The readers’ forum

My father died at the Bay of Pigs Invasion

Ceci Sanchez, as a toddler, with her father, Jose Ignacio Maciá, and mother, Cecile, in Cuba.
Ceci Sanchez, as a toddler, with her father, Jose Ignacio Maciá, and mother, Cecile, in Cuba.
Courtesy of Ceci Sanchez

This Easter Sunday is especially sad for me. My father died this weekend 53 years ago at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

My dad, Jose Ignacio Maciá, a father of four, was a handsome charmer, a lady’s man, a great sport fisherman as member of the Cuba Tuna Team, a medal-winning athlete, high-stakes card player, sugarcane rancher, nonpolitical 38-year-old man who on a January day in 1961 called me up at my Philadelphia boarding school to tell me that he had just left Cuba and would be joining the training camps to liberate our country.

As a 14-year-old, I just listened and promised to write every day to a P.O. box address he gave me. It is in those treasured letters that I find and finally accept the reason for him joining the brigade. It was his sense of duty and a feeling of guilt for having led a very “easy” life that made him join this effort to liberate Cuba.

After three short days of battle, between April 17-19, 1961, out of ammunition and realizing that promised support would not appear, their last communication from headquarters, which was my father’s assignment, was, “We will never abandon our country,” refusing to be evacuated.

They went into the swamps and were eventually apprehended. Together with 140-plus prisoners, my dad was stuffed into an unventilated metal truck previously used to carry refrigerated meat for the journey to Havana. By the time the truck, called a rastra in Cuba, arrived — nine men were dead inside. They had suffocated on this trip that took more than seven hours under the midday sun. My dad was one of them. The man who ordered this atrocity, Osmany Cienfuegos, is still alive in Cuba.

This crime will not be forgotten, and my dad is always present before my eyes. During all these years, I have tried to solicit information on my father’s last days from brigade members, but now realize that I should let the yearning rest.

Ceci Sanchez, Key Biscayne

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Ray Allen home was violated

    Young people who are 18 and 19 are not “teens.” They are, at best, young adults, eligible to vote and serve in the military. Teens younger than this have been charged and convicted as adults for murder and other crimes.

  • Riots and rubble

    We need to keep a clear perspective about the world. A black youth is killed by a white cop in Ferguson, Mo. I took note because I grew up in Webster Groves, a hop, skip and jump from Ferguson. Michael Brown allegedly was shot six times in broad daylight with his hands up. This seems excessive. There’s much confusion swirling, and we’ll have to wait until it is sorted out.

  • No fear

    Re Archbishop Thomas Wenski’s Aug. 17 letter, Same-sex marriages would open Pandora’s Box: I do not see a Pandora’s Box. I see sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, cousins, the dearest of friends. I want to give them my love and support for all good things; not limits on aspirations, ambitions and fulfillment, that are rooted in fear. I do not fear a Pandora’s Box. I am Roman Catholic and I was told, “Be not afraid.”

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category