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July 13th and 13 de Marzo
Wednesday, July 13, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

Another despicable act

Today is the anniversary of a dark day in Cuba's history.  It began earlier in 1994 - the Soviet Union had collapsed and fidel no longer had his sugar daddy. People in Cuba were starving, tractors were stalled in the fields from lack of gasoline, and horse-drawn carriages had returned to the streets of Havana.

On July 13, 1994, 72 Cubans, many of the women and children, climbed aboard an old tug boat, the 13 de Marzo. The planned to make their escape to freedom in the United States.  As later found by The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, four Cuban patrol boats attacked the tug seven miles off the coast.  The Cuban boats first fired water cannon, then rammed the boat and sank it.  41-people died - many of them children  31-people survived to write their stories of that awful day.

The three Polargo tug boats surrounded our ship and began using the high pressure water hoses once again forcing "13 de Marzo" to get away from the coast. They crashed "13 de Marzo" intentionally again and over again, trying to overturn us. But "13 de Marzo"'s structure was really strong. Then they decided to stand one in front and one behind us. The Polargo behind us hit "13 de Marzo" several times until our tug boat began to sink. When they saw our ship was sinking, the Polargo behind us rode 13 de Marzo's stern. Fifty percent of "13 de Marzo" was already under water at that time.

About 30 people remained trapped into "13 de Marzo"'s holds. Those of us who could reach the water surface saw how the Polargos were making whirlpools around us at a high speed. They remained doing this for over 40 minutes. Obviously, they were trying not to leave survivors who could become dangerous witnesses. A group of 15 to 18, including my son Sergio and I, grabbed a floating ice box. So we could survive. We knew nothing about other members of our family also on "13 de Marzo".

Humberto Fontova writes more at News Max.

A few miles into the turbulent sea, 30-year-old Maria Garcia felt someone tugging her sleeve. She looked down and it was her 10-year-old son, Juan. "Mami, look!" and he pointed behind them toward shore. "What's those lights?"

"Looks like a boat following us, son," she stuttered while stroking his hair. "Calm down, mi hijo (my son). Try to sleep. When you wake up, we'll be with our cousins in a free country. Don't worry." In fact, Maria suspected the lights belonged to Castro patrol boats coming out to intercept them.

Read the whole thing.

Also, Vigilia Mambisa will be holding a vigil today in Miami.

Press Release

On Wednesday morning, July 13, at 11 am, the human rights organization Vigilia Mambisa will hold a commemoration of the anniversary of the capricious slaughter of 41 innocent and unarmed victims, most of who were children, by agents of the totalitarian regime of Fidel Castro that rammed and sunk the tugboat Trece de Marzo.

The ceremony will take place at the memorial at the corner of West Flagler Street and 17th Avenue, Miami, Florida. After the ceremony, the group will move to the water's edge behind the Hermita de la Caridad, where flower wreaths will be dropped from a boat into the water of the bay in memory of the victims.

Miguel Saavedra, President
Vigilia Mambisa
(786) 326-9986

Those of us who can't be in Miami can remember the victims in our prayers.

Folks still living on the island suffered again last week as Hurricane Dennis struck. Mora has posted a most interesting article from Investors Business Daily about the plans to send aid without involving fidel.  The CANF is planning to do the same.


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