‘Cuban people know what they are defending’

January 28, 2019

The following excerpt is from testimony given by José Ramón Fernández before the People’s Court of Havana, July 12, 1999. It’s taken from the chapter “The Cuban People, Rifles in Hand, Were Convinced of Their Cause” in Playa Girón/Bay of Pigs: Washington’s First Military Defeat in the Americas. Copyright © 2001 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission. Pathfinder also published an interview with Fernández as part of the book Making History: Interview with Four Generals of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.


The men and women, the people who in early January 1959 cheered Fidel Castro in his triumphant tour of nearly the entire island, were the same ones who on April 17, 1961 — convinced of their cause, rifles in hand, conscious of the declaration of the socialist character of our revolution — were determined to resist and repel the U.S. attack.

Over that brief period, the Revolution’s work, and Fidel’s words in particular, reached deeply into the hearts of the Cuban people, who identified with the ideas of national sovereignty, social justice, equality, and dignity. The Revolution had resolved the land question. It was taking sure, tangible steps to put an end to racial discrimination and the discrimination against women. It was assuring access by the masses to employment, education, health care, sports, and culture. The goal of eradicating all forms of corruption took hold in the collective consciousness, a concrete manifestation of the economic and social gains made in such a short period of time. …

In this fight, the Cuban people knew what they were defending, and they did so with a sense of patriotism and revolutionary fervor. Their firm support of the Revolution and Fidel was a decisive factor in the lightning-quick victory over the mercenary invasion.