BARLOVENTO: The Massacre of Cuban-Chinese
by Agustín Blázquez and Jaums Sutton
Barlovento is a marina development that flourished before 1959 near Jaimanita Beach northwest of Havana.
When Castro was in need of U.S. dollars to prop-up his regime he converted that area into “Hemingway Marina” which became popular among rich and famous foreigners, including yachting Americans, all of whom find dubious amusements and business deals while spending the coveted U.S. dollars, to this day, oblivious that the blood of innocent civilians taint the waters.
This is the area where U.S. fugitive Robert Vesco lived in luxury on his stolen U.S. dollars until he fell out of favor with Castro (perhaps because he ran out of dollars). He was put in jail under the pretext of some shady pharmaceutical deals with a visiting relative of the late president Richard Nixon who worked for one the powerful pharmaceutical companies in the U.S.
But today, Armando Lago, a Ph. D. in Economics from Harvard University, continues working on his book “CUBA: The Human Cost of Social Revolutions. The Black Book of Cuban Communism,” documenting the deaths caused by Castro’s regime from 1959 to the present. According to Dr. Lago’s ongoing research, the total currently ranges between 90,827 and 102,722 deaths (much higher than the 3,000 attributed to Chile’s Augusto Pinochet).
Every one of the deaths Castro has caused deserves to be documented and presented to the world for its review. But, unfortunately, very few are known to the American public because of the bias and censorship of the U.S. media and academia.
One of the individual incidents has been known only to the Cuban exile community and due to the lack of documentation seemed to be at risk of becoming mere folklore. Dr. Alberto Fibla in his 1996 book in Spanish “Barbarie” (Barbarism) describes this incident on page 36 for the first time. Dr. Fibla, was in prison in Cuba from 1962 to 1988 for opposing Castro’s tyranny.
But, in the course of his exhaustive research, Dr. Lago finally uncovered the documentation of that incident. It was thanks to former political prisoner Ela Castro. When about to be released from prison a fellow inmate gave her a copy of the court sentencing documents of the survivors for her to smuggle out. Ela Castro was then able to smuggle the document out of Cuba when she came to exile in the U.S.
As Dr. Lago worked on a chapter of his book that deals with the crimes perpetrated by Castro’s regime against unarmed civilians who attempt to escape Cuba in boats or makeshift rafts, he decided that now that the credentials are available the story should be told immediately, rather than wait for the release of his book. So he shared the details of the story with me, complete with the names of the victims.
So now, for the first time, the complete story.
On January 15, 1962, the Cuban Coast Guard, following Castro’s standing orders, massacred a group of 29 civilians whose terrible crime, so damaging to Castro’s revolution, was wanting to leave Cuba for the U.S. Among them were eight Cuban-Chinese from the town of Bauta and the neighborhood of Marianao, near that rich-man’s-paradise renamed “Hemingway Marina.”
On that winter night, the group went aboard the 31-foot rented boat “Pretexto” (Pretext) anchored at the marina.
But Castro’s Gestapo-type State Security (SS) was already very well prepared and because of its pervasive web of informants, knew of their plans well in advance and had time to organize a dramatic ambush, rather than peacefully apprehending the participants. Castro’s rule-by-fear depends on bloody spectacles as a deterrent lesson to repress others.
As the boat began to head out of the marina in Channel No. 1, the main deep-water channel, it was abruptly halted by a heavy steel chain that had been strung across the channel.
The refugees looked ahead and saw a Cuban Navy vessel anchored at the entrance of the channel that opened fire on them with 30-caliber machine guns. And from one side, more machine gun fire began, completing a multisided attack.
Since the “Pretexto” was unarmed, it was unable to defend itself.
The result of this cowardly and unjustified attack against 29 unarmed civilians was five dead, including three Cuban-Chinese.
According to the court documents Dr. Lago received, the 24 survivors of this crime were sentenced to 20 years in prison in the Judicial Docket (Causa) No. 60 of 1962 by the Revolutionary Tribunal of La Cabana Fortress. This episode came to be known in the Cuban-exile community as “The Chinese Massacre at Barlovento.”
The names of the five assassinated by Castro’s forces can now be given; they are: Amalia-Cora Corzo, Fernando Gil Garcia, both from the Marianao neighborhood and Cuban-Chinese Lee Suey Chuy, Guan Xi Lui and Yak Yim Pan, all from the town of Bauta.
In addition to Dr. Fibla’s book mention, the second source for Dr. Lago’s report is the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Revolutionary District of Havana; the Judge was Vicente Alvarez Crespo in Judicial Docket (Causa) No. 60 of 1962, July 4, 1962, pp 1-2.
This case at Barlovento Marina – now the bloody waters of the “Hemingway Marina” - was not the first or the last incident in the sad history. There are many more cases. Among the most infamous cases are at the Canimar River in the province of Matanzas on July 6, 1980 where 11 unarmed civilians died and the July 13, 1994 sinking of the "13 of March” tugboat outside the waters of the Bay of Havana in which 41 unharmed civilians (men and women) lost their lives along with 12 innocent children.
Dr. Lago, in his incoming book, will document these and other cases. Hopefully this book will not be ignored by the U.S. media and academia as they did with “THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM: Crimes Terror Repression” published in French in 1997 and translated to English by Harvard University Press (October, 1999). But it seems that while the Nazi crimes are still publicized to this day, the crimes of the communists are being systematically ignored.
It is very revealing indeed of the U.S. media and academia, but what can the purpose of their avoidance of the truth of Communism be? After Castro falls and Cuba hopefully becomes a free and democratic country, many of those guilty in this cover-up will have to answer.
The right to leave and return to any country is guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. And Cuba is a signatory of this document. But, as usual, Castro’s signature means nothing since his regime has been systematically violating this right and so many others since 1959.
Agustin Blazquez, Producer/director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA, CUBA: The Pearl of the Antilles, COVERING CUBA 2: The Next Generation & COVERING CUBA 3: Elian presented at the 2003 Miami Latin Film Festival.
Author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING and translator with Jaums Sutton of the book by Luis Grave de Peralta Morell THE MAFIA OF HAVANA: The Cuban Cosa Nostra.
For a preview and information on the documentary and books click here: ABIP
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