CHAPTER IX
INCREASE OF VIOLENCE AND VICTIMS

TWO IMPORTANT steps had to be carried out before the completion of my Presidential term and the inauguration of the new government February 24, 1959: holding general elections and harvesting the sugar cane crop. The election machinery had to be set up, and the sugar mill equipment repaired two months before starting operations. Meetings of the party chiefs and Congressional leaders emphasized the need to hold the elections as early as possible. Railroads and highways were increasingly hit by saboteurs, and the Army seemed unable to prevent destruction. Trains were frequently surprised and the engineers and conductors forced to hand them over to the attackers, who then sent the unmanned locomotives hurtling on at full speed. This sabotage caused many accidents and damage, and created panic among the railroad workers who, nevertheless, always tried to complete their runs.

Many farmers, political leaders and workers were killed in their own homes or on their way to work. A few examples among the hundreds of victims are: the candidate for Councilman of Santiago de Cuba, Nicolás Rivero Agüero, brother of the Presidential candidate of the Government parties and brother also of Luis Conte Agüero, one of the insurrectionist leaders; the Secretary of the dock-workers union in the capital of Oriente and Vice President of the National Maritime Federation, Felipe Navea, killed in the presence of his wife at dinner; the candidate for Representative, schoolteacher Aníbal Vega

-74-

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