Crimes in the Escambray are Still Fresh


By Juan A. Borrego Díaz

The anti-Cuban armed bands, encouraged and funded by Washington, cost our country the death of more than 500 of its brave sons and nearly a billion national pesos.

When on July 26, 1965, our Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro announced in Santa Clara, after a five-year period of unceasing fight, the very end of all organized bandits, the United States, immidiately mumbled its defeat as a hurt Poliphemus.


What they had effortlessly tried to present before the eyes of the entire world as a civil war, or an internal wrangling between the revolutionary government and its foes, who refused to accept the “imported” communism, came to be revealed shortly after as another vulgar page of the already long list of dirty wars since the dawn of America.


Where did those weapons for dozens and dozens of bands, made up chiefly by either ousted upper class or military officers and murderers of Fulgencio Batista’s tyranny come from? Who did indiscriminately supply them with weaponry and goods via aircraft for staging a war that cost this small island nation nearly a billion national pesos? Who encouraged these individuals to an armed uprising and to civil disobedience? From where it was broadcasted – and is presently broadcasted – the voice of an anti-Cuban Spanish-language radio station that overpraised those “prowesses” of Osvaldo Ramírez, Tomás San Gil, Maro Borges, Luis Emilio Carretero…?


Everyone is fully awared to point the United States as the principal responsible for that war that left to our nation wounds that are still open: Conrado Benítez, Manuel Ascunce, Pedro Lantigua, the Romero family … and ahead a vast list of more than 500 murders many of them defenseless civilians.


Entire families from this province, which undoubtedly was the most besieged by this unscrupulous anti-Cuba bands, consented to testify their pain, as they did it when called by the Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions (CTC) and the Cuban Association of Combatants (ACRC), two of a eight National organizations that presented a lawsuit, on behalf our people before the Havana Provincial Civil Court against the U.S. government for human damages.


Carlos and María Esther Mencía Gómez, for instance, have sued the empire for their brother Giraldo Manuel’s death, 21, who fell in combat during a frontal shooting against bandits on October 17, 1964, in Rio Cana, very near southern Trinidad village.


Jacinto Lantigua, peasant Pedro Lantigua´s son, on the other hand, has not been able yet to get over the sad memory of that night of November, when he was 9, and his father was massacred before his eyes for the single crime of wanting to learn the first letters. That very day Carretero and his henchmen did not seem amenable either to let young Manuel alive. His crime: to be a Literacy Campaign teacher.


“My father’s murderers were tried – Jacinto assures, a currently watchman for state-run tourist transportation Transgaviota company- but it certanly does not bring him back, his death meant a lot for us, because we lost him when needed him the most, although the Revolution always sheltered us over the years, in its State scholarships until we could support ourselves.”


The trauma in Limones Canteros touched deeply the whole family, even Jacinto’s older brothers, who have never been able to overcome their nervous system disorders since.Therefore, and for many other cruelties, neither the Lantigua family, the good sons from the Escambray nor Cuba entirely are willing to forgive yet.


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