After the war for independence from the Spanish colonial regime that left Cuba completely destroyed and in misery, the nation rose like a phoenix to become the most prosperous, educated and socially advanced Spanish-speaking country in the Americas.
Unfortunately, in 1959 it plunged into the abyss of Bolshevik Communism, a discredited ideology that led to the crumbling of the previously powerful Soviet Union and the satellite countries of Eastern Europe. Cuba is now down to the most abject social and political slavery.
Of the old Cuban Republic, we can proclaim its glories and its triumphs, but to be honest, we must also mention its shortcomings and defects:
Two dictatorships, one that emerged from a democratic election in 1924 that degenerated later in a bloody dictatorship, when President Gerardo Machado, a prestigious general of our war for independence, failed to react to University of Havana students’ rejection of his authoritarian government. At the beginning of his administration, Machado arrived with the enthusiastic approval of the people, but in 1930, a horrible economic depression spread throughout Europe and the United States, and Cuba naturally sank in that crisis.
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Another dictatorship began when in March 10th 1952, General Fulgencio Batista interrupted with an unjustified military coup the constitutional rhythm that led Cuba to its most prosperous and happy period.
Cuba advanced to high levels of respect for human rights. The government of that period, the Cuban press — one of the most developed and free in the continent — openly expressed its opinion, adverse or favorable to the government, without anybody stifling its voice.
This absurd, unjustifiable dictatorship was the cause of Cubans’ rebellion. They fought to get rid of it, but brought us something worse, when on Jan. 1, 1959, bearded rebels disguised as liberators came down from the Sierra Maestra to implement a tyranny a thousand times worse than the dictatorship that it toppled.
Torrents of blood were shed in horrendous extra-judicial executions. To this bloody orgy, we have to add what came later: tens of thousands of executions, hundreds of thousand of political prisoners and the exile of close to one-fourth of the island’s population.
Daniel F. Calderin, member,
of Cuba in Exile,