Friday, October 26, 2012

Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, R.I.P.

A Spaniard with an indelible accent, he commanded revolutionary troops in the Escambray mountains, turned against the Revolution and took up arms against it, spent 22 years in jail, was freed and went abroad only to become the rare opponent of the Cuban government to return to Cuban soil in 2003 to oppose it through civic means.  That last political initiative never took off, and he seems to have lived quietly in Havana ever since.  He died there yesterday.  Herald story here.


Antonio said...

Sad, Menoyo was a brave man, whose movement has been completely erased from Cuban history by Castro.

The third person in Peter's pic is William Morgan, who served under Menoyo in the Sierra Escambray.

I don't know if other readers are aware, but Menoyo lost a brother in the fight against General Franco in Spain, then another brother died in the attempt to assassinate Batista in 1957, where they stormed the presidential palace.

Anonymous said...

Menoyo was a honest Cuban patriot that loved his country dearly and served it with total devotion ad dedication.

But there was a Quijotesque quality about him very typical to his Hispanic heritage in that he was very romantic and impulsive and that he frequently was extremely unpractical, minimized the difficulties ahead and took on more than he could handle.

Invading Cuba after the Bay of Pigs with two other followers to topple the Castro regime and after 22 years in jail as a political prisoner, returning from exile to the island to attempt to create a peaceful political opposition, strike me as two feats that compete with "The knight of the Sad Figure's" attempt to tilt with windmills.

He was frequently misunderstood and criticized for such romantic undertakings but not for his honesty, sincerity and dedication to his country.

The biggest cross he had to bear was the lack of appreciation of many of his countrymen for his personal efforts.

It is perhaps fitting that a part of his ashes will be strewn over the Escambray mountains where he led a Guerrilla force against Batista and gained national prominence.

It is fitting for his ashes to return to the scene where he achieved the greatest happiness and recognition in his romantic life.

Sometime in the future when Cuba overcomes her present crisis and lives less polemical times, historians and posterity will be able to make a more balanced evaluation of his adventurous life and his significance and role in Cuba's recent epoch.

But undoubtedly he was a larger than life figure who was idealistic, fearless and totally devoted to his country.

His personal tragedy was that he could not accomplish his goals. His greatness in that against all odds he was willing to try to reach them.

Don Quijote tilting against the windmills is a frequently recurrent theme throughout Spanish and Latin American history.

Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo was a clear example of this.

My sincere condolences to his family, friends and followers.

Eloy, I will always remember you with fondness and nostalgia as a true hero of Cuba and as a genuine example of Hispanic personal character.

Adios mi hermano. Te he admirado y querido y te recordare siempre!


Tony Gonzalez said...

A truly great and courageous man who, having the chance to speak to the press, openly criticized Castro's tyranny and ended up spending further time in prison. I discussed the future of a democratic Cuba with him a few years back and asked if he were interested in one day running for President of a free Cuba. He advised that since he wasn't born in Cuba, he would likely not be accepted. I told him that, in fact, maybe that that should be a first requirement of anyone running for Cuban president...that they couldn't be born there. He laughed tremendously and filled my Miami home with great warmth. A great loss for a future Cuba.