Anti-Cuba Bandits: Terrorism in Past Tense
The revolutionary process undertaken by the Cubans after the guerrilla beards’ victory in 1959 did not wait long. for the powerful northern neighbor nation put into motion its varied arsenal of methods to undermine the island’s internal order. Once the United States finally realized that the Cuban Revolution was determined to continue with its social change far more from surrendering, despite of whatsoever the up-coming pressures on it might be; they unleashed a chain of economic measures, including the existing 45-year old embargo that was to have become yet its everlasting punishment to the Caribbean’s largest island.
But this was not enough. It was sooner than later that the U.S government hired and trained mercenaries to plot sabotages and military operations as well.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), leaning on reactionary individuals started organizing counterrevolutionary squads to boost uprising. Then, hundreds of anti-Cuban elements were illegally infiltrated into the island nation.
The Escambray Cordillera, a wilderness-rich chain of mountains located on former Cuba’s central Las Villas province, was to be turned into the main military operation field.
Using anti-Revolution individuals, ousted officers of the recently-defeated dictator Fulgencio Batista’s army, as well as other anti-social elements, the northern imperialist superpower indiscriminately created and bankrolled several paramilitary bands.
Late November of 1959, Cuban revolutionary forces captured the first group of armed bandits, which operated in surrounding areas of the Escambray. They all resulted to be members of the counterrevolutionary organization La Rosa Blanca (The White Rose) and who had previously seen truncated their initial plan of backing a supposedly invasion in August of the same year that counted on satrap Dominican Republic President Rafael Leónidas Trujillo´s support by some Cuban forces, based Trinidad airport, with Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro at the forefront.
In 1960, some anti-Cuban squads occurred to be grouped. Among their leaders appeared to be Evelio Duke, Osvaldo Ramírez, Silesio Walsh, Joaquín Bembirre, Reemberto Ramírez and Plinio Prieto.
At the end of that same year began what is known as the Limpia del Escambray (a military crusade to capture all those heavily-armed groups). Over 60 000 militiamen were mobilized to take part in this campaign.
Legions of militiamen hurddled tightly like fences and headed by officers of the early Rebel Army defeated all those anti-Revolution paratroopers. Revolutionary combatants went iercely after them pushing them either to surrender or to try to breach through their forces.
Many ended up prisoners, others died in combat and the other rest fled abroad, while nearly 150 got splitted over such area.
That was the true portrait of a crumbling counterrevolution, when the U.S administration decided to launch another alternative: the indirect Bay of Pigs invasion.
Seeing their attempt of an invasion clashed, the 90-mile-far enemy again centered its efforts on rallying the few reeling terrorist squads, sprawled throughout the Escambray, and to which it supplied with all type of armory.
The main heads of the bands intended to increase the amount of guerrilla groups, but diminishing the number of members. They implemented a new structure based on commands, captaincies and holdings.
The highest command of all gangs was assigned to Osvaldo Ramírez, who ordered to pass directly to war actions shortly after all bands were situated in their operation corresponding areas. Then, as an immediate response, the Special Military Region of the Escambray was established, along with an organization to map anti-Cuba focuses.
April 17, Osvaldo Ramírez was caught at the Aromas de Velázquez property. Three months later, Tomás San Gil was designated as the new bandit leader, and Emilio Carretero, as chief of the Staff. They both commanded 14 bands of approximately 300 individuals.
On this stage the Fight Against Bandits (LCB) rose as a section within the then-Rebel Army, and began to employ tactics of great effectiveness.
The first of March of 1963, San Gil was captured dead. Consequently, Carretero assumed the headquarters, so the U.S sponsored terrorists started then, facing their decaying era; however; terrorist plots and slaughters got increased.
Two measures were key for the Revolution to heavily harm such opposing military stream : firstly, the re-location of all people collaborating actively with these terrorist squads and secondly the launching of the Agrarian Reformation Act, burying the few rubbles of a former rural bourgeoisie, which constituted a solid economic support for the bands in the Escambray.
March 28, 1964, Emilio Carretero was captured thanks to the State Security Agent Alberto Delgado’s undercover work, well-known as El Hombre de Maisinicú (The man of Maisinicú).
The continuing operations of the LCB, as well as the Cuban intelligence labor defeated almost the entire armed terrorists. By the end of 1965, Luis Vargas and José Rebozo were the only bandits hidden in the Escambray.
On December 1, Vargas was arrested. And during that same date, Rebozo was detained, what put an end to another chapter of the history of the Cuban Revolution: La limpia del Escambray.
The LCB Army suffered a total of 295 casualties, while 2 005 anti-Revolution individuals left either captured or dead.
Cuba’s central Escambray highlands became the scenery for another Cubans´victory over imperialism.
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