Chronology (January 1959 – November 1960)

Escambray

1959

The organization of a group of bandits in western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio, directed by Luis Lara Crespo, former military official of Fulgencio Batista’s Army and fugitive of the revolutionary justice for his several crimes committed in service, marked the sunrise of  terrorist bands in Cuba. In that same year, the Cuba’s most western province happened to be also the scenery of the death of revolutionary soldier Manuel Cordero Rodríguez in a crossfire against a group of terrorists, commanded by Americans Austin Young and Peter John Lambton. Both captured later along with the rest of their troopers, and forced to unarm.

Other well-organized groups as the Pedro Román Trujillo’s, in the region of the Escambray mountains in central Cuba and Olegario Charlot Pileta’s, in former Cuban province of Oriente (eastern Cuba) succeeded these first terrorist groups.

It was in the hard-to-reach Escambray range, where the U.S. government considered was suitable to spread this new modality of aggression against Cuba due to its geographic and socio-economic conditions. Hence, the area was turned into the main operation field of such anti-Cuba terrorists, and to which the CIA concentrated its greatest material and financial funds.

According to the CIA General Inspector’s report based on a disclosed top secret file, seven of the 10 missions carried out by the agency from September 1960 to March 1961, consisted of dropping weaponry and equipment from an airplane over the mountains of former Cuban province of Las Villas (today the provinces of Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus)

A total of 168 terrorist groups, with 2 005 counterrevolutionaries operated at that time in former Cuban province of Las Villas.  Only in the Escambray, 136 gangs were registered that is to say almost half of the total recorded in Cuba by the time.

August 14: A  C-46 aircraft coming from Santo Domingo was captured in Trinidad,  loaded with war logistics for the US-made terrorists that began to get organized in that zone.

October 22: A passEnger train on its regular journey across the province of Las Villas, was repeatedly machine-gunned.

November: The first group of anti-Cuba terrorists linked to the Rosa Blanca counterrevolutionary organization that operated in the Escambray, were captured.

1960

February 23: Several pirate planes fanned an amount of capsules that set on fire sugar industries “Washington” and “Ulacia” in central Cuba and in Manguito, a rural community in Cuban province of Matanzas.

February 15: The “Ten Cent” commercial center in the city of Santa Clara was set ablazed by terrorists supported by the U.S

March 17: During a meeting chaired by Richard Nixon, vice-president of the US and attended by Christian Herter, state secretary, Robert B. Anderson, secretary of the US treasure department, John N. Irwin,  assisting defense secretary, Livingston T. Merchant and other top officials from the White House and the CIA, it was announced the US president’s approval of the so-called “Program of Covert Action against Castro’s Regime”, proposed by the CIA, in which he granted full authorization to create inside Cuba a secret and undercover organization of intelligence and action.

In order to accomplish such a clandestine mission, the U.S government  provided the CIA with the necessary funds. In a newly disclosed memo on the meeting’s agenda, General Goodpaster pointed out : “The President said that he did not know a better plan to manage the situation. The great problem is the filtration and flaw of security. Everybody must be willing to vow that he [Eisenhower] does not know anything about this. […] He said that our hands should be never linked to anything of whatsoever is done.”

May 14: Fernando Ruiz Pentón, soldier of the former Cuban rebel army was murdered by several terrorists near the rural community of Paredes, in Sancti Spíritus.

August 15: Osvaldo Ramírez, who was in 1959, a lieutenant of Batista’s army, and once backed landowner Rómulo Díaz, dislodging peasants from their impoverishing houses near Ciego Ponciano, raised in arms and hid in the Escambray. Supported by the CIA , he got promoted as chief of  the counterrevolutionary force, after some discrepancies with Evelio Duke. At the end of 1960, and early 1961, he, heading a small group of terrorists, sheltered along the area of Méyer after the forces of the Cuban army left unprotected some areas. In 1961, he commanded the terrorists’ headquarters at the Escambray Mountains.

August: CIA Agent Richard Allen Pecoraro was captured in Cuba after he infiltrated in Cuban territory with the undercover mission of overseeing the real situation of all terrorist bands operating in central Cuban province of Las Villas.

September 12: Revolutionary combatant Obdulio Morales died in combat during the recently launched Fight Against Bandits (LCB)

September: The so-called Operation Silence designed by the CIA, began its aerial operations (a total of 12) to supply terrorists in Cuba with weapons, ammo, explosive and other means. Shipments that lasted up to the month of March in 1961. In U.S government’s desclassified documents are records of nearly 151 000 pounds of weapons, ammo and equipment to encourage those terrorists in Cuba.”

September 8: As an immediate response to the growing number of anti-Cuban gangs sponsored by US in the Escambray Range, was the creation by workers, peasants and all Cubans willing to risk their lives for the Revolution of the National Revolutionary Militias (MNR). This step preceded the dawn of the so-called Limpia del Escambray (A military crusade to capture all terrorists that held clout in the Escambray Mountains in central Cuba) which concluded by mid- April in1961, thwarting plans of a U.S invasion to Cuba through the town of Trinidad.

September: Tomás San Gil joined notorious murderers Evelio Duke and Osvaldo Ramírez after he strongly opposed to the revolutionary reform on land property, becoming the third commander-in-chief of “the so-called National Liberation Army Forces”  in the Escambray.

September 29: A four-Engine airplane dropped a load of weapons over the Escambray mountains near the Salto del Hanabanilla.

October 8: The Cuban Army seized some weaponry and warlike implements discharged by an US airplane over the Escambray range, in Cuban province of Las Villas.

November 7: The U.S first air delivery of weapons over Condado, Trinidad, took place.

November 29: Manuel Piti Fajardo, a Commander of the Cuban Army was murdered during an ambush carried out by the terrorist gangs in the Escambray, Las Villas. Piti died fighting the US-sponsored terrorism against Cuba.

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