During the early years of the Castro Regime when my parents were teenagers, they attended two separate schools in Havana. My mom attended Instituto de Mariano and one day after school, my mom and a group of her classmates decided to have a peaceful protest, to speak out against the land reform laws being implemented by Castro. They thought they still lived in a democracy.
The school my dad attended Instituto Tecnologico de Marianao, was run by a Spaniard by the name of Grasiano Lipiz. He was a refugee from the Spanish Civil War, when Franco was in power. Lipiz was a Communist, who was now free to show who he really was. He literally brought wood sticks and handed them out to his students and ordered them to go out on the street and beat up the “worms” from the other school, who were protesting. This is kind of how a civilian police works. They were all just 15 and 16 year old kids. My dad who didn’t even know that my mom was in the other school, remembers, thinking, “Why should I beat them up, they haven’t done anything to me”. He blended in with a crowd and disappeared-he was good at that. Years later when sent to the work camps, he would stand in the back so the sergeant who had a photographic memory, so that he couldn’t memorize his face.
Many students followed Lipiz order and during the scuffle, the police showed up and started arresting the protesters and not the attackers! My mom avoided being arrested when she ran and jumped on a bus. Many of her classmates were not so lucky and were arrested. My grandparents took her out of school after that incident and she lost contact with her friends.
Years later, when my parents shared stories, they realized how lucky they were and how disturbing that evil can rise up in the most unexpected places.This story happened in the early sixties, but thousands of others followed it and this violence against it's citizens goes on today. If you ever wonder why the Cuban people don't revolt; it's fear of retaliation by the authorities, that will stop at nothing to keep them slaves.