“I will never forget how I once opened a can of ham made in Czechoslovakia. Inside was a small sheet of paper wrapped in aluminum foil, and it said, “Cubans, don't be fooled. Fight the communism. Czechoslovak workers.”
“It's not much I can do for Cuba. I don't even think I could do very much, still just a little would do... I don't want the sacrifice of my brother, my best friend, and others who are no longer with us, to be forgotten. I want people to remember. Providing that one day Cuba wakes up free due to God´s will, then people should know that there lived people who sacrificed their lives for freedom. That's my wish now. I want to remember them. I am the last living member of this generation of our family, all my siblings are already dead. I don't know how much time I have left. Whether it's to see people from the Czech Republic and tell the story of the Cuban people's struggle, I'm ready to play. Thank you for giving me these moments."
“It's hard to describe. As I told you, I was hiding in a family house at that time and I knew that the trial should take place on April 17th. When I went to bed the night before, I was very worried, I had a bad feeling. At about five in the morning I suddenly woke up. I felt appalled and suspected that he had been murdered. I got up, turned on the radio, and listened to the reports of the executions at La Cabaña Prison. They included names, and my brother and Alberto Tapia were among them. When the family I stayed with heard the news, they came to me. I told them they had already executed my brother. At that moment, I didn't know whether to run anywhere or start screaming... it was terrible. Brother Virgilio would be the closest to me, he was five years older than me, we shared lots of things. We studied together at the Havana Militar Academy. He represented an example to me, he was my kind, a mentor, and I didn't know what to do. I was devastated. Early that morning my brother's assistant from the Directorio Nacional Estudiantil, Julio Hernández Rojo, arrived. We hugged and I cried. Those were very sad moments.”
“I wish that the sacrifice of my brother and his friends should not be forgotten.”
Nestor Campaneria Ángel was born on February 12, 1943, in Havana. He comes from a family of seven children and grew up in Matanzas province, where his father worked as a sugar factory manager. After the victory of the Cuban Revolution, his brother Virgilio, a law student, began to criticize the Fidel Castro regime. Together with other students, he founded an organization called ´Salvar a Cuba´ to warn of the dangers of communism. Thanks to his brother’s influence, Nestor was involved in anti-regime activities from a very early age. He was mainly interested in propaganda against Fidel Castro. Brother Virgilio was detained together with his colleagues, Albert Tapia, and Tomas Fernández. Although an attempt was made to liberate them, all three eventually ended up in La Cabaña prison where they were tried. Virgilio and Alberto Tapia were sentenced to death and were executed on April 17, 1961. Nestor was persecuted by the police and had to hide until he applied for asylum at the Colombian embassy. After a few months, he traveled to Colombia, where he lived with many other Cubans in a refugee camp. It was at this time that he met his future wife. They moved together to the US, where he earned his living by doing unskilled work, such as harvesting vegetables or making repairs. During the first years in the US, he participated in training to combat Fidel Castro. However, after some time he left these activities. Nestor is the only one surviving out of seven siblings. He has three children, four grandchildren, and does not plan to return to Cuba until the political situation changes.