Ramón Santa Cruz Pacheco Cedeño

* 1939

  • “And then in La Maya, which is a bit beyond... between Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba, I started thanks to my father’s help... he gave me money for everything and... I set up a factory to make mosaics. A factory to make mosaics, not a big one, a small one, but it was a factory. And there I had about three or four employees... two... three, like four employees, much older than me, but I was in charge. But later, like a couple of years later, they began to intervene in all the businesses in Cuba. Without differentiating between them at all. And they took that little factory away from me.”

  • “Well, girl, what else do I remember about the massacre they committed... the Cuban revolution when it happened there. The people noticed it. They killed many good and bad men, they made no difference. They wanted to instil fear in the people, the people... they wanted them to see that they were killing. I’m going to say that in a single night they killed more than seven hundred in one place that was called... you know, it’s been so many years... they had a firing range, and they used a tractor to dig up a huge ditch, where they threw the bodies. They must still be there. That was in a place called “Vista Alegre” in Santiago de Cuba and it is true that they sowed terror. Such terror, but step by step... because they were a minority, so they had to rely on terror to be able to dominate... And they did.”

  • “It’s been several years since I’ve been to Cuba. I was going to help my family and I was bringing them money and some packages etc. And now I have an aunt who is already a hundred years old... ninety-something, or hundred… To this one, I still send money for food. I send her seventy dollars... I send her a hundred, but then the girl who receives the money, who is a cousin of mine, she takes something for herself, and of the thirty dollars left... and I told her... to give these [thirty] to anyone from the family who could need them, but with no obligation, as all this family from part of my mother… almost all of them are government informants. And I’ve realized this... I realized it.”

  • “I’m telling you that in reality we lived [during the Batista government] with some freedom... and poverty... but we lived much better than now. But much better than now. Because now, I have been to Cuba and I have seen... I already closed this case for myself and I’m not going to Cuba anymore, because I have seen that in Cuba one walks and is being watched at every moment, in the room that you rent, be it a hotel or a private house, wherever you rent it, there is a camera looking at you in the bathroom. I realized that immediately. And I also realized that you cannot trust anyone who offers you a hand, all of them are old friends, young people, but any of them can be a government informant.”

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    Cuba, 01.01.2018

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Once, Raúl Castro invited me to dinner at his house. I didn’t go

Santa Cruz Pacheco Cedeño Ramón
Santa Cruz Pacheco Cedeño Ramón
photo: archivo de Post Bellum

Ramón Santa Cruz Pacheco Cedeño was born in the former province of Oriente in a small village called El Socorro. His father was a rich man, the owner of a coffee farm, and his mother was of African descent. Ramón was raised in the city of Santiago de Cuba with the relatives of his mother, very few of whom could read or write. He was able to attend a private school thanks to the money his father was sending him, and in the sixth grade he started studying at a state school. After finishing studies of ceramics, with the help of his father, he set up a mosaic factory, which was later confiscated by the government. He worked as the administrator of a state factory, at the José Martí airport in Havana, and was clandestinely engaged in jewelry. His wife is a nurse, and they have two children. Thanks to the fact that his wife was also of Spanish nationality, the whole family was able to leave Cuba. They received help from a Cuban government official who helped them because Ramón left him the house they had in Havana. He has been living in the United States for thirty years. He maintains contact with an old aunt and a cousin, to whom he sends money to Cuba. The rest of the family are government informants and therefore there is no contact between them.