Terrorism and the Revolution of 1959
Terrorism and the Revolution of 1959 / 14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenchea
Posted on May 11, 2015
14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenchea, Santa Clara, 21 April 2015 – 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 Bohemia
in 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 69th 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 69th Avenue, Marianao, was
also injured in the attack.
January 15, 1957
An emergency judiciary investigation was launched into a bombing on 21st
Street, between 14th and 16th 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 6th and 7th 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
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
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
Source: Terrorism and the Revolution of 1959 / 14ymedio, Jose Gabriel
Barrenchea | Translating Cuba –