Santiago Álvarez

* 1941

  • "How many times did you go to Cuba to infiltrate?" - "Many times. But I only got to the mainland twice. Once when I was scuttled, and once when I helped unload things I was taking there. We were in the Bay of Pigs for like twenty times. Later, we did such actions on our own. But we did most damage to the regime by our combat operations in 1963-1965. The most important one took place in the Casilda harbor. There were huge oil containers there and we targeted those. It was the biggest naval battle in Cuba after the one in Bay of Pigs. We shot fifteen to eighteen 50 mm projectiles. They hadn't exploded because they were empty. In any case, we destroyed those containers. Cubans were awaiting us there but not because of some prior notice. By that time, they were well armed. They were set at four places with anti-tank cannons. By the way, these were of Czechoslovak production. They started firing from all four but haven't hit us once."

  • "Communism is a utopia. Leaders with totalitarian ambitions use it to pursue their arbitrary will, which they call dictatorship of the proletariat. To many people, such an idea is attractive. In many countries including Cuba, it all began with the revolution. Fidel Castro spent over a year claiming he wasn't a communist while undertaking an agricultural reform. My family used to own a large prosperous farm. We haven't lost it due to the reform. They confiscated it as a punishment of my father who was a member of several previous governments. These were their ways, and they had never had enough. They always took more. Communism is the best weapon for exploiting people. It is used by authoritarian leaders to consolidate their power forever."

  • "It is very hard to predict the future. I assume the Cuban government will not change. It had succeeded in achieving its goal. It had even brought up a generation of successors formed by a group of men a bit younger than the suite which is in power now. They are just as dangerous. What is needed in Cuba is a change of the way of governing, not just a modification of the current government. This will only happen if people present their dissent peacefully but persistently. In Cuba, we have experienced the same thing happening in Venezuela now. In Venezuela, the reason was that Chávez's government got to power on the basis of a popular vote. They manipulated the ballots so that they could make constitutional changes and secure power forever. It destroyed the richest country in America. Back in the day, Cuba was the third wealthiest country of America. There is nothing left today because communists only use money to clinch to power, not to ensure prosperity of the people. Their only goal is to stay in power. This line of thinking can only be done away with by changing the form of government; not just making some cosmetic changes."

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    Miami, 23.05.2017

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Communism is the best weapon for exploiting people

Santiago Álvarez / Miami / 2017
Santiago Álvarez / Miami / 2017
photo: Post Bellum

Santiago Álvarez was born on 1 December 1941 in Havana, Cuba, into a politically active family. His grandpa fought in the Cuban War of Independence and became an officer in the liberation army. His father became governor of the Matanzas province, served as a senator and spent several terms as a secretary of the Office of the President. During Castro’s revolution, Santiago’s family left Cuba. Santiago himself had emigrated in 1959 as the last one and settled in the US. Ever since 1960, he had taken part in armed resistance of the exiles against Castro’s regime, including combat aimed at the destruction of strategic targets in Cuba. In 1961, Santiago’s father took part in the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion attempt. As one of the few, he got out of it unharmed and returned to the US. In 1964, Santiago was the captain of one of military boats which evacuated two men infiltrated in Cuba. He graduated from construction engineering, founded a counstruction company in Florida and used much of the profit to finance the dissident movement. He still continues in his support for the Cuban opposition, organizes trainings for Cuban people in Florida, and strives to bring the dissent closer to regular Cubans.