Huber Matos’ 1959 Letter to Fidel Castro
Posted on February 28, 2014
Letter from Hubert Matos to Fidel Castro
Camagüey, 19 October 1959
To Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, Prime Minister, Havana
Today I have sent to the Chief of Staff, through regulation channels, a
radiogram regarding my position in the Rebel Army. I am assured that
this matter will be elevated to you for your solution and consider that
it is my duty to inform you of the reasons why I have had to request my
discharge from the army, explaining to you the following conclusions:
First: I do not desire to make myself an obstacle to the Revolution and
I believe that having to adapt myself or cut myself off so as to do no
harm, the honorable and revolutionary thing is to leave.
Second: From an elementary modesty I must relinquish all responsibility
within the ranks of the Revolution, after learning of some of your
comments in the conversation you had with the compañeros Agramonte and
Fernández Vilá, Provincial coordinators in Camagüey and Havana
respectively: while this conversation did not mention my name, you were
thinking of me. I also believe that after replacing Duque and other
changes, anyone who has been talking frankly with you about the
communist problem should leave before they are removed.
Third: I only conceive of the triumph of the Revolution with a united
people, willing to endure great sacrifices… because a thousand economic
and political problems will come… and this united and combative people
will not manage or sustain itself if it is not based on a program and
satisfies equally their interests and their sentiments, and with a
leadership that captures the Cuban situation in its proper dimension and
not as a question of ideologies nor struggles among groups.
If you want the Revolution to triumph, say where we are going and how we
will get there, listening less to gossip and intrigues and not branding
as reactionaries or conspirators those who honorably state their
opinions of these things.
On the other hand, to use insinuation to compromise figures who are
clean and disinterested who did not appear on stage on the first of
January, but who were present at the hour of sacrifice and who took on
this work for pure idealism, is also unfair and unjust, and it is good
to remember that great men begin to decline when they cease to just.
I want to clarify that none of this is brought forward to hurt you, or
to hurt other people: I say what I feel and what I think with the right
that attends my condition as a Cuban sacrificing for a better Cuba.
because although you silence my name when you speak and those who have
fought and are fighting alongside you, the truth is that I have done for
Cuba all that I could, not and forever.
I did not organize the Cieneguilla expedition, which was so helpful in
the resistance of the spring offensive for which you thanked me, but to
defend the rights of my people, and I am very content to have completed
the mission you entrusted me with at the head of one of the columns of
the Rebel Army that fought the most battles. As I am very glad to have
organized a province as you ordered.
I think that I have worked hard and it satisfies me because regardless
of the respect I have earned from those who have seen me close up, the
men who know to dedicated their efforts to achieve the collective good,
I enjoy the fatigue proportioned by being consecrated to the service of
the common interest. And this work that I have enumerated is not mine
personally, but a product of the efforts of some few who, like me, have
known to do their duty.
Well, if after all this I’m thought to be ambitious or there are
insinuations that I am conspiring, there are reasons to leave, if not to
regret have been one of the many compañeros who fell in this effort.
I also want you to understand that this determination, well thought out,
is irrevocable, so that I ask you not as Commander Huber Matos, but
simply as one of your compañeros in the Sierra — do you remember? From
those who came fully prepared to die following your orders, may you
respond to my request as soon as possible, allowing me to return to my
home as a civilian without my children having to hear later, in the
street, that their father was a deserter or traitor.
Desiring every kind of success for you and your revolutionary projects
and desires, and for the country — the agony and duty of all — I remain
as always your compañero,
Huber Matos, 1959
Huber Matos died on the morning of 27 February in Miami. On the 25th he
was admitted to Kendall Regional Hospital where he was diagnosed with a
massive heart attack. On the 26th he asked that they withdraw his
respirator because he wanted to say goodbye to his wife María Luisa
Araluce and to his children and grandchildren.
During the day he received calls from Cuba and the main leaders of his
party, the Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID) movement, who assured
him the organization would not rest until the island is free.
Activists in Holguín sang the national anthem to him and members of the
organization throughout Cuba were notified of the situation and of the
commitment of their leader. His last words were: “The struggle
continues. Viva Cuba Libre!”
Huber Matos left a political testament and a letter to Venezuelans.
There will be a service for him in Miami on Sunday, 2 March, and he
asked to be taken to Costa Rica, the country that sheltered him when he
went into exile the first time during the Revolutionary struggle in
1957. It was from Costa Rica where he left for the Sierra Maestra to
join the guerrilla war, and to this nation that he returned after
spending two decades in prison in 1979.
“I want to return to Cuba from the same land whose people always showed
me solidarity and affection, I want to rest in the earth of Costa Rica
until Cuba is free and from there go to Yara, to accompany my mother and
reunite with my father and with Cubans.”Huber Matos Benítez was born in
Yara, Cuba, in 1918. He earned his PhD at the University of Havana in
1944 and was a member of the Orthodox Party.
He resigned his position as Commander in 1959 in protest against the
communist government’s deviation from the democratic principles of the
Fidel Castro condemned him to twenty years in prison in a trial in
December 1959, a sentence which Matos served to the last day.
His autobiography, “How the Night Came” (2002), describes his rupture
with Castro, his trial and his years of prison.
27 February 2014, Cubanet
Source: Huber Matos’ 1959 Letter to Fidel Castro | Translating Cuba –