Desde Dentro de Cuba.
Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org
Nov. 8, 1999.
CHRONICLE FOR THE SON OF "THE STUDENT" - NO COUP DE GRACE By Rafael Contreras Bueno, Cuba Free Press (as translated by a volunteer).
PINAR DEL RIO* - They called him "the Student" (Spanish: "El Estudiante"). His courage was a proven fact. He participated in many fights against Batista (the preceding,lesser dictator). Everybody used to say that the Student derived pleasure from violence. If a bomb were to be dropped somewhere, the Student would take care of that.
In January of '59 he was one of those who drank and laughed the most about the victory.But not long afterwards, he was one of the first nonconformists. The word "socialism" began to 'fill his ears with boiling wax.' He had not fought for that. His father had worked hard for private properties and money so he could keep living effortlessly. Property "intervention" by the government crumbled all hopes. The government occupied the entire estate. Then the Student reached for the box in which he had packaged his violence and, full of rage, dusted it off.
He went to the Escambray mountains in south central Cuba. He had "risen up" against Fidel Castro. The name "the Student" became famous in the mountains. Now it was not about leaving a bomb properly located in a good site. Now it was all about settling accounts with communists and government sympathizers in the area. The Student derived pleasure out of doing that. There was no doubt about it.
He used to tell the troops in his group that he knew he was going to die early. The only thing he was afraid of, should he be executed by a firing squad's gunfire, was the death blow (Spanish: "tiro de gracia;" French: "coup de grāce").
"I don't like that picture of filling up the body with bullets and then leaving the chance of your being still alive after you're shot and able to see one of those jerks get closer and then shoot me with a death blow behind my ear. Hell no! If they execute me by bullets, let them kill me with the first volley, and f... (expletive) it!"
The people in his group laughed;nobody thought he would ever be executed. They were not down-to-earth realists like the Student. Then one October night in 1962, the government militia threw an ambush down on him. The Student was captured, wounded and out of ammunition. "You caught me, you m.....f...... (expletive)! 'cause I ran out of bullets. Otherwise you don't catch me alive." That's what he said to the militia men.
A few months later, at the trial, he got the inevitable death penalty. When they took him before the firing squad, he screamed with fury, "Isn't it here where you give a last request to the condemned? Have the communists taken even that from us?"
The chief of the firing squad approached him and told him that honoring the convict's last wish would depend on what the last request would be. The Student explained to him about the death blow. "Tell your people to sharpen their aims and try to kill me with one tight gunfire burst. I don't like the coup de grāce stuff."
What followed was the most perfect and best synchronized machine gunfire burst that is remembered from all that 1960's long era of gunfire executions. There was no need for a death blow. The Student died instantly, with his usual courage.
A few months ago, a young man asked me about the opposition in Cuba. He told me he wanted to work at something with the dissidence. He also told me that he did not like violence. I asked him if he was a writer. He assured that he knew something about that trade and could learn the rest at work.
He said, "Violence breeds violence. I like that idea of being a journalist;to do something by telling things the way they are, with words." That's what was said to me by the Student's son. This chronicle, against the use of violence now, will go to him.
Rafael Contreras Bueno, Cuba Free Press.
* Name of Cuba's westernmost province. It is also the name of that province's capital city.
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