Ángel de Fana Serrano

* 1939

  • “Very soon, already in 1960, a friend who still lives here in Miami, Armando Ardavín, from my neighborhood, asked me if I wanted to participate in an organization that was opposing the communist dictatorship in Cuba. And I said yes. And then I started as a militant of the organization Martian Democratic Movement, the name has to do with [José] Martí. And its leaders were revolutionaries. The principal leader was an ex-captain of the rebel army who had been in hiding, not in the mountains, but in Havana, Bernardo Corrales, who was shot in 1961. And then I began to participate in sabotage actions since 1960 within the Martian Democratic Movement , or MDM, as it was known, and initially those activities were a bit inherited from what had been done by the [Movement of] July 26 [movement of Fidel Castro with the purpose of overthrowing Fulgencio Batista], the revolutionary army previously in fight against Batista. It was the placement of explosives to make noise in public places, in places where we tried to chase away the population, or to inform the public, and also an intense propaganda work that I also participated in, when drafting of documents etc. I must emphasize that, in no time, in any of the activities that are now known as terrorists, that I did, in no case were caused injuries, because it was always in places where there was no danger. The explosives had no shrapnel, it was just an explosive to make a noise and not hurt any person.”

  • "If you wanted to urinate, you had to knock, they brought a stick, like a soda can, you urinated in it, and returned it to them. And when you had to do the other thing, then you knocked, I did it only once because after that I had an intestinal obstruction that lasted for weeks... And every time you had to get out of there, they put that black hat on your head, that you did not see anything. They put the hat on you, you left, and then... For example, to take you to interrogations that were not in there, that were in a little office, that was in Altos, you had to climb a spiral staircase… They took you, sometimes there were trees, they told you to move around, and sometimes they would tell you on purpose, so you would clash with branches. And then that time I went to evacuate, two guards took me and one told me, turn around, on the left you have the toilet paper, and then I had to do it in front of him, with the cap on. I did not see anything. Well, so, I chose a intestinal obstruction, and for the next three weeks, I did’nt go to the toilet again.”

  • “The first days are the worst. The first days, you're hungry. Later you are not hungry. Later what you have is weakness. The first days are very bad, psychically and physically. The worst thing about a hunger strike is the mouth. That means, your saliva thickens, and the taste you have in your mouth is tremendously unpleasant. And that will last all the time of the strike. Then you start to feel weak. I must say that when I say hunger strike, in the case of us, the Cuban political prisoners, except for very particular strategies that there were in some groups, not in these big strikes, so, in a hunger strike we do not eat anything, neither medicines, simply anything. So, if we are going to declare a strike in La Cabaña, we take out all the food that the visit brought us, and all the medicine. In the first-aid kit, we only keep things that are necessary for pain, nothing that is nourishing, all this we take out, in front of the guards, so that they can see that we have nothing left. So, when it is time for lunch... The food that they would never offer you when being a common prisoner, is being offered to you then. You know, it's all very smelly... So, meat, chicken, they put it outside, and you do not eat it. Then some friends, after so many days, for example twenty days, according to their capacity for resistance, they leave, they abandon the strike. To us, this is not any sin. We do not condemn them for that reason. When they come back with us later, they simply come back with us and nothing else, leaving the strike is their problem. We do not accept medical assistance. If you faint, the guard takes you, but you do not accept medical assistance, they have to tie you up. In other words, in some cases, for example, they take us to the doctor’s office and they put the serum, bounding us, because if not, you tear it off. Even in some cases, you are fed with tubes. There are friends of mine to whom they broke their teeth because they resisted to being fed. Simply you do not want to be fed.”

  • “When he [the guard] lead me, he took me back to the prison galley through the patio, it was at night, and he told me: 'You have to thank the Revolution because we have not shot you and you are not going to be shot.' Then I said: 'No, I do not have to thank the Revolution, I have to thank God.' Which that led him to give me another four hits with his riffle but on the way. Some prisoners still remember that, those who were there at that time.”

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    Miami, Florida, USA, 16.04.2018

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No, I do not have to thank the Revolution, but I have to thank God

Angel de Fana, 2018
Angel de Fana, 2018
photo: Post Bellum

Ángel de Fana Serrano was born in 1939 in Havana. Being a good student, he got a scholarship at the Havana Business Academy, where he focused on Accounting and English. Until the confiscation of 1961, he worked in a footwear factory. Very soon after the triumph of the Revolution of Fidel Castro, he realized the Communist character of this project and joined the Martian Democratic Movement in 1960. Two years later he came to the head of the movement, whose objectives were to weaken the regime with sabotage, disarmament of militias and anti-Castro propaganda. Ángel de Fana Serrano was arrested in 1962. He was accused of the intellectual authorship of an attack in which a pro-government soldier was killed and of the organization of an uprising that took place in August 1962. He was transported to a place known as Las Cabañitas or Point X, the exact location of which is unknown. There he was subjected to interrogations in very bad conditions for about 37 days. Later he was transferred to La Cabaña, and in 1963 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He became one of the best-known “planted” prisoners, that is, prisoners who declined any cooperation with the regime, passing through several prisons, including the Combinado del Este, Bonyato, Guanajay and La Cabaña. He opposed the negotiations carried out by the Cuban government with the United States on his possible release, arguing that his freedom could not be conditioned. He was finally released in 1983 and went into exile in the United States. He worked to denounce the crimes of the Cuban regime on La Voz de CID [CID’s Voice] radio until the early 1990s and was one of the leaders of The Planted for Freedom and Democracy in Cuba, which supported opponents and political prisoners in Cuba.