Seventeen years ago today in the predawn hours of Wednesday, July 13th, 1994, 72 Cubans attempted a daring escape from the island prison of Fidel Castro by climbing aboard a tugboat named “13 de marzo” and heading north to freedom. Just 7 miles from the shores of Havana, they were intercepted by Castro military boats, which proceeded to attack the escaping vessel with high-pressure water hoses.
The Cubans on the tugboat attempted to evade the brutal onslaught, but the surrounding attack vessels relentlessly shot their water cannons at the boat until its hull gave way and split open. The tugboat “13 de marzo” began to slip into the sea, and when the last of its structure dipped below the water never to be seen again, it took 37 Cubans with it, including 10 children.
The “13 de marzo” Tugboat Massacre will forever be remembered as one of the most vile and barbarous massacres in the history of the Castro dictatorship. Although the number murdered in this brutal attack are only a tiny fraction of the total number of Cubans murdered by the Castro regime, the sheer brutality and inhumanity of this act by the dictatorship puts this crime in its own heinous category.
10 innocent children, including infants and toddlers, had their lives violently extinguished, and were unceremoniously buried in a watery grave. They were joined by 27 other Cubans who met the same fate.
It is important to remember that the only crime these 72 Cubans committed was the crime of wanting to be free. The crime of no longer tolerating enslavement, and no longer accepting misery and desperation at the hands of a brutal and murderous regime.
We will never forget the victims of the “13 de marzo” Tugboat Massacre, and one day, when Cuba is finally free, a memorial will be erected in their memory and honor.
Make sure to check out Pedazos de la Isla and their post on the anniversary of the massacre HERE.
The documentary “Victims of the 13 de marzo Tugboat”: