Maleconazo: A rumor of freedom that shook the Castro dictatorship“We now know that any method or model which purportedly aims to achieve justice, development, and efficiency but takes precedence over the individual or cancels out any of the fundamental rights leads to a form of oppression and to exclusion and is calamitous for the people.” – Oswaldo Paya, Strasbourg, December 17, 2002
Cubans have been fleeing the dictatorship in Havana for decades, but there is one episode that stands out that shook the Castro regime to its very core. It has become known as the Maleconazo. Less than a month after the “13 de Marzo” tugboat massacre of July 13, 1994 a thousand Cubans were marching and shouting for freedom. On that same night as the uprising, Fidel Castro, was re-framing the circumstances surrounding the attack and sinking of the tugboat that claimed the lives of 37 men, women and children. The following account is taken and translated from the Spanish newspaper ABC and from testimony by “13 de Marzo” tugboat survivor Sergio Perodin.
500 Cubans gathered on August 5, 1994 on the pier “de la Luz”, to take the launch that goes to Regla and Casablanca because there was a rumor that it would again be diverted to Florida. It was a rumor of a path to freedom that these 500 people had seized upon.
Military trucks arrive and announce the suspension of the launches departure and disperse the crowd. People walking along the Malecón (The Havana Sea Wall) join the dispersed crowd and gather near the Castillo de la Real Fuerza (Castle of the Royal Force). A thousand Cubans began to march shouting Freedom through the streets of Havana.
That 500 Cubans would gather to flee the island is not a new phenomenon but that another 500 would join them to march and call for freedom was something new and an unexpected development for the security services.
After marching for a kilometer, a hundred Special Brigade members and plain clothes police confront the protesters.
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