Writing about the Cowards / Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on July 26, 2015
Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 24 July 2015 — I do not know if I'll be the
first to do it, but at a time like this I want to congratulate the cowards.
Those who 62 years ago were summoned to a Revolutionary action in
Santiago de Cuba, and who, when they heard the details describing the
madness that involved storming the Moncada barracks, declined to
I do not know the exact number of those who backed out at the last
moment, much less their names. I have heard that their identities have
never been disclosed, because among them there were some who later
joined the fight and even fell in combat. The official story goes that
of 135 implicated only four did not "step up." Other versions raise to
165 the number of the conspirators and about 30 who thought better of it.
I can imagine those young idealists on the Siboney Farm, listening to
fiery verses of Raul Gomez Garcia proclaiming "We are already in
combat"; I can imagine the transfer of uniforms, the smell of the
greased metal of the weapons and the invocation to the motherland, the
future, the Revolution, while Santiagans were hungover from Saturday's
A thousand armed and trained men were waiting behind the walls of the
fortress. The fathers of families, sons, brothers, someone's boyfriend.
Many had chosen a military career precisely because of their humble
origins. You would have to kill them to take their place and they were
willing to kill to stop you.
The Cuban blood spilled on both sides that morning in Santa Ana made
impossible any political understanding, any dialogue. Does it make sense
now to discuss the inevitability of the armed option? The rash often
exert a fatal attraction to the innocent. The radicals, those who did
not want to hear nor reason, raised their pedestal on the blood of their
own and others.
Now nobody cares if there were four or thirty. They said, "Don't count
me in," and no one knows if they have lived years of regret or if, all
this time, they congratulating themselves on their decision. If they
serve for something, those who have survived, here I leave them my
understanding, because I'm all out of applause.
Source: Writing about the Cowards / Reinaldo Escobar | Translating Cuba