The Lies He Told

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As I opened my eyes the darkness that surrounded me slowly evaporated, and my blurry vision soon came into focus. I had no idea where I was but I didn’t care, my head hurt too much to think about where I was. I lifted my head towards the light shining through the window to the right of me and it only made the incredible pain in my head worse. The room smelt of sweat and I could hear the constant dripping of water coming from the ceiling, splashing into a small puddle that had manifested itself in one of the corners of the room.

I realised that I was in some kind of prison cell, and I tried to remember how exactly I got there, but I couldn’t, all I could remember was that the current year was either 1959 or 1960, it was definitely one of the two. I tried to remember the closest memory I could, and my mind suddenly flashed back to a day in the summer of ‘53.

It was July 27th, 1953. I walked along the side of a large convenient store in Havana with my friend Carlos. The city was somewhat lively and the smell of fresh sandwiches and other foods overwhelmed the streets. Carlos and I had just graduated high school a month before and neither of us had a job. We walked we talked about our dreams of the future and what jobs we hoped to take. We were quickly stopped by a paperboy who demanded that we buy a paper. I had no money but Carlos did, and so he gave the boy the money and we continued walking.

Carlos quickly alerted me to the headline on the front page of the newspaper. “Rebels attack Santiago military barracks!” the paper read. I responded by telling Carlos how happy I was that someone was finally taking a stand against the evil Batista regime, but Carlos just shrugged the statement off and placed the paper under his arm. You see, Carlos really didn’t mind if Batista were to stay in power because his father was very wealthy, and so they received many great benefits from the government. My family on the other hand, was of a lower class. We lived in poverty and because of that, we received absolutely no help from the government.

Four years later in 1957 not much had changed in Cuba. Sure, the rebels were mentioned quite a lot and Fidel Castro was basically a household name, but Batista was still in rule and my family remained poor. I had been working as a mechanic for about 3 years at the same auto shop. We didn’t do much business and the pay wasn’t good but it was all I could get without a college education, something I couldn’t get because of my families financial situation. One day, I was confronted by a young man who had just begun to work at the shop, he knew that I supported the rebels and so he told me of a plan he had been told about.

He told me that he had been informed by a rebel friend of his to go to the Sierra Maestra mountains to Castro’s rebel camp so that we could help with the revolution. I couldn’t believe my ears, the chance to help Fidel Castro remove Batista from power and make Cuba a better place! I asked him when we were going to leave, and he told me that we would take his father’s truck the next morning. As he promised, we left the next morning and made it to the camp by following a map given to us by his rebel friend. After arriving at the camp we listened to a speech given to us by Fidel himself, and later we made ourselves at home, knowing that this was our new family.

I helped the rebels for many years, going with them on different missions and I watched as more and more people joined our cause. Not long after, we had basically obtained a small army of soldiers willing to fight for a free Cuba. We were on the verge of overthrowing Batista and eventually on January 2nd 1959, we took control of Cuba and we were free at last, or so I thought.

A couple months after we took control of Cuba, I received a letter from my mother telling me that my father was arrested for conspiring against Castro and the government, and because of this, my entire family (including me) would be charged even though I was never involved. It was at that point that I realized the lies that Castro had spread, he had promised an equal and free country, but this was not a free country, it was a prison, and Castro was the warden.





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