Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1956: Carta de Mexico (Pacto de Mexico)

Cuba History Timeline Events
August 29, 1956
On August 28, FEU President José Antonio Echeverría and another student leader, René Anillo, meet in Mexico with Fidel Castro to form an alliance joining the Directorio Revolucionario (DR, Revolutionary Directorate) and Castro's 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) in a united revolutionary resistance to Batista. They finalize the pact in the early hours of August 29, and agree to publicly announce it on September 1, giving Anillo time to return to Cuba and Echeverría time to travel to a student congress in Sri Lanka. UPI accepted it on the 29th for publication on September 1, when it put it on its newswire.

The pact document, titled Letter from Mexico (Carta de Mexico) affirmed that M-26-7 and the FEU’s DR had joined forces to overthrow the Batista regime through revolutionary force and called on all students, workers, and “worthy Cubans” to join an armed struggle which would end only by victory or death. The document also called for upon victory embracing programs of social justice, liberty and democracy and the avoidance hate and vindictiveness towards anyone.

One of the points in the letter was naming Coronel Barquín, Major Borbonet, and other court-martialed military officers as the leaders of the armed forces upon revolutionary victory.

DR leaders and their followers, perhaps carried away by untempered youthful passions, fell into the trap (with many others in Batista’s opposition) of adopting “the end justifies the means” as their working principle and on that basis choosing violent means over political compromise and negotiation to remove Batista. In a 2007 interview1 Echeverría’s sister Lucy described her shock and dismay that Echevarria had entered into an agreement with Castro:

"My brother knew Castro was a disreputable loser that couldn’t even get elected to minor student government office. When he returned from Mexico I asked him ‘What have you done, my brother?’ He replied that he’d made deals with God and now now he’d made a deal with the Devil, but that I shouldn’t worry because when the student revolutionary movement triumphed it would be the time to bring Fidel Castro down from the hills with gunfire.”

René Anillo proved to be a crypto-Communist, he came out of the Communist closet shortly after Castro’s triumph. Anillo worked with Ché Guevara in 1959 and quickly rose through official ranks to become a Provincial Secretary of the Communist Party. At Castro’s Tricontinental Solidarity Conference (a premier international gathering of terrorist and violent revolutionary movements) Anillo, along with Patrice Lumumba, was granted the honor of receiving Cuba’s Solidarity Order. That award cited his ties “to OSPAAAL’s work during its first decades and made valuable contributions to the anti-imperialist causes of Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

Echeverria-Castro-Anillo Mexico 1956Fidel Castro [CENTER] with FEU/DR Student Leaders
José A Echeverría [L] and René Anillo Capote [R]
México, 29-Aug 1956.(photo: Liborio Noval)

based on Manuel Márquez-Sterling's Cuba 1952-1959 and
Cuba 1952-1959 Interactive Timeline

1 The Spanish-language interview was published as “El Dia Que Cuba Perdio El Futuro” ("The Day Cuba’s Future Was Lost”) by Wilfredo Cancio Isla, El Nuevo Herald (Miami), March 11, 2007.

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