Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Huber Matos, R.I.P.

by Elliott Abrams
February 27, 2014

Photo: By Gabematos35 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Photo: By Gabematos35 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Huber Matos, a great hero of the struggle for freedom in Cuba died today at age 95.

Matos was a revolutionary comandante in the Cuban revolution, a leader of the struggle against the Batista dictatorship. He later broke with Fidel Castro when it became apparent that Castro was fighting for personal power and for a communist system, not for freedom. For this, Castro had him imprisoned for twenty years, from 1959 to 1979, and he described the maltreatment, brutality, and torture to which he was subjected in his memoir Como Llego La Noche (How The Night Came).

I had the opportunity to know Matos when he came to the United States after his release from prison, and in the years since. He never lost his faith that Cuba would some day be free, nor did he ever flag in fighting against the communist regime there. That struggle, and his two decades in Castro’s prisons, never embittered Huber Matos; the twinkle in his eye never departed, the humor and laughter never ceased.

Huber Matos devoted his life to freedom and human rights in Cuba, but did not live to see them achieved. When they are, you can be sure that Cuban schoolchildren will study the story of his life and his struggle. He was a true national hero.

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  • Posted by Valerie Welch

    He must have held me in his arms, because he was in Sierra Maestra and I was young. I wish I could have spoken with him before the great heaven offered him the better job, better pay, and better conditions than those he has suffered and left behind. I thank God that the soldiers have cultivated the heart as strong as the handloading of ammo for war. Dear Huber Matos in Heaven and gates of hell, I thank you for holding me in your arms when I was a child, and I ask you to speak to the greatest leader for us, now, as we left behind, strive against all strife. May the road rise to meet you, and may the wind be at your back, and speak to my father for me, may we redefine victory. Hasta Siempre, Comandante!

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