1st January 2019, apart from being the first day of this year, was also the 60th anniversary of Fidel Castros triumph in taking on the leadership of Cuba.
Friday the 25th January, saw 30 members of Torrevieja U3A Military History group attend their first meeting of the year at Manuel’s Bar, Los Balcones. The theme of the day was the Cuban Revolution and was ‘hosted’ by the Group Leader Felipe. Because of his personal history Felipe was able to give a first hand report on the ongoing events that were to occur in Cuba. On the day, he was ably assisted by his brother Juan who had flown over to Spain especially for the occasion.
This balanced and compelling ‘Talk’ was a fast paced and action packed presentation of the Revolution, perhaps worthy of a Tom Clancy novel. The group were taken on a journey from the initial uprising in 1953 against the Batista Government, the involvement of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, acts of ‘daring do’, Guerrilla warfare, decisive battles and onto the fall of the Batista Government following the battle of Santa Clara led by Che Guevara.
Not ending there, the talk naturally moved on to the ‘Cold War’ conflict, the CIA and the Bay of Pigs invasion, then onto the Cuban Missile crisis.
Within this latter period, reference was made to Operation Pedro (Peter) Pan, which was the airlift of 14,000 Cuban minor refugees to the USA and the comparisons between this Operation and the evacuation of the Basque children during the Spanish Civil War as well as the Kindergarten Transport, when children were removed from Germany prior to the Second World War.
Probably the most powerful part of this presentation were the personal anecdotes of both Felipe and brother Juan. Felipe was only aged 14 when he escaped with his family to the US where the family settled. Eventually Felipe joined up in the US army and rose through the ranks to the rank of Colonel, taking part in various other conflicts before finally retiring to Germany.
The Military History group is one of many thriving groups available to members of the Torrevieja U3A, information on all these various activity groups can be found on their website along with details of obtaining membership.