372. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State 1

876. Re Embtel 866.2 This morning local radio stations began broadcasting reports that Captain Orestes Valera and Captain Jorge [Page 630] Enrique Mendoza Reboredo both in Camaguey had denounced Commandante Huber Matos as “traitor to revolution” and that he had resigned as result.

Consular agent Tate reports by phone that last night bulk of Camaguey population including many civilian officials government and 26 July movement there solidly supported Matos. Civilian officials wished resign in gesture support but Matos dissuaded them saying act would harm revolution. Adds Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos arrived Camaguey early this morning and immediately took over all radio stations and started appealing to population for support. At 10 local time people were being urged to congregate at local INRA head-quarters and march unarmed on local garrison where Matos understood located. Leaders of labor unions and government officials handling public works projects ordering workers join. Leader of 26 July campesino group calling for campesinos to ride on Camaguey for same purpose. Matos being denounced as “traitor and coward, afraid of Trujillo and North American chancery”.

Tate describes this as unnecessary demagoguery, undoubtedly successful in arousing lower elements population and swinging sentiment away from Matos. Says understands Matos turned in all arms when resigned, and has repeatedly urged followers to continue at posts. Says basic cause appears be Matos belief INRA under Communist control and constitutes threat to correct objectives revolution. However, rumors here that Matos hiding or revolting and troops being sent from Habana. Possible Tate reluctant give precise picture because known censorship telephonic communications.

Tate says Valera a local extremist labor leader. Mendoza is in charge of INRA operations Camaguey province. He added “good will” mission 26 July representatives touring South America early months this year. Reportedly made several anti-American and pro-Communist public remarks at that time. Quoted March 15 by Peking radio as having expressed admiration for CPR and its program at meeting with ChiCom troupe in Santiago de Chile.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/10–2159. Confidential; Niact.
  2. In telegram 866, dated October 20, Bonsal reported that the U.S. Consular Agent at Camaguey, Paul Tate, had telephoned to report to the Embassy in guarded language that the Military Commander of that province, Huber Matos, had resigned that morning. According to Tate’s source, Matos had resigned because of his conviction that the government was firmly in the control of Guevara and Raul Castro and other Leftists and pro-Communists. Many officers had reportedly resigned in support of Matos and others were expected to. Matos was said to believe that the resignation might be kept quiet for a while so it would not adversely affect the convention in Havana of the American Society of Travel Agents. (ibid., 737.00/10–2059)