Tag Archives: Rafael De Cardenas

Inmigrante Cubano Advierte Que Obama Es Otro Castro, En Un Potente (NUEVO VIDEO)

El siguiente video es de mi amigo Rafael De Cárdenas. Rafael (Ralph) H. De Cardenas II viene de una larga línea de prominentes familias en Cuba. Su abuelo paterno fue un General de la guerra de independencia contra España y justicia de la Corte Suprema. Dr. Humberto De Cárdenas, su abuelo paterno sirvió como Procurador General de la Habana. Ralph llegó a Estados Unidos a través de la “Operación Pedro Pan,” donde miles de padres cubanos guardan sus hijos del comunismo.

He publicado su historia de tres partes en marzo de este año. Haga clic en los títulos para leer su historia:

1. “Cuba, antes y después de…” por Rafael De Cárdenas, tiene miedos paralelos a los Estados Unidos de Obama
2. “Cuba, antes y después de…” La segunda parte de tres por Rafael De Cárdenas
3. “Cuba, antes y después de…” Tercera parte de tres, llamados estadounidenses a la acción

(Extracto del Video) Amigo de la infancia de Rafael que es un sacerdote en vino de Cuba a los Estados Unidos en médica dejo recientemente y le dijo lo siguiente:

“… He estado en Miami en menos de una semana y estoy bastante preocupado por las políticas de este Obama. Me recuerda mucho de Fidel Castro en Cuba cuando éramos jóvenes. “

Por favor ver testimonio poderoso del Sr. De Cardenas abajo y compartir con todos.

Oh Espíritu Santo, nos fortalecen para defender todo lo que es Santo.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.

Cuban Immigrant Warns Obama is Next Castro in Powerful (New VIDEO)

The following video is of my friend Rafael De Cardenas.  Rafael (Ralph) H. De Cardenas II comes from a long line of prominent families in Cuba. His paternal great-grandfather was a Major General of the War of Independence against Spain and Justice of the Supreme Court.  Dr. Humberto De Cardenas, his paternal grandfather served as Attorney General of Havana.  Ralph came to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan” where thousands of Cuban parents saved their children from communism.

I posted his three-part story back in March of this year.  Click on the titles below to read his story:

  1. “Cuba, Before and After…” by Rafael De Cardenas, has scary parallels to Obama’s America
  2. “Cuba, Before and After…” Part two of three by Rafael De Cardenas 
  3. “Cuba, Before and After…” Part three of three, calls Americans to action

(Excerpt from the Video) Rafael’s childhood friend who is a priest in Cuba came to the United States on medical leave recently and told him the following:

“… I’ve been in Miami less than a week and I’m quite concerned about the policies of this Obama.  He reminds me so much of Fidel Castro in Cuba when we were younger.”

Please watch Mr. De Cardenas’s powerful testimony below and share with everyone.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.

“Cuba, Before and After…” Part three of three, calls Americans to action

This post is the last of the three part story titled “Cuba, Before and After…”  Please share this story so that it will not be re-written in a different place at a future time.  If we do nothing electorally to stop the totalitarian actions of Obama’s America, one of our children could, like Mr. De Cardenas, be writing a similar story from a freer country in the year 2062.

Thank you Ralph for allowing us to share your story.  Your story has motivated me even more to protect our Church and America.  God bless you and get well.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

“Cuba, Before and After…” Part Three of Three

By Rafael De Cardenas

Rafael (Ralph) H. De Cardenas II comes from a long line of prominent families in Cuba. His paternal great-grandfather was a Major General of the War of Independence against Spain and Justice of the Supreme Court.  Dr. Humberto De Cardenas, his paternal grandfather served as Attorney General of Havana.  Ralph came to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan” where thousands of Cuban parents saved their children from communism.

Upon my arrival to the United States on December 4, 1961 from Cuba, I  was immediately taken to the Customs Department in Miami International Airport. My arrival was anticipated and a government official was  waiting to talk to me on the telephone. A few days before leaving  Cuba, I was approached by a family friend while paying a visit to my  Aunt Bertha’s home. This friend was an American citizen who had been a  former Ziegfeld Follies Girl then residing in Cuba. I cannot comment  on her affiliation with our government or any of its agencies because  the matter was not discussed. She was aware of my work with the  underground and my willingness to do anything to undermine the  communist regime currently permeating Cuba. Because of this, she gave  me certain information to memorize together with a telephone number to  call upon arriving in Miami. I was to ask for “Uncle George.”  This was  the telephone call that was waiting for me. The man on the phone  wanted to know where I would be going from the airport and we agreed  to meet later that afternoon.

Prior to my sister and I leaving Cuba, arrangements had been made for  us to live with my aunt on my mother’s side. It was supposed to be a  temporary situation until my parents would be able to get out of Cuba.  My aunt and her children were living alone in Miami since her husband  had been imprisoned for his participation in the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  My aunts husband was finally released a year or so later when the  United States agreed to an exchange of prisoners for tractors, or any  kind of agriculture equipment and especially medicines. As we were  driving to my aunt’s house she asked if there was anything that I would like to do along the way. My immediate reply was “Yes” and we  made one stop for a good old-fashioned hamburger with everything on  it, with french fries and a vanilla malt!

Within an hour of arriving at my new-found home “Uncle George” was  knocking on the door. He identified himself as a FBI agent and  presented his credentials. He asked that I ride with him in his car.  While we were driving I relayed information to him about ammunition  depots and missile sites located in Cuba. I gave him names of Cuban  citizens who would be accepted by the rest of the populace to run the  country if the current regime were overthrown and communism  eradicated. After we drove for a length of time (about 45 minutes) and  I had told him everything that he wanted to know, I returned to my  aunts house to begin a new life in the United States. I never heard  anymore from “Uncle George.”

For the next three days, my sister and I had to go to the offices of  The Cuban Refugee Center. We were given medical tests and began  processing all the paper work required by the United States  Immigration Department for us to remain in the country on a refugee  status. I really got off lucky because some of the men on our flight were taken to Opa-locka Air Base for what was called debriefing.  They were interrogated and their responses written down and analyzed  so a determination might be made as to whether or not the individual  was a spy. I think that in my case “Uncle George” had something to do  with my being processed with very little effort on my part.

Regardless of my previous educational background, my sister and I had  to enroll in school. Prior to the upheaval in Cuba, I had earned a  Bachelor of Science and Arts Degree from the Instituto De Camaguey and  was attending the University of Havana Law School. I was required in  High School to take four years of math, two years of logic,  psychology, world history, philosophy, chemistry, French, physics and  four years of English. I even had an English tutor at a very early age  at my fathers insistence. My father was educated in the United States.  He graduated from High School in Ashville, N.C. and then went on to  attend Louisiana State University. As a consequence he placed heavy  emphasis on my learning and speaking the English language. Regardless  of my prior studies I had to enroll in school in the United’ States and take English along with a,, course; in American Government.

There was a sharp contrast between my former trips to the United States and what was taking place now. My  previous visits were full of good times and fun-filled, carefree days.  Aside from trips to Miami with my grandfather, I, along with two  cousins, attended The Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne,  Pennsylvania. We also spent a summer at Camp Susquehanna in New  Milford, Pa. One of the counselors was paid by my father and uncle to  personally chaperon us around New York while seeing the sights. I now  had to return to High School to validate my High School Diploma!  The rest of my time was  spent cleaning peoples kitchens, attics, bathes and entire houses for pay. As you can see, my life was changed dramatically and irrevocably in a very short amount of time.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was once again reunited with my  parents on April 4, 1962 at Miami International Airport. I cannot  begin to convey the feelings that welled up inside of me when I was  finally able to embrace them once more.

Upon my fathers arrival in this country, he immediately found a job working  as a truck driver for an oil company located in the Everglades. We were both determined not to take any handouts and to work at whatever  we had to do to support our family.

The following year we were presented with an opportunity to come to Oklahoma. My father had been ready for a long time for us to leave  Miami. He relayed to me recently that I and my friends were  constantly devising ways to get back into Cuba and once again resume  the fight against Fidel Castro. He feared that the likelihood of my  accomplishing that would be greater if we remained in Florida.  A close  friend of our family, Dr. Socarraz was living in Oklahoma City. He  talked to Oklahoma City Mayor James H. Norick ( and his wife Madalyn about us and they wanted to set up a meeting. They flew to Miami and  met our family. A week went by and we had a telephone call letting us  know that they had arranged for B. G. Wilkes and his wife Jean to  sponsor us. We arrived in Oklahoma City on a weekend in January of 1963. We were met at the airport by Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Norick. I will never forget the dreary rainy afternoon when our plane landed. While  driving to the city I noticed that there was even ice on the curb and  after driving a few more blocks the sun was shining. This was my  introduction to the expression “if you don’t like the weather in  Oklahoma just wait for a few minutes and it will change.” An apartment  was waiting for us to move into, the furnishings had been gathered  from among Mr. Wilkes friends, and the cabinet was full of groceries.  The following Monday my father and I started to work for the B. G.  Wilkes Company. My father worked full-time and I could only work part time since I had to attend school.

On November 21, 1969 I was presented with my Certification of  Naturalization. The Honorable James H. Norick presented me with a  certificate making me the Honorary Mayor of Oklahoma City and Governor  Dewey Bartlett made me an Honorary Okie. (A few years later while  making a speech I was presented with an Okie From Muskogee  certificate).  Mr. Norick made the remark to me that he envied me  because I had to choose to become a citizen of this country and that I  should be a better citizen because it was my choosing.

In my mind there could not have been any other choice. I was proud to  receive these documents but I took a special pride in receiving my  Certificate of Naturalization since it served to validate what I  already felt in my heart. America was truly my country and my home and  I was indeed one of her citizens. Despite the hardship of starting my  life over with nothing to my name, i was grateful to be living in a  country free of tyranny and oppression. I no longer had to fear that a  troop of militia would come into my home and steal me or my family  away in the middle of the night to confinement or a firing squad.  I could walk about free and without fear of being shot or arrested.  I could talk openly without watching what I had to say and I did not  have to meet my friends in secret or watch them be killed. After  everything was taken from my family and myself and everything that I  had owned in this world was lost to me forever, the things that are really important to life  were once again mine. I have my freedom, my happiness and the chance  to maintain them based upon my own resources.

As for the future of Cuba, I can only speculate. I, along with many  others, believe that communism will be forced out but not before an insurrection and a lot of blood will be spilled.  Fidel is egomaniacal, and Regardless of the suffering the people will have to  endure, he is capable of doing anything and everything to preserve his  way of life and his regime. He is another Saddam Hussein. Brother Raul  is the “henchman of the revolution his nickname is “THE BUTCHER.”

This dictator is just 90 miles from our shores with his Army and  missiles still intact.

I have hope of someday returning to Cuba to visit my friends I would  like to see the place of my birth, regain the happy memories of my  childhood.  Most of all I would like to be able to place flowers in my grandparents mausoleum and once again gaze upon the most beautiful  beach in the world, Varadero Beach. If I should ever get to do this I will be looking at a free Cuba through the eyes of a free citizen of  the United States of America. That honor and privilege I will never surrender.

As an American, and an Oklahoman, I truly love our country. I would  gladly fight to defend her honor, her beliefs and most of all her  freedoms. It hurts me every bit as much as it did in Cuba to see our  citizens held prisoner, put through unspeakable horrors and in some instances even killed. It hurts to see our planes shot down, our  standards ridiculed and our flags torn down and burned. It hurts even  more when our flag is desecrated in our own country. Our eyes have  been opened to the fact that in one blink, an individual’s life of  tranquility can be changed to one of horror.

Because we had American Soldiers willing to die to defend all that  America stands for and to fight against tyranny and an oppressive  regime, I feel that we are on the brink of a major change in this  country. Any pacifism on our part has been eradicated. We have become  intent on making ourselves aware of atrocities in other countries and perhaps recounting what happened in Cuba and how  its ultimate demise could have been altered. Tyranny on any level  should not be tolerated.

As Americans we should be willing to stop tyrants in their tracks.  Looking the other way does not work, it will only provide the needed  time for things to worsen. “Speak softly but carry a big stick”  Theodore Roosevelt. We can be benevolent to a country in need of help  but we must not reward a country that brutalizes its citizens or those  of another country. We must be aware of what is happening around the  world and analyze it against what has happened in the past. The future  of our great nation is in our hands and the hands of generations to  come. As Americans we have an obligation and a mandate to preserve  this great nation, its heritage, its way of life, its future and its  youth. If we ignore any of these our country will suffer Anything  worth possessing must be preserved and worked at. It can never just  take care of itself and without watchful maintenance it will erode and  fade away. Any organization is only as great as the people that embody  it. Nothing stands static.

My life, my patriotism and my personal convictions have been enhanced  since becoming an American…


“Cuba, Before and After…” Part two of three by Rafael De Cardenas

“Cuba, Before and After…” Part Two of Three

By Rafael De Cardenas

Rafael (Ralph) H. De Cardenas II comes from a long line of prominent families in Cuba. His paternal great-grandfather was a Major General of the War of Independence against Spain and Justice of the Supreme Court.  Dr. Humberto De Cardenas, his paternal grandfather served as Attorney General of Havana.  Ralph came to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan” where thousands of Cuban parents saved their children from communism.

Fidel Castro took over Cuba. He visited the United States and received a hero’s welcome that included a ticker tape parade in New York and numerous television appearances including national talk shows. The Jack Parr show being one of them.

Upon his return to Cuba, Fidel Castro’s new plan for government was implemented. After the takeover of private industry and the nationalization of all foreign property, he proceeded to commit his first wave of crimes. All the casinos, hotels and other sites were looted.

American citizens residing in Cuba were persecuted. Some were taken to the firing squads, some were sent to prison, and others had to abandon everything and leave the country. Castro then started persecuting anyone that would not agree with his new policies and also persons who did nothing to oppose him.

An example of this was what happened to my father’s brother, Orlando. Bowling  Green University is one of the top schools in the country to learn accounting. Orlando graduated with degrees in accounting and business. He was also fluent in speech and had mastered five languages. He assumed a position with The Standard Fruit Company located in Havana, after ten years with the company he attained the status of First Vice-President of Cuban Operations. All of this, according to Castro’s law made him an agent of American imperialism and for that he was condemned to prison for thirty years.

An economic embargo was imposed against Cuba. Relations between the United States and Cuba were broken leaving the business affairs of the U.S. to be handled by the Swiss embassy located in Havana.

At the same time, a group of loyal Castro Supporters, who had fought with him from the beginning in the Sierra Maestra mountains, began to question his ideas. Camilo Cienfuegos, who was Castro’s right-hand man, had flown to the province of Camaguey in a private plane. He went to warn Huber Matos, a friend and also one of the original rebels, whom Castro intended to imprison for disagreeing with some of his decisions. On the trip home, it seems that the plane mysteriously disappeared. A relative of mine, Roberto De Cardenas, who was made Chief of The Air Force by Castro, relates in his book “YO ACUSO A FIDEL” (I ACCUSE FIDEL) that an investigation was conducted by himself, and others on his staff. Roberto states that he found the plane intact and hidden in bushes on a ranch about 30 miles outside of Camaguey City. He also states that upon further investigation he learned that Camilo Cienfuegos was taken to the Presidential Palace in Havana where a confrontation ensued between Camilo and Fidel.  Camilo was shot to death by Fidel’s brother Raul who is the “henchman of the revolution” and has dozens of deaths to his name. Huber Matos was then sent to prison for treason to the communist revolution. There are countless stories about Castro’s rebels seeking asylum in neutral embassies to escape Fidel’s persecution. Even Castro’s own sister fled Cuba and to this day resides in Miami, Florida where she owns and operates a drugstore.

Anyone who has ever read The Communist Manifesto would presume the philosophy therein to promote a Utopia. I can tell you first hand that the way it is applied is alarmingly different than the written word.

My family, my friends and I were outraged by the cruelty and the atrocities we were witnessing. We immediately joined The Counter Revolution, an underground organization to work against and defeat Fidel Castro. You must remember that Castro had made us register our guns and by that time he had confiscated them all. Many people fought bravely and valiantly against insurmountable odds with only their wits and crude makeshift weaponry to wield against Castro’s well armed militia. Unfortunately, many brave citizens of Cuba lost their lives.

Whenever Monsignor Boza Masvidal spoke out against communism and Fidel Castro’s regime a number of underground members were usually in attendance. On one occasion shortly after the Monsignor began to speak, the militia showed up to heckle the speaker and disband the group.  A heated confrontation ensued.   My father received word that there was going to be trouble, and before I could be critically wounded or killed, he along with several of my friends parents showed up and forced us to leave. The others who stayed on were either killed or thrown into prison and to my knowledge may still be there.

I have often related to some young friends in my speeches  they should be very grateful for their freedoms and youth. At the age of sixteen I had to become a man and bypass all the carefree fun that a teenager would normally enjoy. Instead of participating in teenage social activities and going to dances at the country clubs, I was participating in gun battles and going on sabotage missions. I was witnessing lifelong friends being mutilated and gunned down before my very eyes by Fidel Castro’s assassins. All in the name of socialism.

Two weeks went by and a family friend who was also a member of the militia came to our home to inform me that he had orders to arrest me the next day. Being young and full of determination, I was going to disregard his warnings. After all it was my country and a just and noble cause that I was fighting for. I proceeded to the meeting place of my underground group and upon my arrival I was informed that they also had learned of my impending arrest and that it would be in everyone’s best interest if I went into hiding.  Later that afternoon I returned home to find that my father had been told of my imminent arrest and that my suitcase as well as those of the rest of the family were packed and waiting by the door.  We let it be known to the neighbors that we were leaving on a trip to Havana to visit relatives and that we would be returning in a matter of time.  Actually we proceeded to Varadero Beach, a quiet little resort community about a hundred miles east of Havana and the last place anyone would be looking for us, we hoped.  I heard later that the militia had gone to see our relatives in Havana looking for us and that they had indeed showed up at our house the next day.

My father had decided long before the exodus of people from Cuba first began, that we would stay and fight from within. While living at Varadero Beach we were careful to maintain a low profile and we were able to stay for close to a year. During that time, the house we were living in became a safe haven for members of my underground group as well as people seeking an escape route from Cuba. My family helped dozens of people by taking them in and my father was helping the fight by assisting people to find political asylum in neutral embassies and still others to find a means to escape in boats in the middle of the night by sea. I have had several individuals tell me after coming to America that they owe their life or the life of a relative and all their new-found freedom to “you and your family”.

On April 14, 1961 at about 5:00 a.m. the militia knocked on our door. They searched our house and my father and I were transported to a baseball stadium which had been turned into a makeshift concentration camp. There were 50-50 machine guns at every gate and the living conditions were intolerable. We were imprisoned with 5,000 other men and we got to sleep on the bleachers if we were lucky. We had only one set of restrooms that were allowed for use by the entire camp. Our only food was what was brought by a family member once a week in a small basket. Well over half a million people were imprisoned in makeshift concentration camps during this time.

Fidel Castro and his men began to mobilize. Two days after our confinement on April 17,1961 a group of Cubans backed by the C.I.A. and with President Kennedy’s approval, landed in Cuba. This was the beginning of what has come to be known as The Bay of Pigs. These patriots were poorly armed and trained but their mission was only to establish a beachhead and a provisional government. Then they would be in a position to ask The Organization of American States to aid in the overthrow of the communist dictatorship. Castro had prior knowledge of the invasion and his soldiers were ready and waiting.  The underground and the resistance were paralyzed. The patriots fought valiantly for two days unaided because the air support that was promised never came. I had a very dear Uncle and thirty five friends who fought in that invasion and they later told me about the ongoing radio communications telling them help was on the way. Finally two American Air Force jets did fly over and Castro’s air force immediately retreated. They soon realized that the American jets were only taking reconnaissance pictures of the battle. They returned to pelt the patriots with continuing air strikes.

In later years, I was introduced by General Clyde Watts to the Air Force General who was in charge of The Bay of Pigs Operation for the C.I.A.  He rendered years later I was introduced  to a gentleman here in Oklahoma City who was retired General from the US Air Force ( (I wish I could recall his name) he extended an apology to me.  He said he had been in charge of the air operation during the Bay of Pigs that if he had known what was happening at the time and could foresee the end result, he would have seriously entertained the possibility of being court martialed for countermanding the order that came directly from Washington, D.C.  The order being NOT to send the planes. He proceeded to tell me that shortly thereafter he gave up his command and took early retirement.

After two weeks of confinement and with the fighting over, we were released, from prison. The known leaders of the underground were kept in prison or shot by firing squad. How Fidel Castro knew about the invasion and who the leaders of the underground were is still a mystery to me and also I am sure to many Cubans. Especially the ones who are still imprisoned. All the invaders were taken to The Palace of Sports in Havana and on national television Fidel Castro proceeded to ridicule and make a mockery of them. My father and I both openly wept as we viewed my friends and classmates defeated and being humiliated.

The Bay of Pigs operation was over as well as our hopes for a counter-revolution and the end result being to bring down the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. Up until that time we had entertained the idea that with the work of the underground and our friends in the Western Hemisphere, the U.S.S.R. would never have been allowed to establish a base on our homeland just 90 miles from Key West, Florida.

Our family decided that it was time to leave.  We felt that we would be lucky to get out of Cuba with our lives and that we should try to implement plans to escape to the United States. During the time from April 1961 to when Castro completely closed off any and all travel to the U.S., more Cubans left the country than at any other time. Over one million citizens left Cuba. These were attorneys, doctors, engineers, educators, executives and professionals who feared persecution, imprisonment or death because they were too intelligent to follow communist rule. In order to leave Cuba we had to procure a visa via a friend or relative residing in the United States. They in turn had to purchase a round trip ticket on Pan American airlines which was still permitted to land in Cuba. After you secured the documents and your passport, you had to present them to The Cuban Customs Department and wait to be informed if and when you would be allowed to leave. Meanwhile, the militia would come to your house and take the rotors or some other vital part of their automobiles, the philosophy being “if they keep them let them have fun fixing them.”  There was no way that they could import American car parts.

The visas were for my younger sister and myself.  And you can imagine we did not want to leave our parents.  However, our parents wanted us safe and out of the country so the matter was non-negotiable.  On December 4, 1961 we had to be at the Havana airport at 4:00 a.m. for a flight at 12:00 noon.  My sister and I were escorted to a glass enclosed room which we called “the fish bowl.”  Once we entered that room we could only see or wave to our parents through the wall of glass.

We were taken to the airport militia’s office to be thoroughly searched.  We were returned to the glass room with our only suitcase which contained three changes of clothes.  This, together with what we were wearing was all we were allowed to take out of Cuba.  Any and all childhood left our sight for all the hours prior to our being taken aboard the plane.

Every human emotion imaginable was being felt aboard that flight.  People began to sing, a few danced in the aisles, many others began to cry and some were laughing hysterically.  When we arrived at Miami International Airport the people departing the plane would kneel at the end of the ramp and kiss the ground.  My own joy of arriving in a land free of communism was overshadowed by the reality that not only had I left the land of my birth behind, but I had also left my beloved parents.

End of Part Two

“Cuba, Before and After…” by Rafael De Cardenas, has scary parallels to Obama’s America

My friend Rafael “Ralph” De Cardenas first published his personal story “Cuba, Before and After…” in 1991 after encouragement to do so.  Reading this three-part story of Ralph’s experiences in Cuba, will help you see the parallel totalitarianism and parallel threats between Fidel Castro’s Cuba and Barack Obama’s America. Examples of totalitarianism and threats are in the areas of classism (haves and have-nots,) Agrarian Reform (redistribution of wealth/land,) weapons confiscation, The Money Law (nationalizing of banks and confiscation of money,) Urban Renewal Law (redistribution of wealth/houses) and violations of religious freedom (control of the Church by removing and selecting clergy.)

When Cuba was free, over 99% of its people were practicing Catholics.  Now, after the implementation of communism (which is atheistic and totalitarian) by Fidel Castro it is estimated that only 2.5% of Cubans are practicing Catholics.

Please pray for the improvement of Mr. De Cardenas’s health, the continued freedom of the United States and the future freedom of Cuba.

“Cuba, Before and After…”  Part One of Three

By Rafael De CardenasRafael "Ralph" De Cardenas

Rafael (Ralph) H. De Cardenas II comes from a long line of prominent families in Cuba. His paternal great-grandfather was a Major General of the War of Independence against Spain and Justice of the Supreme Court.  Dr. Humberto De Cardenas, his paternal grandfather served as Attorney General of Havana.  Ralph came to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan” where thousands of Cuban parents saved their children from communism.

 Since my arrival in Oklahoma in 1963, I have made over two hundred speeches at schools, churches, civic functions and other meetings. I have never, until now, been asked to tell my story in print. Please bear with me, as I am a novice writer.

I was born in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The island of Cuba has miles of tropical beach, an ideal climate and breath-taking scenery.

As a matter of history, Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus 27 October 1492 on his maiden voyage. The island was first colonized by the Spaniards, then the English, later by the French and once again by the Spanish. The Spanish-American War was fought on its soil. The United States intervened causing Cuba to become a republic on May 20. 1902.

Cuba is in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico only 90 miles south of Key West, Florida.  It was a rich and prosperous country. The island was the birth place of Bacardi Rum and its many tobacco plantations supplied the ingredients of the famous Cuban cigar. Because of the amount of sugar cane grown, Cuba was known as the Sugar Bowl of the World. She ranked third in Latin American beef production behind Argentina and Venezuela. Other large industries were textiles and mining.  Cuba was rich in Copper and one of the few producers of Chromate in the world.

Tourism was an important part of the economy because it was close to the United States. Rich and poor alike could enjoy the island paradise.

In 1958, U. S. statistics showed the per capita income to be $325.00 per month. The Cuban peso was worth $1.20 (American). Not bad for a country of less than six million people.

Shortly after the Spanish-American War and following the term of Cuba’s first president, subsequent presidents filled their pockets at the expense the Cuban people. By the 1950’s, Fulgencio Batista was in power. This dictator, ascended from the rank of Sergeant to General overnight. He accomplished this by revolting against the officers and killing them. One of the officers was my great-uncle, Evelio Pina. He was murdered after he surrendered. This was my father’s favorite uncle, so you can see Batista’s name was not popular in my house.

As you might surmise, despite the great economic success that Cuba was enjoying, the nation’s people were not happy with the government. They sought change. In 1956, a lawyer named Fidel Castro arrived in Cuba. With a handful of henchmen, he made his headquarters in The Sierra Maestra Mountains. The group began radio transmissions opposing Batista. I must confess that I along with almost all of the Cuban population, helped in the destruction of my own country. The rich and middle classes helped Castro the most. The man had most everyone fooled as to his intentions. His message of change resounded to all of us who were tired of corrupt governments.

Castro was arrested in Bogotá, Colombia in 1948 during a communist revolt for allegedly being one of the ring leaders. U.S. State Department files of 1964 disclose the facts. Earl E. T. Smith, the last U. S. Ambassador to Cuba, relates in book THE FOURTH FLOOR, that he took documents to the U.S. Congress in 1958 proving Castro was a communist. The documentation was the result of a lengthy investigation conducted by his embassy staff. The information was brushed aside and discounted because it was thought to bear no threat.

January 1, 1959 was the day my family and I awoke to sounds of horns blasting and the people’s shouts of joy. Cuba was finally free. Castro was coming down from the mountains to take over and reinstate democracy. He was going to again restore decency to the Cuban government. It seemed to be the beginning of a very happy new year for the majority of Cubans. I well remember my uncles rushed to help with any duties they could serve in the new government.

Castro took three days to march triumphantly from the Sierra Maestra mountains on the east coast to Havana in the west. He stopped in every city along the way to the cheers of jubilant crowds. He made his first speech in Havana’s Columbia City, which is considered the Cuban equivalent of the U.S. Pentagon. He revealed his plans for Cuba“We are going to take from the haves and give to the have-nots.”  The communist definition of a “have” is anyone that owned anything. Private enterprise became government-owned.

The ideology of “The Revolutionary Law will prevail” led to the formation of The Peoples Tribunal. Embodied in every neighborhood was a group that acted as judges. If a person had a grudge against another individual, it was a simple matter to accuse that person of being a collaborator with the previous regime and take the case to the tribunal. After hearsay testimony by a “witness”, the accused would be sentenced with penalties ranging from 20 years prison to death by firing squad. This process ran rampant through all Cuban cities.

While in a busy park I heard the cry of an individual yell, “There he is!”  Then three militia men emptied their machine guns into the man …no questions asked.

Then came “Agrarian Reform.”  Part one included farms in excess of 20,000 acres. The government would appropriate the excess and distribute it among its people.  A few months later part two was implemented for those owning 10,000 acres with the same action.  Later, people with 150 acres were affected.  The result was the whole of the land being controlled by the government.

Our family owned approximately 20,000 acres in the production of cattle and sugar cane.  My great-grandfather said “I can buy as much land as I can afford, but I only need one house to live in.”  Upon his death it was decided by his widow and 8 sons and daughters to keep the land together by forming a family corporation. A general manager was hired to take charge of the entire operation rather than dividing it.  Each year, when the family assembled, the profits were divided. It was a lucrative and equitable arrangement.

I recall the day when the Agrarian Reform came to call.  My father and uncles were with me.  We were suddenly surrounded by 25 to 30 armed men. My father and uncles were told to choose 150 acres for themselves. Naturally they chose the land with the improvements;  the house, barns, etc. They were then informed that their new manager needed a place to live. They were told to make another selection. They were also told they would be responsible for the care and feeding of all the cattle on the land, not limited only to those found on their 150 acres. The rest of the cattle and land now belonged to the government.

The next thing my family was instructed to do was not to make any business transactions without clearing them with the area manager, then the provincial manager and finally the national manager’s office. Any and all private land was appropriated by the revolutionary government through the Agrarian Reform.

The people were told there would be no need for weapons. Everyone was ordered to register weapons which were ultimately confiscated, virtually disarming the population. I will never forget my father’s words as we watched Castro on television. “Son, we have made a great mistake. We have put a communist in power”.

Within a few months, Castro enforced the Money Law. All the banks were nationalized by the government. The Money Law stated no individual could have over $5,000.00 in the bank. Any amount in excess of that figure became government property. Bank accounts were managed by the government and doled out only with their approval. New bills were printed and new coins minted depicting the heroism of Fidel Castro. The old monies were declared obsolete and only $100.00 per family could be exchanged for new.

Nationalizing the housing industry, by which if you had paid more to the mortgage company than the Government estimated, you now owned that house automatically.  Also, a law was passed declaring if a person owned a house but rented it out, the tenant had to send the payments to the Urban Renewal Management who was supposed to reimburse the landlord. Nothing was ever passed on to the landlord. The authority would also estimate the value of the property and figure how many payments the tenant had made. If the payments exceeded their estimate, they would declare the tenant had bought the house by virtue of his past payments and no other payment was necessary.

The Urban Renewal law further stated that if a home had more rooms than the government thought you needed, people could be moved in to fill the rooms. In the form of a “foster family to live with you. My aunt Bertha invited her long time maid and her family to move in permanently, her thought was I better have someone I trust and know living with me.

Everything was rationed. A family was limited to one pint of milk per week if they had a child under five years old. Otherwise, a doctor’s prescription was required to obtain it. Sometimes, food could be bought on the black market. My grandfather once bought a chicken for $30.00 and an egg cost $1.25.

Working conditions were impossible. Only members of the militia were allowed to work. To obtain membership, you had to attend indoctrination classes three times a week and spend weekends volunteering to cut sugar cane from the fields. An additional requirement was to attend, with your presence recorded, all of  Fidel Castro’s speeches. Failure to attend meant the loss of your job.

Schools were converted into military training complexes. Parents could not see their children except on weekends after they passed the third grade. High School graduates could not be seen but once a month. All of the young people’s time was spent under the care and tutelage of the Cuban government.

Organized religion was virtually eliminated. Fidel Castro created the National Church of Cuba and installed Father Sardinia as its head. Sardinia was a renegade, ex-communicated priest. Castro’s militia rounded up all priests and ministers and shipped them, under cover of darkness, to Mexico. Religion was then relegated to Bible study in the home and worship with friends and family. The religious schools were taken over by the government and the religious orders were asked to leave the country.

End of Part One