CHAPTER XVIII
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE INTERVIEW

ONE DAY, AS I was lunching, an aide informed me that he had overheard an officer saying that Gen. Eulogio Cantillo had been ordered by the Joint Chief of Staff to hold an interview with the rebel leader Fidel Castro.* At this time, Gen. Cantillo was chief of a vast territory, the most vital and strategic, Oriente Province. He was in command of more than 15,000 men with the best armament available and most of the Army's armored units. His headquarters were in the eastern capital and Naval land forces and sea units were also under his control.

The same afternoon I had a visit from my son Rubén. He told me that Lieut. Col. José Martínez Suárez was anxious to speak to me about an important problem. I made an appointment for 8 that night.

Martínez Suárez informed me that Gen. Cantillo had left for Oriente that day on orders of Gen. Tabernilla Dolz. When Cantillo came to the offices of the Joint Command in Havana, he

____________________
*
On Dec. 22, 1958, at a meeting between several generals and colonels at the headquarters of the Joint Command, it was agreed to establish contact with the terrorist rebels to hear plans for a truce and then submit them, as they said, to the consideration of Gen. Batista. Later, already in exile in Miami, Gen. "Silito" Tabernilla told me that the order was issued by his father, Gen. Francisco Tabernilla Dolz, anxious to achieve a settlement. (Words of Lieut. Col. Irenaldo García Báez, ex- Chief of the S.I.M. on June 22, 1959, on a visit to the Hotel Jaragua, Santo Domingo, when he spoke to a group of people which included Doctors Andrés Domingo and Florencio Guerra, Maj. Manuel Atorresagasti, Capt. Arsenio Labrada, and Lieutenants César Noble and Rogelio González.)

-110-

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