Revolutionary Martyrs of the Other Orientation

Alfredo Fernandez

Humboldt 7

I’ve always heard in Cuban intellectual circles that two of the men who were killed in what is known as the “Humboldt 7 Massacre” were romantically involved at the time of their deaths.  The two, Joe Westbrook and Jose “Machadito” Machado, were murdered on April 20, 1957.

I’ve also heard that they, along with two other comrades who accompanied them, all of whom were members of the militant organization “Directorio Revolucionario,” were killed after being tipped off to the Batista authorities by Marcos “Marquitos” Rodriguez.

It’s said that “Marquitos” had been Joe Westbrook’s former lover, and that out of jealousy he informed Batista’s police of his ex-suitor’s hiding place.  In a Humboldt Street apartment Westbrook along with “Machadito,” in addition to Fructuoso Rodriguez and Juan Pedro Carbo Servia, had been holding up following their failed assassination attempt against dictator Fulgencio Batista in the Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957.

Marcos “Marquitos” Rodriguez was ultimately discovered to have been the informer and was tried in 1964.  As a result of that trial he was sentenced to death under the charge of high treason against the homeland.  It’s said that it wasn’t difficult for “Marquitos” to hide the truth in the face of justice because he was uncovered by the Revolutionary Tribunal #1.

Also according to what’s said, the revolutionary court —much more than “Marquitos” himself— was intensely concerned with concealing the fact that two of the brave young activists who gave their lives for the Revolution were homosexuals.  I’ve also always heard similar rumors concerning the possible romantic relationship between martyred revolutionaries Clodomira Acosta and Lidia Doce.

Humboldt 7

However our national historiography has invariably hidden from us the possible sexual orientations of these valiant revolutionaries.  It’s as if they wanted to convince us with silence that being a homosexual during the Republic was something exclusive to “corrupt politicians,” like President Ramon Grau San Martin was said to have been.

It would be nice, if “what is said” is true, for the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) to for once and for all bring the private lives of these martyrs of the Revolution out into the light.  This could contribute to educational work being done regarding homosexuals by providing more solid and unobstructed information on this case.

And if what’s said is not true it would also be good to clarify the various versions, not because being a homosexual is dishonorable, but to lend truth to the telling of history.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.



4 thoughts on “Revolutionary Martyrs of the Other Orientation

  • This is not myth it is truth…..And athougj i am not a supporter of homosexuals..i see freedom fighters in dresses?
    However, like De Cepedes who owned my family..They sought freedom for all Cubans. those with pantaones y camisas .nuff said

    Reply
  • Mi mas sincera felicitiacion por abordar ese tema, que bien podria ampliarse a muchos hoosexuales que lucharon contra la dictura desde muy diversas formas, y que luego fueron co batientes en Playa Giron, habria que agregar tanto a simples soldados como otros que llegaron a oficiales, sin descontar los artistas e intelectuales que se opusieron a Batista y se sumaron posteriormente al proceso revolucionario. Pertenecemos a un pais muy joven aun, y el proceso de rescribir y abrir los espacios silenciados y ocultos son muchos, ya se ha comenzado, y se seguira ampliando, pero este reto no puede emprenderse como una carrera de velocidad, sino mas bien como una que debe iniciarse con tiempos bien definidios, por fases, y con persisencia y sistematizacion, para que tal vez un pco mas tarde que nunca, se den a conocer esos resultados, y realmene tengamos una vision mas objetiva de nuestra complejisima historia, como son todas las historias de nuestros paises. Lamento mucho haber dado con este diario, que me parece muy equilibrado, mesurado y sobre todo honesto en lo que se expresa. Por supuesto, soy muy juarista, y mi vision del termino afrocubano es completamente diferene al suyo, pero respeto sus razozznes para criticar ese concepto. Fue el mismo que empleo Arredondo en sus escritos, y fundamentalmene en su libro El negro en Cuba, ensayo, publicado en 1939, Guillen tampoco simpatizo con ese termino, y a ese grupo se han sumado algunos profesores e intelectuales. Pero no olvidemos que la parte africana de nuestra historia, es la que sistematicamente se ha silenciado, olvidado, valorandola co mo algo inferior y no siempre cuando se dice cubano, se piensa en los descendientes de los esclavos africanos y criollos, nuestros antecedentes directos. Intelectuales como Gustavo Urrutia lo empleo en su extraordinario ensayo Puntos de vista del nuevo negro, que deberia publicarse, conuuntamente con el discurso de Fernando Ortiz pronunciado el 12 de diciembre de 1942, cuando lo nombraron Socio de Honor del Club Atenas, de donde usted toma la excelente cita del primer antropologo de Cuba. , Brindandole mis disculpas por te tiempo que le pueda robar por la lectura de estas lineas, Tomas,

    Reply
  • Is the writer of this article a homosexual? If this is you, Alfredo Fernandez, or whoever the writer is, is just a shame that out of such relevant and brave story, the writer can only stand out the participant’s sexual orientation as well as those of other who were not even part of the Humboldt 7 actions. Sounds to me Mr. or Mrs. that, you seem to be a frustrated person who’s not even sure and, much less secure of your sexual orientation. I think you should, out of respect, stay away from those type of remarks about the people who dared to carry out such a courageous mission that, by the way you express, you wouldn’t even consider doing it yourself.

    No wonder our island, Cuba that is, has historically struggled to find real leadership that can guide its people with honesty, integrity and equal rights for every citizen.

    Reply
    • What is so shameful about being homosexual and a revolutionary? In a country where homosexuals have being incarcerated in labor camps, expelled out of universities and professional jobs, and ultimately expelled out of the country during the Mariel boat lift it is extremely important to tell to the, so called “heroes de la revolution” still in power, that homosexuales also fought and died for the revolution. That their homophobic actitud is more than a moral flaw but the highest form of betrayal. There are honest homosexual with moral integrity capable of guide in the search for equal rights for every citizen.

      Reply

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