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here we are nothing but men
life turns around
by gonzalo fernández
5.24.10
general

In Cuba, late in 1960, city anti-Batista fighters, veterans of the guerrilla war and peasants started the Escambray uprising that grew to have over 1,000 fighters. Many well known public figures and other lesser individuals went underground conspiring against Castro. My friend Orlando Castro was caught after his group was infiltrated. The charges brought against him were ominous. I remember that people charged with similar anti-government actions were always put to death by firing squads. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. I met him once in Miami, after he served his sentence, shortly after he left Cuba. He told me a story he heard when he was in prison at the Cabaña.
The Cabaña is a fortress built by the Spaniards contiguous to the Morro Castle, on the east side of Havana harbor, during the colonial years. It was used to keep jailed conspirators confined to its dungeons. Many of them were kept there waiting for their turns to be put to death by firing squads. The dungeon where prisoners were confined had scarce day light coming from narrow wall slots. It was always dark.
There were a few cots; most of the prisoners sat or laid down on the bare stone floor. One of the prisoners was Felipe (Chino) Mirabal, a Colonel in the Batista army corps. He had been sentenced to death almost two years ago but the sentence had not been put into effect. He had probably the highest seniority at the dungeon and correspondingly he had one of the few cots.
One day guards opened the dungeon door and threw a man inside. He had wounds barely dressed. As soon as the door was locked, Mirabal stood up and talked in his firm, commanding voice. “Doctor Sorí, let me help you, I’ll put you on my cot.” The man slowly adjusted his vision coming from day light outside. He said, “Mirabal, I can’t…” Mirabal replied, “Doctor Sorí, here we are nothing but men.”
The wounded man was Dr. Humberto Sorí Marín. Sorí had presided the court that sentenced Mirabal to death.
Sorí had been a major during the guerrilla war in his role as an attorney. (In Cuba, lawyers and other non-medical professionals are addressed as doctor.) He had grown disillusioned when he came to realize that Castro was steering the revolution towards communism. He organized an underground group that was attacked when they were at a beach house east of Havana. He was badly wounded. A few days later, Sorí was carried out of the Cabaña dungeon and put to death by a firing squad.
Excerpts from my book “Cuba’s Primer – Castro’s Earring Economy”. Book’s website: www.cubasprimer.com


ABOUT GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ

Gonzalo is a business consultant. He is one of the coauthors of The Handbook of Financing Growth, Wiley, Second Edition, 2009, Marks, Robbins, Fernández, Funkhouser and Williams. In Cuba's Primer, Lulu, 2009, he writes with the conviction and knowledge of a personal witness.

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