Pedro Roig

* 1940  

  • “The problem is: who is the one who determines what is the common good, and how should it be shared? And then the answer they give is (and here there is something now semi-religious, semi-mystical): a group of predetermined, pre-chosen individuals, who are very ideologically pure, who are what they call the vanguard of the process. That vanguard is the one who determines what is the common good, is the one that determines how the media are distributed and that vanguard is also the one that punishes. There is a sentence of Jean Jacques Rousseau in which he says: I am going to freed you, even if I have to force you to be free.”

  • “I rebel because they do not allow me to say what I want to say. And when I feel... and it is an elementary thing... but at the moment when I felt that I had to be careful with what I was going to say because it could have bad consequences, so at that moment I felt that it did not fit into this process. And since I was raised to fight, I decided to fight. I went to Santiago and in Santiago, among my friends, I remember that it was precisely in my beloved school Dolores, where a group of friends told me: in the United States, a group is being formed that the Americans are going to train to fight to change this situation. At that time, it was being said that [Castro] could be a Communist, but Castro was still denying that he was a Communist. When I joined this struggle, this new struggle was for freedom of expression. Let me say without fear of reprisal what I want to say! I want freedom of expression. Just a couple of people knew that it [the situation in Cuba] was going to be worse than what I was living at that moment.”

  • “What is the problem and why is it a fragile succession? Because the legitimacy of the revolution has or had a lot to do with three elements: the charisma of Fidel Castro which already ended, the semi-religious vision towards the Marxist ideology, which came along with motivation, and the third element was the loyalty to the revolution, which could not detour from the Marxist ideology, and if it did, then it was punished. The Cuban army has been shrinking, it is moving within the commercial world, but the Ministry of the Interior is still in force, which is where the great forces are still being concentrated at this moment. When seeing this as an average, it is not enough to stay in power. They are fighting for a legitimacy that would only be possible if they managed to improve the quality of life of the Cuban people. If they are unable to improve the quality of life of the Cubans, and I am not talking about a civil war, but I believe, that due to the culture of violence in which the revolution had developed, the people would start killing among them all at the moment when the problems which cannot be solved, arrive. The situation is being lost by the economic crisis and the legitimacy of that process.”

  • “In the end it was decided to cancel, thus to abort this operation, and after several orders and counter orders, we were sent to the Bay of Pigs, where our ship arrived on April 17 [1961] at about three o’ clock in the afternoon. The situation was so confusing that at that moment, one of the ships of our brigade almost mistook our ship with a Castro’s ship, and they almost shot at us and sank us down there, at the Bay of Pigs. This showed us to what degree of confusion had been created in those moments. The Bay of Pigs was a very serious mistake because the essential premises of control of the beach and the airspace were not fulfilled.”

  • “Later on, I joined Jorge Mas Canosa at the Cuban American National Foundation and we changed the concept. We started lobbying in Washington, and we were very successful because by that time, we – so my generation, which had managed to gain an economic and financial prominence, so we did not need more money from anyone. We had our money, our economy, our funds, and we invested them in doing this lobbying that was enormously successful. What we did was to make pay a price every American politician who would ally with the Castro’s. We were searching for all those, and we cared very little if they were Democrats or Republicans. So, we were searching for all American congressmen and politicians who were allying with Castro, and we were giving money to his opposite candidate. And when they realized that we were doing, there was a price that they had to pay to a group of Cubans who from Miami... went to Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Dakota... wherever... there we were arriving with that money for the opposition candidate. Well, step by step, we created respect and prestige and that led us to have a great influence in Washington.”

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    Miami, 18.05.2017

    (audio)
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I rebel because they don‘t let me say what I want to

Pedro Roig during the interview, Miami, May 2017
Pedro Roig during the interview, Miami, May 2017
zdroj: archivo de Post Bellum

Pedro Roig was born on July 24, 1940 in Santiago de Cuba. His father was a lawyer, a notary and a history teacher, and his mother was an English language teacher. He has three brothers. Pedro was educated in a Jesuit school called Dolores, and considers that from the Jesuits, he received an excellent education. He fought against the Batista régime, so his parents decided to send him to the United States. After the victory of Fidel Castro‘s revolution, he returned to Cuba with high expectations. However, he later came to understand that Fidel Castro‘s regime was converting into a totalitarian system. He decided to go back to the United States to join the group of Cuban people in exile, who later became the 2506 Brigade. Due to the failure of the operation in the Bay of Pigs, he returned to the United States where he trained in Law and worked as director of the Radio and Television Martí. He also worked at the Cuban American National Foundation where he dedicated himself to influence the policy of the United States to weaken the government of Fidel Castro.