CHAPTER XVII
TARDY NOMINATIONS AND A USELESS SACRIFICE

WITH RIO CHAVIANO withdrawn, I decided to replace him with Col. José Eleuterio Pedraza. The latter, in retirement, had been promoted to the rank of Major-General by a law passed by Congress promoting to that rank all who had served in the past as Chief of Staff.

The nomination of Pedraza displeased many, including Gen. Tabernilla who, understandably, had not forgotten that the latter had threatened his life in the conspiracy of 1941.* But his son had been among the victims of the strike of April 9. His son had been a man of 25, hard-working, friendly, sympathetic, and healthy. He was shot to death on his way home on leaving the garage which he owned and operated. Gen. Pedraza, having demonstrated his desire to fight in the Army against the murderers of his son--although he had not accepted three months earlier--was called to active service as Military Chief of Las Villas, a territory almost entirely in the hands of the enemy.

In those last moments we thought of leaving the substitute in charge of the Las Villas headquarters and with forces transported by plane from Oriente unite with whatever troops were available in Havana and Matanzas, and advance through Cienfuegos to the south of Santa Clara. We could thus reinforce that command, practically the only one resisting the rebels.

Guantánamo was considered lost, and orders were given to Gen. Cantillo, days before the unfortunate interview, to transfer the forces under Lieut. Col. Arcadio Casillas Lumpuy through

____________________
*
See Chapter XXXVIII.

-108-

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