Remembering victims of ’13th of March’ tugboat massacre, July 13, 1994
There are more than 54 years worth of examples of why the Castro dictatorship is deserving of contempt.
One of the more egregious is the “13th of March” Tugboat Massacre, July 13, 1994, during which Castro forces murdered 37 men, women and children whose only crime was trying to escape Cuba.
The Cuba Archive has the definitive account, complete with biographical sketches about the victims:
In 1994, popular dissatisfaction with the Castro regime had deepened as Cuba endured a severe economic crisis amidst continued repression. Although the country?s laws forbid citizens from leaving without government authorization and punishes violations with years of prison, attempts to escape by any means had been growing exponentially.
On July 13, 1994, at around three in the morning under the cover of darkness, around seventy men, women, and children boarded the recently renovated tugboat “13 de Marzo.” They planned to escape the island by making the ninety-mile journey across the Straits of Florida, hoping to reach freedom in the United States. Many also sought the means to send help back to the family they were leaving behind.
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel (Eddy), a computer engineer who had attempted unsuccessfully to flee on several occasions, came up with the idea. Obsessed with the idea of finding a way out of Cuba, he convinced his brother in law, Fidencio Ramel Prieto, to take the tugboat and serve as skipper. Ramel, who was in charge of operations at the Port of Havana, served as one of its Communist Party secretaries and had twenty-five years of commendable service at the port. This gave him access to the tugboat, which belonged to the state enterprise Empresa de Servicios Marítimos. With all vessels in Cuba under government ownership and tightly controlled to prevent escapes, this access was no small feat. Raúl Muñoz, a friend and fellow port worker who had been harbor pilot of the “13 de Marzo” and was now the pilot for another tugboat, was recruited to pilot the tugboat for the escape. Several more men joined in to develop the plot.
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