Memory of Nation


Pedro J. Fuentes Cid (1939)

  Pedro J. Fuentes Cid (1939)
I will always fight the people who take away our freedom. But I don't feel no hatred towards them

Fidel Castro burning coffee

"The Castros came to the US to form the 26th of July Movement. This was the core of the movement, which was about to take down Batista. As we arrived to that meeting, there was the 30-year-old Fidel. He received us in the living room and began preparing coffee in an Italian kettle, which is put on the stove and this is how they prepare the espresso. He started talking and couldn't stop himself. Meanwhile, coffee was ready and began getting burnt. When he realized that, he stopped and poured us coffee. It was horrible. But when he asked people how they liked it, they said: 'Yes, doctor, it's very good.' I kept shut and he asked me: 'Student, did you like the coffee?' I replied: 'Pretty horrible.' He turned to the other ones and said: 'This is the only honest person in here.' During one of his discussions, he came to realize I was the nephew of Pepilla Serra. She was the owner of a farm next to the farm of Fidel's father. Pepilla was the sister of my grandma and the Castro brothers were friends with her children - my cousins. One of them was even Raúl's best friend. Enrique used to take Fidel to school in Belén when he studied law in Havana. And since I am from Holguín and they lived just nearby, Fidel came to realize who I was and treated me a bit different from the others."

  • born on 6 January 1939 in the city of Holguín, Cuba
  • his family owned farms, cattle and a sugar cane plantation
  • after the Batista coup of 1952, he and his family moved do Miami where he attended high school
  • in 1956 met Fidel and Raúl Castro in Miami where they arrived to form the 26th of July Movement
  • as a seventeen-year-old became active in the resistance, undertaking training in the Dominican Republic
  • after the Castro takeover and Batista flight, he returned to Cuba, worked with the tourism police and studied diplomacy
  • following Castro's joining of forces with the communists, he became part of the resistance, obtaining weapons for guerrilla units
  • in a March 1961 shootout, he was arrested and sentenced to 60 years in prison
  • spent 16 years in prisons, and doing forced labor at a stone quarry and at plantations
  • following his conditional release, helped political prisoners flee Cuba via Venezuela
  • immigrated to the US in 1978, graduating from a law school in Miami and becoming an attorney
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