By Pedro Pablo Morejón
HAVANA TIMES – July 26th is often one of the darkest days in the year, at least for me. I can still hear those kilometer-long speeches that didn’t respect the most basic rules of public speaking or the human excretory system. We’re talking about 8-hour long speeches.
You’d hear them on the two channels that existed on every TV in the neighborhood. Those were my childhood years, when the dictator enjoyed the fanatical delirium of an idolatrous and submissive people who received his words as if he were some kind of prophet. Luckily, my grandparents didn’t follow such garbage.
On this day, every year of this long nightmare, a speech and all kinds of logistics are worked out to celebrate it in a certain province chosen for its “achievements”.
These acts are a spectacle of propaganda and empty words, where lies, historic inaccuracies, threats, digressions, inconsistencies, stupidity, promises, acceptance of crimes are revealed on a totalitarian platform… but most of all, they describe a country that doesn’t exist or can only exist in fiction or as a utopia, which Tommaso Campanella couldn’t even image in his work “The City of the Sun.”
A reminder of an ominous day in Cuban history, when a group of idealistic young people and others who weren’t as idealistic, decided to storm the country’s second most important military fortress, as well as the Bayamo barracks.
They had the element of surprise going early in the morning and during Carnival in Santiago de Cuba. Unfortunately, the only thing they achieved was dozens of deaths, including many civilians.
The author of this madness (who blamed Jose Marti himself) thought that if they took the barracks, an insurrectionary uprising would begin in all of Oriente. He didn’t fire a single shot and wasn’t even in the combat area “by chance.” The car he was traveling in got lost in the city and he fled towards the mountains, and he was caught on the foothills.
The attack was a failure and thanks to a Batista official and then Archbishop Perez Serantes who ensured his life, he was able to give his speech during the trial. He was sentenced to 13 years on the Isle of Pines, which he didn’t even serve two of, along with the other survivors from the group, thanks to an amnesty granted by the Republic’s benevolent congress at the time.
It’s worth pointing out that those years were like living in a hotel. He had family visits quite regularly, he cooked his own food brought by his family and he had time to have fun and enjoy himself. At least this is what he confesses in his pamphlet “The Fertile Prison”.
It’s worth acknowledging that not a single hair was touched on Haydee Santamaria and Melba Hernandez, women who took part in the attack. Plus, there isn’t a single piece of evidence to prove that story that Abel Santamaria’s eyes were pulled out.
Obviously, Batista and his henchmen weren’t squeaky clean, and they killed many prisoners, but weren’t the soldiers at the Moncada Barracks also human beings and some of them parents? Weren’t the civilians who died during the invasion of Saturnino Lora Hospital next to Moncada also human beings?
Tell the truth as it is. There are lots of dark details about this event that won’t fit into an article. But this is where real History lies, and even the counter-History. The official version of events is just a lie. You just need to do a little research and use your common sense.
This July 26th, I did like I always do: I locked myself up at home, I ignored the TV and avoided listening to the executioners’ voice. I didn’t want to throw up in my disgust.