CHAPTER XVI
A RETIREMENT AND A NEW TWIN PLAN

I ORDERED THE Chief of the Army to relieve Gen. Río Chaviano of the command of Las Villas and decreed his immediate retirement. Later, when I was aware of the talks which had taken place, I discussed the ethics of his conduct with the Joint Chief of Staff and admonished him for his actions. Gen. Tabernilla Dolz told me that Gen. Río Chaviano and Col. Rosell had actually talked with some rebel leaders. He added emphatically, with a violent tirade against his brother-in-law, that he had known nothing about it; if he had known, he would have informed me.*

____________________
*
". . . the old man acted in good faith. I also believe this is true, because he himself told me, before you ordered the retirement of Río Chaviano, that the latter was a traitor and a scoundrel, because he had surrendered the Province. (Wrote his son in a letter dated below.)

"You must have received his letter in which he explains that he acted in good faith, seeking an honorable solution in view of the direction events had taken: Oriente, with the whole countryside and many towns in the hands of the rebels, and Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo and Holguín seriously threatened; fighting on several fronts in Camagüey and the Chief of the regiment pleading for reinforcements; Las Villas, with many towns in the hands of the enemy after the surrender of most of the garrisons without a shot fired, obeying, surely, the order of their traitorous commander. At the end, we fought in Santa Clara against an enemy superior in numbers and morale and with the decisive support of the civil population. In Matanzas some rebel groups had infiltrated. Rebels appeared in the slopes of Madruga, in the Province of Havana, and bandits were active in Pinar del Río. The rest of the island each day more isolated from Havana, the main bridges blown up by saboteurs, railway and highway transportation practically paralyzed, fuel and provisions in low supply in the towns, and the sugar harvest about to begin, with very

-104-

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