CHAPTER XXIII
A SAD SUGGESTION

IT WAS BELIEVED that my resignation would bring peace. The soldiers would return to their barracks and blood would no longer flow between brothers; commerce and industry would be relieved; individuals, political parties, and the press would enjoy greater freedom with the cessation of hostilities. In short, Cuba would be happy.

Members of the social "elite," as also merchants, industrialists, journalists, priests, and even those favored by the dying regime, had no doubts that the legalization of the terrorists who "fought for our freedom" would result in peace and the free exercise of opinion. These were sad suggestions.

The country was to continue to function under a constitutional formula without me. I was told I should leave the country to guarantee the cease-fire and the pacification of the country. There was no need for the Chiefs of the military districts of the Provinces of Havana and Matanzas to do the same. They would not have any difficulties, it was said, and could cooperate with the new Government.*

"In an effort to stop bloodshed, the President has resigned. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Dr. Carlos M. Piedra, has been designated President of the Republic.

"The President has left the country. The Chief of the Joint Commands, the Chief of Staff of the Navy, the Chief of the National Police, have also left the country. The Chairman of the Senate, the Vice President of the Republic, and some high ranking officers of the armed forces, have resigned. Thus, I have assumed command of the armed forces.'"

____________________
*
General Cantillo called a meeting of the staff of the armed forces before dawn of the 1st January, 1959 and told them: "The great responsibility of serving the country and putting an end to this civil war that has cost so many lives, has fallen on my shoulders as well as yours.

-134-

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