If we want to describe General Sío Wong in a few words, said Brig. Gen. Harry Villegas at the ceremony, what distinguished him was his spirit of self-sacrifice, unpretentiousness, modesty, professionalism, and depth of military analysis. Despite his illness, he never gave up his boundless love for the revolution and its Revolutionary Armed Forces.
Villegas, executive vice president of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, fought side by side with Sío Wong in the revolutionary war that brought down the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959 and opened the door to the socialist revolution in the Americas. The Cuban Revolution reestablishedafter a quarter centurythe proletarian internationalism in action of a workers and peasants government that had been practiced by Lenin following the October 1917 Bolshevik-led revolution in Russia and then reversed under the Stalin regime.
Sío Wong, who died February 11 after a long illness, was born in Matanzas in 1938, the son of Chinese immigrants. While still in high school in Havana, he became a militant of the urban underground movement against the Batista tyranny and joined the July 26 Movement.
In November 1957, while being hunted down by Batistas police, Sío Wong joined the Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra mountains, taking part in several battles. He was one of the combatants of Column 8 who undertook the westward march across Cuba, led by Ernesto Che Guevara, that unified the revolutionary forces in the Escambray mountains of central Cuba and culminated in the capture of Santa Clara, the battle that sealed the fall of the dictatorship.
After the January 1959 revolutionary victory, he shouldered important responsibilities in the Revolutionary Armed Forces and beginning in 1965 served seven years as adjutant to FAR minister Raúl Castro.
Sío Wong was among the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who responded to newly independent Angolas call for assistance in repelling a large-scale invasion by the apartheid South African regime in 1976. While serving in Angola he earned promotion to brigadier general.
From 1986 to 2008 he carried the central executive responsibilities as president of the National Institute of State Reserves. In the early 1990s, in order to confront the food crisis of the Special Periodcaused by the abrupt cutoff, with the fall of the governments in the Soviet Union and across Eastern Europe, of some 80 percent of Cubas tradehe helped organize and lead the small-scale urban agriculture program in Cuba. This program has been developed as a foundation stone for the supply of foodstuffs to the population in Havana and other cities. Starting in 2003 he served as an advisor for a similar program in Venezuela. He also served for many years as president of the Cuba-China Friendship Association.
Together with generals Armando Choy and Gustavo Chui, Sío Wong was the subject of a book-length interview titled Our History Is Still Being Written: The Story of Three Chinese-Cuban Generals in the Cuban Revolution, published in 2005 by Pathfinder Press. Over the past four years, all three have spoken at numerous presentations of this book to audiences across Cuba. On February 17 a new Cuban edition of Our History Is Still Being Written, published in Spanish by Editora Política, will be launched here at the International Book Fair.
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