“The acts of sabotage in Beirut and Kuwait; the terrorism in European airports and flights; the assassination for political reasons of Italian [minister] Aldo Moro, Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel, Egyptian head of state Anwar el-Sadat, and the First Ministers of India; the failed attempt against Juan Pablo II, all of them are part of the violent agenda unleashed from La Habana to [sustain] Fidel Castro Cuban Revolution…”
“The New Simón Bolívar”: Venezuela protruded as a country with social instability; its history was marked by over fifty revolutions and coups d’état. This broad South American geographical stripe, paradise of sun and flowers, floated in a sea of oil, and had immense deposits of iron. ‘The black gold’ [oil] was mostly processed in the paradisiacal islands of Curacao and Aruba, where the biggest refinery of the occidental world were located. When Fidel assumed office in Cuba, Venezuelan unions, just like in Panama, became subordinated [enrollees] to the older Cuban communist party, always following its orientation. The hand of Blas Roca, the Cuban Marxist hierarch, had resolved the old Venezuelan communist factionalism by selecting a “troika” consisting of Juan Bautista Fuenmayor, Gustavo Machado y Pedro Ortega. Castro’s victory shook the land of Bolivar. The communist social democratic youth, bored by the empty slogans and speeches of his politicians, soon embraced the ‘Castrismo.’ Among the most outstanding from their beginnings were the ex commissioned Officer Douglas Bravo, Eloy Torres and Petkoff; being the last one very prominent in the conflict against General Marcos Pérez Jimenez’s dictatorship. Castro’s visit to Caracas in 1959 provoked a schism in the nation and happened at the highest moment of charismatic peak of the Venezuelan strongman by then, of open leftist tendency, Wolfgang Larrazabal. Democratic reformist groups were headed by Rómulo Betancourt, an astute politician of reflective consciousness. They found themselves cornered in front of a new wave of Castro’s style total revolution. However, the Venezuelan People chose the ballot boxes, and an electoral triumph of Betancourt, with a program pointing to the middle class, was a backhand for Castro who knew that Betancourt would not be a forceful ally in his anti-U.S.A. campaign. Regardless of this, Castro did not yield and continued his efforts to cement a political axis with Venezuela against the U.S. which Betancourt rejected along with a request of $300 million to buy oil; “Caracas’ man dusted the Cuban off by arguing that his collaborators were talking with bankers in New York to obtain a short term credit of $200 million because the national treasure was worn-out and embezzled.” After Castro’s failed turné [tour] in Caracas, Betancourt denied visas for an official mission promoted by the Cuban leader, headed by Che Guevara and Raúl Castro. Yet, two rebuffs in a row do not make Castro give up his purposes and in May 1960 he proposes again an alliance chartering Cuba’s President of that time, Osvaldo Dorticós with the command to trade sugar for oil and crystallize a political join to isolate the U.S. from the OAS. Dark clouds loom over the humid Venezuelan tropic. With Dórticos committee’s backhand ends the honeymoon originated in La Habana, which go ahead and funds with all its strengths the pro-castristas groups, opponents to Betancourt that prowled around Orinoco’s ground. Castro counted at that time with two bastions in Venezuela, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) under Castro’s commands and the Juvenile Activists Mafia, gathered in the leftist Revolutionary Movement (MIR)...…The Clandestine Fight: Cuban initiated a wide scheme of recruitment in Universities and The Venezuelan Army. The Cuban machine invaded the official and college institutions with propaganda unleashing a parallel campaign that was embraced by the youth. The so called traditional left of the Continent (Figueres, Bosch, Muñoz Marin, Arévalo, Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre, Cárdenas, and etcetera) was portrayed as an obstacle ‘putting the brakes’ on the unavoidable process of changes. A recent example [occurred] in Perú, where the young Luis Puente Uceda cut ties with Haya de la Torre’s party and moved inside the jungles. He did so with a great explosion of “glory”, with a war cry shouted from La Habana that echoed in Venezuela; so much in fact that the left wing chose to separate from the government creating a crisis in Betancourt’s Cabinet. The consolidation of the Habana-Moscow axis exceedingly worried Betancourt, who was aware that he was considered by Castro his number one public enemy. After a Raúl Castro’s reception in the URSS, it was decided to convoke in La Habana a Latin American Juvenile Congress to unify continental radical forces and to put an end to Caracas’ government. Caracas-La Habana tensions started off with the expulsion of Cuban agents, the detention of conspirators, and the confiscation of contraband weapons. Towards the middle of 1960, a strange group traveled to Caracas to receive instruction about clandestine commando’s action. Among others were Simón Mérida, a MIR leader, actress Astrid Fisher, and Lebanese Miguel Tanus. In July, a Cuban plot aimed to cause political problems to the Venezuelan Church is unmasked. Those arrested for the Caracas’ Cathedral assault confessed that Castro’s government was the instigator in these events. On July 26, 1960 Cuban diplomat Guillermo Leon Antich headed a manifestation in Caracas. The Cathedral was stoned and the astonished Caracas authorities verified who the author of these disturbances was: On August 24, they caught León Antich in fragrant when he was delivering $400,000.00 sent by Fidel Castro to elements of the opposition to foment a revolt against Betancourt. None of this was impediment for Castro, who decided to continue with his bizarre outrages against Betancourt. In November, during a routine’s round patrol, the Venezuelan police detain two members of the Cuban intelligence, Francisco Chacón and Natalio Pernas, [caught] in the middle of a subversive action inside of the country. In December, alarm spreads in Betancourt’s administration when the vigilant attention of Venezuelan security discover a huge load of weapons coming from Cuba, introduced through several spots along the coastal prairies and near an abandoned airfield. The consolidation of Cuba’s bond with communist cells and Venezuelan radicals were strengthened through its powerful Embassy in Caracas, nurtured by special agents that manipulated student chapels, supported newspapers, and served as a link to the Communist party MIR and the brand-new guerillas. On January 11, 1961 in the middle of Sierra Maestra [a Mountain], Castro had a confidential meeting with a conglomerate of Latin American leaders to analyze a way to precipitate a war crusade in the entire continent, starting with a Venezuelan cell. Castro’s reasoning consisted on preparing an international brigade similar to the one instituted during the Spanish civil war. The group included a jumble of Guatemalans, Guadalupeños, unionized Paraguayans and others. Outstanding among them were the Colombian communists Tancredo Errante and Luis Sánchez. From Costa Rica, Carlos Luis Falla -that conducted the war in 1948 against the ex president Figueres; and a nurtured group of Venezuelans: Simón Mérida and Manuel Marcano, among them. A massive contingent of Latin Americans made up the famous Bay of Pigs Battalion-331 in the defeat against the anti-castrista armed groups in the Escambray Sierra [Mountain]. Castro decides to unleash his brilliant plan Camilo Cienguegos in Venezuela. In April 1961 the nation trembles with the pronouncements in the Military Units of Caracas, Maracaibo and Cumana, which are bloodily squashed. The role played by Cuban Embassy in Caracas during these disturbances very quickly came out to the surface. In June of that year  Venezuelan Security Forces confiscate a voluminous load of machine guns manufactured in Czechoslovakia and tranquilly sent by air mail to Zulia State from Cuba. In November, Betancourt’s government breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba to end the Cuban espionage labor showing to the international press countless proofs of Castro’s direct interference in the destabilization of the nation. Already by 1962, the PCV (Venezuelan Communist Party) -under La Havana’s guardianship, had proposed the idea of an armed insurrection. In moments where Castro was debating a suffocating financial duel with United States, and also getting into a danger relationship with the URSS, he fiercely needs a Marxist Venezuela which could provide the required help with Oil and the disposition to deny these hydrocarbon river basins to Washington. For that purpose he made an occult non aggression pact with the Dominican dictator Trujillo; agreement that was negotiated in La Habana by ‘trujillista’ General Arturo Espaillat. Trujillo and Castro were recently expelled from OAS, and the Dominican official press roared against the “North American Imperialism” and started flirting with a Cuban style socialist ideology. Betancourt was aware of this alliance that showed promise to be troublemaker for his government. Cuban aid to the insurrection in Venezuela was specially directed toward the so called Chirinos’ Front led by Fabricio Ojeda, Petkoff and the ex commissioned official Douglas Bravo. Other guerilla centers [cells] existed as well, such as the one leaded by Juan Vicente Cabezas, and the one called Simón Bolívar, headed by Tirso Pinto and German Lairet. Castro recurs again to a military coup, perceiving perhaps that guerrilla warfare in Venezuela not only would take long time but also with a doubtful result. This is how in 1962 castrenses uprisings were originated in the bases of Carúpano and then in Puerto Cabello, directed by elements that responded to Cuba (like Petkoff) but again, both attempts were violently crushed. Since La Habana had accomplish to trigger the insurrection in Venezuela with a succession of uprisings, attacks against barracks, sabotages, assaults, etc., it is possible that the pro-castristas insurrects have had in mind a flashing guerilla’s victory in the best Cuban style. However, the Venezuelan army did not give them a truce, blocking the extension of the [guerrilla’s] cells into other latitudes of the national territory. In October of that year, the authorities got proof that Castro himself was the person that ordained four electric power centrals in Maracaibo’s Lake to be blown up. Even though the police and the Venezuelan Armed Forces were alerted, on November 3rd a Venezuelan commando prepared in Cuba, dynamited two oil pipelines and a gas pipeline in the heart of ‘Puerto la Cruz.’ In January 1963, Betancourt double strikes Fidel Castro, when it was discovered in Caracas the main warehouse of weapons that Cuba arranged for the use of Venezuelan insurrects, along with compromising documentation not only for La Havana but also for the guerilla and the clandestine urban networks precipitating a harsh defeat for the troop of castristas rebels in the zone of Falcón. Facing the strokes of Betancourt Armed Forces, Castro decides to unify the divergent Venezuelan Guerrilla fronts in a central leadership and secretly compromise the Soviet Bloc in that insurrection. Toward the middle of 1963 it is shaped the National Liberation Front with Cuba’s sustain and logistic received also in minor scale from China and the URSS. It was the time that Ojeda -highest pontiff of the FALN, Juan Vicente Cabeza -of the Venezuelan Communist Party, Petkoff and Gregorio Lunar Márquez, outstand as the maximum insurrection’s chiefs. On May 25, 1963 a vast terrorist process was initiated with an attempt to assault La Carlota airport, and celebrated later on, on July 26, when bridges were blew up while guerilla groups attacked towns, and disturbances were generated. In August, the Arrecifes’ gas pipeline and the Ulcamay’s oil pipeline were dynamited; weapons were found, as well as propaganda and a detailed Cuban plan to kill the Presidents of Venezuela and Colombia. The Cuban agent José Alfonso was captured directing a terrorist group in Falcón, while in Anzoategui, Dupont factories, Sears warehouses and other North American properties were assaulted.The Defeat: However, the guerilla begins to confront a bitter reality when cannot see materialized the cooperation of The People [of Venezuela] and Castro have no other choice that perform constant transfusions of men and weapons. On November 4th the Venezuela Army caught in the Paraguaná’s Peninsula, an Unloading shipped from Cuba. Four tons of war’s materials were confiscated. Weeks later, in several confrontations with guerrillas, weapons of Belgian manufacture showing the Cuban shield were found. Toward the end of that month, in a laconic talk, President Betancourt announced that he had at his disposal overwhelming proofs of the promotion of urban violence and guerillas by Castro, and the only thing to do was to convoke an emergency meeting of all the American Continent Nations to collectively analyze the measures that would be taken to face La Havana’s constant violation of Venezuelan sovereignty. The elections toward the end of that year with the massive popular vote and the victory of Betancourt’s protégé, Raul Leoni, showed the degree of isolation of the armed fight and the incapacity of Castro to sabotage the democratic process in Venezuela. Caracas democratic consolidation had irritated Castro and had disconcerted the guerilla and the Venezuelan PCV whose owner was Fidel Castro. Therefore, it was expected the tear provoked among the orthodox militancy, headed by Pompeyo Marquez, Jesús Farías, Domingo Alberto Rangel, and the guerrilla chiefs pro-castristas, aspiring at that time to direct the political organization. Tension between Caracas and La Havana threaten to become a war clash; Betancourt fortifies his troop but Castro was armed by the Soviet Bloc to unsuspected levels. Before each Venezuelan protest, Cubans responded with an action. Year 1964 showed politically unfavorable for Castro in the entire hemisphere, and it was expected that Cuba, facing the pressure of the entire continent, would desist from his interventionist attempts in Venezuela. In January of that year a small fleet of eight fishing boats set sail from La Havana with Cuban and Soviet flags, unloading weapons not only in British Guyana and the Women Island (later worn by the Venezuelan female guerrillas) but also in the coasts of that country [Venezuela]. In February of 1964 the OAS condemned Castro’s regime in the Venezuelan case documenting the massive shipments of subversive propaganda, preparations of guerrilla and terrorists, funding of subversive activities, introduction of war gear and the infiltration of Cubans spies in Venezuela. In May, the PCV begins to break its umbilical cord with the insurrection showing interest to initiate a dialog with the government, supported by some Latin American communist parties that had not common ground with the Castrista’s fauvism. The communist orthodox wing resignation to the guerrilla plotting, ratified in year 1965, provoked a virulent reaction among those insurrect communists that were patronized, like Douglas Bravo, from La Havana. This Venezuelan PCV ambivalence had repercussions in the position that Castro and Che Guevara assumed soon after in Bolivia not having trust in the Bolivian Communist Party of Mario Monje to foment the guerrilla cell. Fidel Castro decided to usurp a mayor logistic responsibility in the Venezuelan guerrilla and in order to do so he ties the details with Douglas Bravo and Fabricio Ojeda. The first fruit would be the combine landing of Cubans and Venezuelans in July 1965, with participation of Petkoff who, aided by a terrorist assault, would make explode valuable oil pipelines of the Gulf Oil, Mobil Oil, Texas Petroleum and the Socony Oil in the oriental region of the nation. The government replied with the arrest of all members of the Venezuelan Communist Party and MIR. In August, Venezuelan security break up a broad complot design that Cubans conducted from Paris, by detaining Silvia Aguero and Elsa Braun, their key contacts in Venezuela. On March 1967 occurs the murder of Dr. Julio Iribarren -brother of the Venezuelan chancellor, by a commando that holds direct relationships (subordination) with Fidel Castro in La Havana. After the crime was committed, The Havanero daily Granma published the declarations of FALN’s guerrilla chief, Elías Manuit Camero, who claimed the action as carried out by his organization. President Leoni explained the preparation of this murder, and other previous acts of violence as performed with the consent of Cuba’s Government. The Venezuelan Minister of Internal Affairs and future president Carlos Andres Perez, declared that the responsibility for this entire situation was Castro’s, because of his methods in Venezuela. Pérez announced that it was time for Venezuela and all the Latin-American countries to decide to do something to face Cuba. Hector Mujica, head of the Venezuelan PCV [Communist Party], forcefully condemned the crime against Doctor Iribarren and criticized Cuban politics. The prominent point of controversy between Castro and the traditional Venezuelan communists took place during moments of great Havana’s euphoria, resulted from the guerrilla operations that Che Guevara was unleashing in Bolivia.On May 8th 1967 the Cuban vessel ‘Sierra Maestra’ set sail from Santiago de Cuba’s port unloading a guerrilla device [party] in Venezuelan inlets in a place between Machurucuto and Jinarapo. The Cuban invading force was discovered and annihilated by Venezuelan Army units. In the fight were captured Cuban military Antonio Briones Montoto, Manuel Gil, and Pedro Cabrera who committed suicide in prison. Montoto died drowned at the hands of his interrogators while being tortured. The Venezuelan government then got rid of what remained of the urban guerrilla’s infrastructure. The tension between the Venezuelan Stalinists and Castrists became a reflection of the tactical differences between Moscow and La Havana in regards to the taking of Venezuelan political power. Castro accused Venezuelan communists of treason for not wanting to attend the OLAS meeting in La Havana. The setback of the guerrilla cell in Africa, Bolivia, and the United States’ invasion of the Dominican Republic, determined the fate of the Venezuelan insurrects. Therefore, Fidel Castro started assuming a less strident international attitude and more conditioned by the Kremlin. His approval of the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia provoked the definitive schism with the Latin-American guerrilla; so the Caamaño project in the Dominican Republic along with the one of Douglas Bravo’s rebels in Venezuela was set aside by Fidel Castro.In June 1967 Castrista-Venezuelan guerrilla combatant Manuel Marcano rendered a declaration in front of an OAS’s special commission which minimized the Cuban subversion in Venezuela. Marcano, trained by the Cuban secret services, participated in numerous sabotages and terrorist actions against his own country. According to Marcano, Fidel Castro organized a Venezuelan unit that took part in the operations in the Escambray hills against Castro’s opponents, inside the Cuban Army, in the years 1960 to 1962. Venezuelans, along with other Latin-Americans, took courses in the Cuban war schools. Marcano testified the following:
- That Fidel Castro himself expressed to them how decisive was to strike Maracaibo’s zone because of the biggest oil pipelines located there, in order to create trouble for the government; likewise, that it was essential to blow up the supplies transport’s lines to give the feeling of a situation out control in the nation.
- That Fidel Castro had appointed him to carry out a combat mission in Venezuela coordinated with the general secretary of the Venezuelan MIR, Américo Martín.
- That by disposition of Fidel Castro, he controlled Aruba’s hallway, used thoroughly by La Havana, which perfectly functioned to introduce weapons along with “Cuban and Venezuelan combatants trained in Cuba”. He also declared that from there, MIR leader Américo Martín slipped away in a banana boat bounded for the English Checkpoint Charlie, in Berlin, complying with Fidel Castro orders.
- That in October 1966 he traveled to México where he received from the hands of Cuban agent Reginaldo Cepeda, secret communication keys created by the soviets; false documentation to enter Venezuela to infiltrate official resources to obtain Venezuelan coast tactical charts such as strategic places, Venezuelan Army Bases, and military vulnerable spots to provide it to Fidel Castro who would use them in the planning of the next armed incursions in Venezuela. In his declaration to Venezuelan authorities, Marcano manifested that, following Fidel Castro orders, he provided money to Journalist Menéndez, of the magazine ‘Sucesos,’ for several stories favorably portraying La Havana, and reveled how Cubans financed this Political magazine, along with a group of publications in France. Marcano’s last contact trip, to consult with his Cuban patrons, resulted like an odyssey, and he had to quickly move from Madrid to Paris and from there suddenly toward Berlin, due to the hound of occidental services maintained around Cuban agents. Once in Prague, he could finally have an interview with his superiors from the Cuban Intelligence General Direction that gave him $250,000.00. Amount of money that Américo Martín, from MIR, had requested to Fidel Castro. This money had been originally assigned to another armed organization, the FLN, belonging to the PCV; furthermore, Fidel Castro got the compromise to regularly give to MIR a monthly help of $25,000.00. Marcano accepted to transmit a direct order from Fidel Castro to the insurrects in Venezuela about not collecting funds of any European socialist country since Cuba would resolve any financial need. Cuban services demanded from him the kidnapping of Manuel Artime, head of the exiled Cuban counter revolution, who often visited Venezuela, to have him transferred to ‘El Bachiller’s guerilla in order to “soften” him, to be then transferred to Margarita’s Island and from there to Cuba under the action of sedatives. Fidel Castro also requested from him that his military intelligence dispositive could penetrate those Venezuelan military that were partaken in the Latin American Defense Board.
“We came on board at six in the morning on May 3rd 1967. Fidel spent all night long with us, accompanied by commander Guillermo Garcia Ponce -who was the chief of the Party in the orient area, by one of the Sierra Maestra combatants, and by his security people, including ‘de La Guardia’ brothers, Tony and Patricio All that night was devoted by Fidel to read and comment his Sierra Maestra war dispatches, that he carried with him in a voluminous and very well bound book, reading for us these documents and giving us orientations on how to proceed until we ran into the guerrilla that supposedly was located in a hamlet named ‘La América’, in the outskirts of ‘El Bachiller’s hill, in Miranda State. The landing should have taken place in a spot called El Cocal de los Muertos, as it is shown in the map: latitude 10 11’ 14 N; longitude 65 35’ 22 W. An area of coconut palms on a strip of sand very close to the road of the Orient, which will allow us to rapidly reach it, cross it and make way to the mountains without being discovered. We spent all that early morning doing that: silently listening to the incessant Fidel’s advice on how we should proceed. I remember around six in the morning that one of the security men told Fidel, who was still talking and talking and talking and giving us counsel: “Commander, the boys have to embark”. We then walked towards the dock – we had been transferred days before from Pinar del Rio to Santiago de Cuba and lodged in the impressive mansion that used to belong to the Bacardí family, owners of the famous Cuban Rum, a true palace with its own dock and enough spread and drench that a warship could dock there camouflaged as a fishing vessel, armed to the teeth. We embarked rapidly, always accompanied by Fidel, who came onboard with us. Then he presented those that were to leave in the expedition with a Rolex watch, that famous one, the submarine. “The best watch for a guerrilla man” he commented as he was giving us the watch, “Because it doesn’t matter the whereabouts, in the mountains, in the water, it works everywhere.” He gave each of us a watch – one to Moises Moleiro, to Eduardo Ortiz Bucaram, to Americo Silva and one for me. Also he gave us one additional Rolex to be given to Américo. “This one is to be handed to Américo.” This is because, as I have related before, he was supposed to be leading the fight in ‘El Bachiller’ guerrilla front. And as I related above, Fidel’s encounter with Américo in mid 1965, to which I also participated, lasted three whole days and nights, and it was extraordinarily affectionate. Fidel remained really impressed by Américo. He surrendered under his spell and took care of him in a splendid, very special way. To the point that when we were ready to embark he gave an extra watch to Moisés, with this specific commend: “Give this one to Américo.”Two commando speedboats should have left the main vessel approaching two miles from the coastline, in front of ‘El Cocal de los Muertos’. We were eight combatants on the actual landing boat, supposed to get infiltrated and four crew members in charge of the mission, specialized in landing tasks. They had previously participated in the landing of Luben Petkoff, Arnaldo Ochoa Sánchez and a group of 14 other Cubans that were integrated in the guerrilla front commanded by Douglas Bravo in the Falcón sierras [mountains]. There were four frogmen trained for this sort of operation: Tony Briones Montoto, Manolo Gil Castellanos, Torres, and a certain ‘Pico:’ people with great experience, whom, along with the eight guerrilla fighters constituted a crew of twelve men. Another twelve men -as well of great experience were in the other boat, for support, heavily armed and disposed to back us up in case of an emergency in the moment of the landing. That second boat had a direct order from Fidel to immediately engage in combat under any circumstance and to give us all possible support to perform the landing and the infiltration until coming across with El Bachiller’s guerrilla. Fidel instructions were forceful and very precise: in case of any emergency everyone should land and integrate into the guerrilla. Every one of us, included the crew members of both speedboats, was carrying ten thousand Dollars and ten thousand Bolivars in cash bills. We were 24 men in total, so we were transporting two hundred forty thousand dollars and two hundred forty thousand bolivars. At the exchange rate of 4.30 bolivars per dollar, [it was] an average of two thousand five hundred dollars extra per person, that is: sixty thousand dollars in Venezuelan money. For the time, it was a true fortune. At Fidel’s request, -who used to visit us in the middle of the night in the Pinar del Rio’s house where we slept during our training, to review even the smallest detail of our preparations- it was agreed to abandon the FAL, ---the Venezuelan Army combat weapon-, and carry AK 47. “At least for the landing and the first fire exchanges”, he had said to us. “It is much more efficient and light for those tasks. They will anyway get enough FAL [rifles] conquered from the enemy, the Venezuelan Army.” The name of the four Cubans in unforgettable because they were the highest meaningful combatants in the Cuban Army, which shows the extraordinary importance that Fidel assigned to the landing, and more in particular to the revolutionary war in Venezuela, that he believed it would be solved on our behalf in the short term. They were important not only for what they used to be but also for what they would become. They were: Commander Raúl Menéndez Tomassevich, maximum chief in the guerilla war against the peasants that rose up against Fidel Castro in ‘El Escambray’, the so called “Bandits’ War”, where he had life and death power widely exercised; subsequently general of division, member of the Main State, Cuban hero and head of the Africa’s mission, deceased; Captain Ulises Rosales del Toro, today a General of Division, member of the Cuban Communist Party Political Bureau Central Committee, member of the National Assembly of People’s Power, member of the State Council, Minister of Sugar since 1997 and currently the key man in the Nomenclature along with Raúl Castro, a Cuban hero. The picture was completed by Captain Silvio García Planas, and the Medical doctor of the misión, Harley Borges, an elite group. Add the presence in Falcón, along with another 14 Cuban revolutionary Army elite combatants, of Captain Arnaldo Ochoa Sánchez, who would become the most named and glorified general in the history of the Cuban Revolutionary Army, hero in Angola, in South Africa and Ethiopia, fighting at that time in the Falcón Guerrilla Front along with Douglas Bravo and Luben Petkoff; and now you can have an idea of what Venezuela meant to Fidel Castro. I must add an ironic fact that shows the cruelty of history: Ulises Rosales Del Toro and Raúl Menéndez Tomassevich were part of the military jury that sentenced General Arnaldo Ochoa Sánchez and Tony de la Guardia to death twenty years after these events, in 1988”.
“Early in the morning on that Friday, May 12 of 1967, I got an urgent phone call from Venezuelan chancellor Dr. Ignacio Iribarren Borges, asking me to go to his office as soon as possible. At that time, I was his personal political advisor and besides- I enjoyed President Leoni’s confidence. I was informed that, on the night of Wednesday May 10 until Thursday -May 11, our [Venezuelan] Army had captured two active members of the Cuban Armed Forces in the act of unloading Venezuelan guerilla trained in Cuba, in the Machurucuto’s Beach, facing the oriental extreme of Tacarigua’s lagoon. Another Cuban military have die during the operation. The Cuban captives –first lieutenant Manuel Gil Castellanos and militiaman Pedro Cabrera Torres- were interrogated by the SIFA (today known as the DIM) [Direction of Military Intelligence]. They have signed confessions that would be given to the press. My role would be to handle the diplomatic aspect of the matter by coordinating teamwork with the Minister of Foreign Affairs -Reinaldo Leandro Mora, Minister of Defense –General Ramón Florencio Gómez and General Martín Márquez Añez. On Monday, May 15, I attended a meeting with the chancellor, where the participants -besides the President Raúl Leoni, included citizens such as Leandro Mora, Iribarren Borges, Gonzalo Barrios, Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa, Jóvito Villalba, Jaime Lusinchi, Manuel Mantilla, Pedro París Montesinos, Raúl Nass, David Morales Bello, General Ramón F. Gómez, and General Márquez Añez among others. All participants –including Dr. Jóvito Villalba and Dr. Luis Beltrán Prieto- agreed on reporting Cuba before the International Community per interference and military aggression against Venezuela. However, this was a ‘nuanced’ agreement in regard the way to proceed and the scope of our report. Finally, it was accorded by consensus: to request a consultation meeting with The OAS based on the articles 39 and 40 of its letter, abstaining ourselves from invocating the Reciprocal Assistance Inter American Treaty. Similarly, it was decided to take the denunciation before the United Nations as a matter of information for them. In regard that moderate way to proceed, General Márquez Añez told me with concern, in a private conversation: “We, the Generals, understand that Diplomatic means to act are limited. But somehow you must show that what it needs to be defended is what the poet called “the sacred native soil.” Common people feel it that way. We have subalterns that would not tolerate [their] superiors -in charge of the National Defense, with a passive attitude. They will say: “What are those Generals good for?” The OAS sent and investigative commission to Venezuela that on Junes 24 and 25 performed unexpected inspections, and received from my hand one inform and a general explanation that I redacted at their request. That document was the base during a meeting of OAS chancellors for a subsequent condemnation of the Cuban interference in Venezuela.”
“I saw them for the first time and their presence inspired me enthusiasm. Tanned by the sun, slender and wiry, they seem to be animals of war”.
“Communists must live the revolution, eat it, breath it, dream about it. They must lie, deceive and even kill, no matter if it is their own mother” Lenin.