Posted on Thursday, 02.27.14
Former Cuban revolutionary Huber Matos is dead
BY ALFONSO CHARDY
Huber Matos, a former Fidel Castro commander who later broke with the
Cuban revolution and served two decades in prison before going into
exile, died in Miami early Thursday. He was 95.
The cause of death was a "massive heart attack," according to a lengthy
statement released by the family shortly after his death at 4 a.m.
Matos had been taken to Kendall Regional Hospital Tuesday and the next
day asked to be disconnected from an oxygen system so he could "say
farewell to his wife María Luisa Araluce, his children and
grandchildren," the family statement said.
Later Wednesday, Matos took calls from supporters in Cuba, including a
group of activists who sang the Cuban national anthem over the phone,
the statement said. It added: "His last words were 'The struggle
continues, long live a free Cuba' "
Matos' death closes one of the most significant chapters in Cuban
history. Matos, a schoolteacher, joined the Castro revolution against
Fulgencio Batista and helped provide weapons to rebels by staging supply
flights from abroad.
Matos also embodied the widespread disillusion that many Cubans felt
toward Castro when it became clear early on that the revolution was
turning toward Communism. In 1961, three years after Batista fled Cuba,
Castro openly acknowledged the "Socialist character" of the revolution.
But in his autobiographical book, How the Night Arrived, Matos says he
began harboring doubts about Castro and the revolution only seven months
after Castro took over.
"I believe steps have been taken toward establishing a dictatorial
government, probably of a Marxist nature," recalled Matos of his
thoughts in 1959 in his book, published in 2002.
Castro ultimately ordered Matos' arrest and he ended up spending 20
years in prison. In 1979, he was released and quickly flew to Costa
Rica, where his wife and children had lived since the 1960s.
The family then resettled in Miami.
After his death Thursday, the family revealed that in a letter he wrote
before dying, he says he wants to be buried in Costa Rica. But the
letter also says, according to the family, that he wants to be
disinterred and reburied in his Cuban hometown of Yara, about 450 miles
southeast of Havana, once democracy reigns on the island.
"I want to make my trip back to Cuba from the very land whose people
always displayed solidarity and affection toward me," Matos wrote in his
last letter, a sort of political testament to be disclosed after his
death. "I want to rest in Costa Rican soil until Cuba is free and from
there go to Yara, to join my mother and reunited with my father and the
Source: Former Cuban revolutionary Huber Matos is dead - Cuba -