marianao, was injured when a bomb exploded at Havana’s Tropicana Nightclub, resulting in one of her arms having to be amputated. Marta Pino Donosos, 18 years old, living at 12209 69 th Avenue, Marianao, was also injured in the attack.

January 15, 1957

An emergency judiciary investigation was launched into a bombing on 21 stStreet, between 14 th and 16 th Street in Vedado, which injured Amada Apezteguía Armenteros and Nilda Llorente Carrascal.

Juan Pío Manresa, residing at 323 Virtudes Street in the city of Santa Clara, was injured when an explosive device went off at the corner of Virtudes and Lucena Streets in that same city.

Victoria Rodríguez, 33, residing at 256 Arrellano Street, and a seventy-year-old senior citizen, Tito Mayea Villalobos, residing at 318 Enma Street, were critically injured when a bomb exploded next to them at the corner of Fábrica and Concha Streets in Havana.

January 23, 1957

Oliverio González Mesa, 35, was killed, mangled by a bomb placed in front of the mansion owned by his employer Luciano Sampedro, located between 6 thand 7 th Avenue in Miramar. González Mesa had worked at the mansion as a cook for two years.

March 9, 1957

Luís González García, a twelve-year-old boy residing at 108 Jenaro Sánchez Street, suffered critical wounds when sticks of dynamite he found at the beach exploded in his hands.

April 27, 1957

Havana was rocked by eight separate bombings in eight separate businesses in a single day. The following were injured as a result: Carolina Torrente Fernández, 27, residing at 64 Tenerife Street; Ramón Fernández, 28, a resident of Rosalía District; and Faustino Cancedo, 61, residing at 66 Bejucal Avenue.

August 3, 1957

Mrs. Lidya Dorado was killed by a powerful bomb explosion on Trocha Street in Santiago de Cuba. Police Officer Arvelio Martín Céspedes was also critically injured.

August 5, 1957

Mercedes Díaz Sánchez del Águila, a resident of Milagros Street, was killed when a bomb exploded at the Ten Cents Department Store on the corner of Galiano and San Rafael Streets in Downtown Havana. Seriously injured were Lidia González Rebull, from Fontanar District; Etelvina Arencibia Gil, residing at 358 Franklin Street; Lidia Bular Barquet, 19 years old, resident of Vedado; Gladys Valdivieso, residing at 532 Parque Street; and Nelson Huerta Truichet, 72 years, and resident of the city of Marianao.

August 12, 1957

Alfonso Vivero, 43, from the beach town of Santa Fe, was rushed to an emergency room in critical condition after a bomb exploded at the dry cleaners on Luz Street, between Habana and Compostela Streets in Old Havana.

August 14, 1957

A bomb exploded at Havana’s Manzana de Gómez retail and office complex, killing José Martínez, 65, who resided at 4 Cuarteles Street.

September 3, 1957

Eusebia Díaz Páez, a young lady of 19, who resided at 3 Ángeles Street in the city of Guanabacoa was killed, mutilated when a bomb exploded in the ladies’ room of the América movie theater in Havana.

And now for some final thoughts.

In his book,  Descamisados (“The Shirtless Ones”), Brigadier General Enrique Acevedo tells us that shortly after he began to publicly stand out as the most active revolutionaries in his town, a military official loyal to the Batista régime waited for him in a secluded place and threatened to kill him if something were to happen to the official’s family. As I cited earlier, the terrorist killings of people such as Antonio Goulet did not come without a price. We should not be surprised if we found Corporal Goulet’s name among those who were executed in the early months of 1959 for having “gotten even” with one or several revolutionaries.

Still today the death of Agustín “Chiqui” Gómez Lubián is officially commemorated in Santa Clara. There are even schools named after him. In other words, these schools carry the name of a terrorist who together with a partner was killed when a bomb they planned to throw through a window of the Provincial Government headquarters fell a few yards short of its objective, in Buen Viaje Street. The victims of this heroic act would have surely been the secretaries and archivists working in the building, or some of the readers in the public library located on the ground floor. Neither the Provincial Governor nor any other figure associated with the Batista régime would have been injured or killed since their offices were on the second floor, or in windowless offices in the back of the first floor.

The commemoration of this event enjoys ample coverage in  Vanguardia, the puny Official Communist Party newspaper of Villa Clara Province, as does the death of Sergio González, alias “Curita,” material and intellectual author of many of the attacks mentioned above. This demonstrates that the Castro régime still exalts its terrorist roots, regardless of what it wants to make us believe when it wraps itself in the lily white tunics of its historic discourse.

Terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles* do not graduate from some sinister, clandestine CIA academy. Perhaps the CIA did indeed ultimately shape him into the coldblooded murderer he became, but people such as he grew up admiring individuals like “Curita” and “Chiqui” Gómez. Posada Carriles, no matter hos much the regime’s intellectual spokesmen, such Abel Prieto, Miguel Barnet, Fernando Martínez Heredia, or Esteban Morales want to deny it, is a more legitmate heir of the Revolution of 1959 than they themselves are.

* Translator’s note: Accused by the régime of being the mastermind behind the  1976 terrorist bombing of  Cubana Airlines  Flight 455 near Barbados, killing 73 passengers, and several other terrorist attacks. Posada Carriles currently lives in Miami.

Translated by José Badué

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