Unvanquished --- Cuba's Resistance to Fidel Castro --- A Book Review

Article Type: 
Book Review
Published Date: 
Monday, June 28, 2004

Enrique Encinosa's most awaited, comprehensive history (in English) of the Cuban people's struggle against the 45-year-old communist dictatorship of Fidel Castro has finally arrived. The book chronicles in riveting detail, chapter after chapter, the heroism displayed by the Cuban people in their fight against repression and tyranny.

Encinosa uses the voice of the actual participants (who he has carefully interviewed over the years) to tell the story - and what an epic (and brutal) story he has to tell to his widening readership!

The book covers the triumph of the Revolution in 1959; the subsequent disillusionment of many revolutionary leaders as they realize that Castro was building a communist police state; the founding of the resistance movement and the underground networks; the rounding up of the opposition; the development of the rebel insurgency in the Escambray mountains and elsewhere, opposing communism and collectivism; the betrayal at the Bay of Pigs; the courageous struggle of the political prisoners (particularly the plantados); the heating up of the Escambray wars and Castro's massive retaliation in the Luchas Contra Bandidos (the so-called war against bandits); the Mariel Boatlift; the Guantanamo refugee crisis; the Elian Gonzalez tragedy; the development of the civil resistance movement, including the growing number of dissidents; the newly formed independent journalists and the independent librarians; the downing of the Brothers to the Rescue humanitarian planes in February 1996 and the uncovering of the Red Wasp espionage ring; the Varela Project; the intensification of repression, culminating with Castros most recent crackdown against the dissident movement; the incarceration of 75 political opponents, journalists and librarians (all sentenced to long prison terms ranging from 20 to 26 years); and the execution of three Afro-Cubans who attempted to hijack a ferry to escape Castros workers paradise.

"Unvanquished" is a well-written book that deserves to be turned into a historic documentary, recounting the historic resistance of the Cuban people against the long tyrannical government of Fidel Castro; or perhaps a cliffhanger, motion picture telling the dramatic story of the Escambray campesino, anti-communist insurgency of the 1960s, noting the lives of such heroic figures as Osvaldo Ramirez, Tomasito San Gil, Julio Emilio Carretero, etc.

But don't hold your breath waiting for Hollywood. It won't happen anytime soon, and certainly not while the tyrant is still alive. Besides, the truth is that Castro, the Caribbean tyrant, is still worshipped in many segments of the American intelligentsia, particularly the Hollywood crowd, like Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg.

And don't hold your breath waiting for Enrique Encinosa to be invited to go on the lecture circuit to speak in the ivory towers of American universities (like unrepentant Cuban communist Comandante Victor Dreke) on the topic of Cuban resistance to communist tyranny. It won't happen. Fidel Castro will not be embarrassed either in the last bastion of Marxism in the United States - the American universities.

Enrique Encinosa's "Unvanquished - Cuba's Resistance to Fidel Castro" is a must-read book that belongs in the library of all freedom-loving citizens and Americans who may want to know more about Cuba, the beautiful island to the south and the on-going, 45-year tragedy of the Cuban people. The recent history of Cuba and the socialist police state it became has important lessons for America.

And, first and second generation Cuban Americans, particularly, should make sure their children and grandchildren get a copy of this book and learn about Cuban history and the land of their forefathers. How can they understand the present and their parent's generation if they do not know and understand what the past has wrought?

Encinosa's magnum opus very aptly ends with a quotation by one of the leaders of the dissident movement, Vladimiro Roca (ironically the son of Blas Roca, one of the founders of Cuba's communist party): "The Cuban situation is in its final stage. We are at the end of the chess game and we don't know which move will decide the change, but I am sure that the end is very near." Indeed, injustice never lasts forever.


Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. Author, Cuba in Revolution Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002; www.haciendapub.com) Editor emeritus, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

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