The Massacre in Canimar River: 34th Anniversary / By Enrisco in the Blog
of Luis Felipe Rojas
Posted on July 12, 2014
Today, July 6th, is the 34th anniversary of what is regarded as (only by
a few certainly) as “The Massacre in Canimar River” because 14 years
before the sinking of the “March 13th” tugboat there was an almost
identical event in which the Cuban regime was left further unscathed
than in the crime of 1994. In the same days as the exodus from Mariel
three youths attempted to seize a tourism boat in the area near the
Matanzas bay carrying 60-100 people.
While they attempted to escape they were persecuted and machine-gunned
by the authorities and later drowned. The exact number of victims is
still unknown although they were approximately 50 people of whom some
where women and children. (“The precise number of victims remains a
secret, but it is at least 56, including children of the ages 3, 9, 11,
and 17 years old” according to the Cuba Archive). Only 10 people
survived and 11 bodies were retrieved.
Its “historical” importance is to serve as a reminder that the sinking
of the tug boat “March 13th” tugboat was not an isolated incident, but
one of the most salient characteristics of the political system whose
aim was to repress through all venues — including assassination — people
who attempted to escape the island.
The other point is to better explain the sinking of the tugboat as a
sort of general rehearsal: whomever made the decision to sink the
tugboat (and given the transcendence of the decision the most logical
answer is, Fidel Castro) had to remember the scarce international
repercussions from the massacre that occurred 14 years earlier and
reflect that, effectively, it would serve as an intimidating gesture in
the domestic sphere without the price to pay in public relations being
If there remain doubts on the level of involvement of the country’s
higher authorities in the crime, it should be known that Julian Rizo
Alvarez, who was secretary of the Communist Party of Matanzas gave the
order to machine-gun, was promoted 5 months later to Secretary of the
Communist Party at a national level in the 2nd Congress of the PCC.
The original post appears in “el blog de Enrisco,” on Sunday, July 6, 2014.
Translated by: Bianca Martinez
7 July 2014
Source: The Massacre in Canimar River: 34th Anniversary / By Enrisco in
the Blog of Luis Felipe Rojas | Translating Cuba –