The Militant (logo) 
   Vol.65/No.7            February 19, 2001 
Cuban generals attend book donation event
HAVANA--"On behalf of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, I want to thank you for the donation of Haciendo historia," said Gustavo Chui Beltrán, a brigadier general in Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces, at a special event here February 7 as part of the Havana International Book Fair at the historic San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress.

Chui Beltrán, who was speaking on behalf of the association's leadership, was responding to the donation of 300 copies of Pathfinder's newly published Spanish-language edition of Making History: Interviews with Four Generals of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces.

The donation was made possible by contributions to the Militant's Books for Cuba Fund. The Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution (ACRC) plans to make a copy of the book available to every single one of its municipal groups to help them in their work.

The organization, founded in 1994, brings together more than 330,000 Cubans who have taken part in revolutionary battles from the 1930s to today. Chui Beltrán, for example, joined the struggle to overthrow the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship that culminated in the 1959 revolutionary victory. He later served in internationalist missions in Angola, where, from 1975 through 1991, Cuban volunteers joined with Angolan forces to defeat the invading South African army of the apartheid regime.

A central task of the combatants' association is to bring their own individual and collective experiences as revolutionists alive for a new generation in Cuba being won to the socialist revolution.

Besides Chui Beltrán, speakers at the event where the seven boxes of books were turned over to the Cuban combatants were Mary-Alice Waters, president of Pathfinder Press, and Brig. Gen. Harry Villegas. Also on the speakers platform were brigadier generals Delsa Esther Puebla and Sergio Pérez Lezcano. The meeting was chaired by Martín Koppel, editor of the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial, the two publications that organize the Books for Cuba Fund that made the donation possible.

The Association's delegation at the event was composed of 23 members, including seven generals of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces, all of them members of the national leadership of the ACRC. In addition to the four already mentioned, they included brigadier generals Orlando Kindelán, Rafael Moracén Limonta, and Alfonso Zaya.

In her remarks to the meeting Waters explained the political weight of the Cuban revolution in the world (see Waters's talk on the facing page), and how Haciendo historia and Making History are a weapon for working people and revolutionary-minded youth seeking to understand the strengths of the Cuban revolution and apply those lessons in their own struggles.

"In the United States the U.S. government is waging a fierce campaign against our country and is distorting the truth about our revolution," said Chui Beltrán. "We value the efforts by those in the United States who tell the truth about our revolution." He expressed appreciation for the fact that there are communist workers in the United States carrying out the revolutionary political work "of Marxism, of internationalism."

Pointing to how the funds for the donation of Haciendo historia were raised, the Cuban general added, "We are grateful for the contributions of workers in the United States who give part of their wages to make this donation possible."

Chui Beltrán added that he expected that tthose responsible for producing the book of "interviews with four historic generals of our revolution" would "continue to do more interviews and keep telling the truth about our revolution."

Gen. Harry Villegas, who also spoke, is one of the four generals interviewed in Making History and Haciendo historia. He highlighted the importance of the book in explaining the 1961 victory of Cuba's revolutionary militias and fledgling armed forces over a U.S.-organized mercenary invasion force at the Bay of Pigs.

He pointed to the interview with José Ramón Fernández as one of the field commanders of the victorious forces at the Bay of Pigs, whose 40th anniversary will be celebrated in April of this year. Along with Fernández, two other generals interviewed for Haciendo historia, Néstor López Cuba and Enrique Carreras, were among those distinguished for their combat leadership at Playa Girón, as the battle is known in Cuba.

Div. Gen. Carreras was responsible for sinking two of the invaders' transport ships, the Houston and El Escondido, as well as for shooting down two of the nine B-26 bombers felled by the Cuban forces. "Through this book we can see the Cuban pilots' courage, determination, and confidence in victory, in face of very adverse conditions as they confronted the mercenary air force," Villegas noted. "We can see how decisive these pilots were in sinking the ships of the invasion force and preventing a successful culmination of their landing."

Villegas said Haciendo historia tells of the internationalist record of the Cuban revolution, such as the volunteer mission López Cuba served in Syria in 1973. "These pages," Villegas added, "also tell the story of how Cuban revolutionaries helped defend the integrity of the Republic of Angola, which culminated with the victory over apartheid by the progressive forces in the world. They helped protect the independence of Angola, win the independence of Namibia, and bring about the end of the odious apartheid regime" in South Africa.

Villegas himself fought with revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevara in the Congo in 1965 and in Bolivia in 1966-67, as well as serving several tours of duty in Angola.

Villegas said the firsthand accounts in Haciendo historia of Cuba's revolutionary struggles, from the Bay of Pigs to internationalist combat missions, will aid the ACRC in its "patriotic, military, and internationalist educational work of reaching new generations with the experiences the association's members have gone through. We can assure you this book will be much used in our libraries--by our combatants and their families--and in the political reinforcement of the Association of Combatants."

Following the presentations, several generals of the Revolutionary Armed Forces who are part of the Association's leadership picked up and carried off the boxes of Haciendo historia for its municipal groups across Cuba.
Related articles:
Interest in books high at fair in Havana
'A weapon in our common struggles today'
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