EspañolHuber Matos Benítez, one of Fidel Castro’s closest commanders during the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in Havana, died today at age 95 in Miami, Florida. He had suffered a massive heart attack two days ago and had been hospitalized since then.
After the arrival of Batista to power in Cuba, Matos’s disagreements with the regime forced him into exile in Costa Rica. He then joined Castro, and eventually became commander of the Army of Camagüey, after the triumph of the revolution. He was with the revolutionary leader in the caravan that entered Havana in 1959, marking the triumph of the revolt against Batista.
Matos was then, however, the first commander to show his disagreement with the revolution’s communist tendencies. Consequently, Castro accused him of counterrevolutionary activities and sentenced him to 20 years in prison at the Isle of Youth, where he endured extreme torture. Once the sentence was over, Cuban agents delivered Matos to the government of Costa Rica, which allowed him to exile in San José after numerous international campaigns for his release.
He later joined the Cuban dissidence in Miami and became secretary of “Independent and Democratic Cuba” (CID), a movement founded in 1980 in Venezuela, from where he disseminated the complaints of oppressed opponents of the Cuban regime.