Fidel is a talented, egotistical guy who hates the Cuban people /
Augusto Cesar San Martin
Posted on March 30, 2014
Havana, Cuba — Hubert Matos is a symbol of the struggle against the
tyranny that has dominated Cuba since 1959.
As an admirer of his rebelliousness and perseverance — something that
characterized him until he drew his last breath — I resolved during my
visit to the United States in January of last year not to go home
without interviewing him.
We quickly settled on a date for the interview, arranged by Cuba
Independent and Democratic (CID), an organization that he founded to
bring freedom to his homeland.
With the help of a 17-year-old student, Christopher Campa, to capture
the images of the meeting — he filmed unedited images — we'll see three
generations in his house in Miami. The same home which welcomed him on
October 2, 1979, coming from Costa Rica, to where he was exiled by Fidel
Castro, and in which country he asked for his body to be temporarily
interred, before being placed to rest in Cuba some day.
Huber Matos gave us four hours of his precious time to explore his
indefatiguable life, which he committed fully to Cuba.
Before his physical loss, we forwarded Cubanet fragments of the
interview, taking notes of the transcription of the video.
Cubanet: I understand that your name has something to do with the life
you have lived.
Huber Matos: "The first thing you should know, or the most important in
my life, is that they gave me a name the kids said was unique — "Where
did they get that name Huber from?"
"Before I was born, my father read a book by a Swiss-German researcher,
biologist and naturalist named Francisco Huber. I used to say, "What
does that have to do with me?" The man was blind by the time he began
studying the lives of honeybees. He spent twenty years studying the
subject with the help of two assistants and wrote the most definitive
book of its era on the subject.
"That persistence, that strong will of that man… that means you have to
be strong inside," said my father. And that's how me raised me.
"One cannot soften oneself, one cannot allow oneself to be defeated by
adverse circumstances … The life of a human being has one principal
function that goes beyond saving one's skin.
"So I owe a lot to my parents and teachers. It is not happenstance that
I could withstand 20 years in prison. Of course, there's the luck
factor. If, in those beatings they give … once they almost split me.
They made deep scars on my neck area.
Cubanet: But you also trained values as a part of the Cuban magisterium.
HM: "I spent years training teachers in the normal school in Manzanillo.
We were some 20 professors training teachers, from the first year though
the fourth. Trying, not only to give them knowledge, but also to train
conscience in my case.
"I told them: The Republic is an entity that must be built day by day.
Each of you has a role to play, not only to teach reading and writing,
and teaching arithmetic … helping to train the citizen in the field
which corresponds to him. Help form a conscience.
"As a youth I was afraid of prison. Once they condemned a relative to
one year, 8 months and 21 days because he'd taken a girl and didn't want
to marry her. He asked me to visit him in prison. "Cousin, get me out of
here", I told him, "this is insufferable". Afterwards I had to tolerate
20 years in prison.
Cubanet: You were incarcerated due to a sinister and vengeful trial
during the beginning of the Revolution. Linked to events like the death
of Camilo Cienfuegos, one of the dark chapters of the revolution. Do you
feel hatred towards the Castros, declared enemies of yours since then?
HM: "With all certainty, I tell you in a very sincere way, the question
of hatred no, it's a rejection and some unsettled scores. But I
subordinate that of the unsettled scores to the harm I've done to them
and they are doing to Cuba. In my personal order of things, I've
overcome all they've done to me.
"When I left a free man, I could have accepted recognition at the
international level. Afterwards, when I wrote my book, I noted that in
"Right now they've called me to Mexico to recognize me as a Hero of
Freedom in America", I told myself "Boy, I didn't expect this … I think
this is beyond my rights, what I deserve."
"Anyway, I think that in some form it's a recognition of the demand of
the Cuban people for respect of their rights. I try to cover the
unsettled account (with the government) with the Cuban people.
"The Castros killed Camilo. I have no proof, but I know that Fidel had
tremendous jealousy of Camilo, for his popularity. He wasted no
opportunity in the months I was in office, from 1 January (1959) until
21 October, which was when I resigned, to impress me with Camilo.
"Fidel traveled all the provinces twice. I was the boss in Camaguey. No
two weeks passed without Fidel calling to tell me something … the two
(Fidel and Raul Castro) were determined he'd form some part of the
government, or perhaps the Minister of Foreign Relations, or Minister of
Agriculture, at the beginning, when they were talking of agrarian
reform. In all their conversations with me they were always trying to
impress me with Camilo.
"Camilo was a guy the people applauded, but he was disorganized, drunken
… I was Camilo's friend, and I'd tell him: "Take care, you know that
Fidel eulogizes you in public, but in private he says nasty things about
you." Camilo didn't put much stock in that.
"They took advantage under cover of my resignation to see if my people
were trying to kill Camilo. Afterward, they took advantage of my
situation to eliminate him.
"How they killed him, I don't know. That which I do know is that they
killed the pilot and bodyguard. I can't affirm how they killed him
because I don't have the evidence. Camilo got in the way of Fidel's
Cubanet: Have you been afraid?
HM: "I've been lucky to be a man who doesn't scare easily. In more
difficult situations, I haven't backed down.
"At my sentencing, I was convinced they were going to shoot me, they
were going to shoot me for proclaiming my truth. If they didn't shoot
me, it was because they made a mistake. They brought a lot of people to
encourage my execution, so they would shout "To the wall!", and it
happened that when I stopped speaking, they applauded me. And they
applauded me because I said: "Okay, if with my death the true Cuban
Revolution is saved and the republic is saved, then blessed be my death."
Cubanet: You know intimately the how attached the Castros are to power.
Do you think Raul has the will to change?
HM: "A change to survive them. One always has to expect the chance of
deceit, of the trap. Because they're two individuals who, although they
differ much in their personalities, they team up to scam the rest. To
deceive the rest and leave with what's theirs.
"Fidel is a talented guy, an egomaniac who with all certainty harbors a
tremendous hatred of the Cuban people, which no one can explain. He
hates and detests everything that is not in his self-interest. His taste
for dominion and power traps all mankind.
"Raul is very careful to make sure of this and that, he's organized.
Fidel is chaos.
"They're being flexible in matters of maneuvering here and there, but if
they find a seriously adverse situation, they will ensure it's invented
on the way. That is Raul Castro, in my manner of seeing, the man I know
and have known through his pronouncements."
Cubanet: If I told you to send a message to the new generations of
Cubans, what would you say?
HM: "That it's worth it to make the maximum effort to implement the
ideals of the founders of the Cuban nation. In a true republic, as Marti
said, "with everyone and for the good of everyone".
"What exist and what the Castros have imposed on us is something, but
not a republic. The opposite of the ideals that inspired the mambises,
the founders of the Cuban nation. This one (Castro) has a fiefdom, a
whorehouse, a colony, a farm — something — but not a republic.
"The compromise with the founders of the Cuban nation and the compromise
with the values that inspired them is permanent. Service to collectivity.
"I trust in that. I don't know if it will take us 20, 15, or 100 years
more to achieve a real republic. It's worth the trouble to make the
maximum effort for that achievement."
Cubanet: Does Huber Matos still have things to do?
HM: Before I die, although one never knows if death will come tomorrow
or the day after, I have to write a few more things. I'm taking it from
there. I can't afford to fool myself, 94 years isn't a very short time.
"I wrote the book How the Night Came; now I have to write how we want
the dawn to come out.
"I still have a little understanding, but doubtlessly the almanacs are
Cubanet, 28 February 2014. Augusto Cesar San Martin
Translated by: JT
Source: Fidel is a talented, egotistical guy who hates the Cuban people
/ Augusto Cesar San Martin | Translating Cuba -