Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Camilo Cienfuegos was active in underground activities against the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and played an important role in the Cuban Revolution. He was one of the revolution's four major figures, together with Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro and Che Guevara.
He did not participate in the 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, and during the revolution led the so-called second column (Antonio Maceo) of the rebel forces together with Che Guevara. After the revolution's victory, Cienfuegos served in the Army's high command, fought counter-revolutionary uprisings, and played an important role instituting agrarian reforms.
There has been debate as to Cienfuegos's political leanings. While many claim that he was anti-Communist, Cuban author and historian Carlos Franqui suggests otherwise in his book Family Portrait With Fidel . Franqui, one of Cienfuegos's closest friends during the Cuban revolution, asserts that Cienfuegos "sympathized with socialism" and that he followed Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara politically. Other sources tend to agree with Franqui, though it is clear that Cienfuegos was not a hard-line Soviet Communist. Cienfuegos's involvement in agrarian reform and worker's congresses in the early days of the revolution must be noted, as must also the fact that both his father and his brother Osmani were (and, in Osmani's case, are) radical leftists.
However, it is often claimed, especially amongst the Cuban exile community in United States, that Castro ordered his plane to be shot down by a Cuban Air Force Hawker Sea Fury fighter flown by Castro's personal pilot, and that the weather was perfect on the night of his death.
According to Roberto Cardenas , a Captain in the Cuban Air Force , Cienfuegos was shot down because he refused to countenance the incarceration of Huber Matos , a hero of the revolution who had quietly resigned through a private letter but was imprisoned by Fidel Castro for twenty-two years under the wrongful charge of "treason."
Fidel Castro steadfastly denies these claims.
- "The rebel army is the people in uniform."
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