Saturday, February 25, 2006

Jorge Rojas Castellanos - My Fallen Cuban Hero

Every Cuban family has a story, but you never quite get the full story all at once. Little by little, year by year as you get older you get bits and pieces, and then one day bam! it all falls into place. It's not that our parents wanted to forget, but some didn't want us to carry the same burden - at least not since an early age.

My story is Jorge Rojas Castellanos, son of Coronel Juan Rojas and his first wife Marcia, and my mother's step-cousin. As you can imagine being a Coronel in Batista's army, not only conferred you social status, but you also had preferred status as well as preferred wealth.

Coronel Rojas married my mother's Aunt and then had two more children, who are irrelevant to this story.

On the night of December 31, 1958, Batista fled Cuba - we all know that. Coronel Juan Rojas with his second wife and his two children were on that plane. It is unclear if Jorge Rojas Castellanos was with them or if he left with his mother.

Jorge Rojas Castellanos left Cuba a young, strong, full of life man. But he also was full of courage and the idea that freedom had to prevail. Against everyone's wishes, including his father's, Jorge decided that fleeing was a cowardly and easy thing to do. He decided that he had to fight, to prevent this monster from taking hold of his country. He decided Cuba should be free.

Jorge, went back to Cuba. We don't know how he got there, if he was a brigadista or not, only that he secretly got in - un infiltrado. He worked with internal counter revolutionary groups, training them, planning, and plotting for a FREE Cuba.

Jorge Rojas Castellanos was taken prisoner and held at La Cabaña. He was fusilado en el paredón for wanting a free Cuba. The best estimate we have is September twenty something 1961. Mami has the article from Avance magazine, that got sent to us from Cuba by one of our cousins before they left. She will be sending me a copy soon.

Though it wasn't my blood that was shed, though I never met him (or his father), he was my family, he was part of us. Jorge died for what he believed in, freedom for Cuba, and for that he is my HERO.

May you rest in peace Jorge, I didn't know you, but I miss you and I honor you today for your valor, determination and sacrifice. ¡Viva Cuba Libre!

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