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Latino Daily News

Friday February 28, 2014

Cuban Revolutionary-Turned-Dissident Huber Matos Dies, Age 95

Cuban Revolutionary-Turned-Dissident Huber Matos Dies, Age 95

Photo: Huber Matos

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Huber Matos, a comandante of the 1959 Cuban Revolution who became a fierce opponent of Fidel Castro, died Thursday in Miami, his grandson told Efe. He was 95.

The man who spent 20 years in a Cuban prison after falling out with Fidel died at Kendall Regional Hospital, where he was admitted Tuesday following a “massive heart attack,” Huber Matos Garsault said.

“He was an affectionate, humble, sincere man and he loved Cuba with all his soul,” Matos Garsault said of his grandfather.

Born in the eastern town of Yara to a family of modest means, Huber Matos graduated from the University of Havana in 1944 with a doctorate in education and became a teacher.

The brutal poverty he saw while working in rural Cuba awakened an interest in politics.

Five years after the 1952 coup that brought strongman Fulgencio Batista to power, Matos returned from exile in Costa Rica to join the guerrillas in the Sierra Maestra Mountains fighting to bring down the regime.

The charismatic Matos rose through the ranks to become one of the comandantes of the army that entered Havana in triumph in 1959.

He left Cuba following his release from prison and ultimately settled in Miami, from where he led the opposition group Cuba Independiente and Democratica.

Matos left instructions asking to be buried in Costa Rica.

“I want to rest in Costa Rican soil until Cuba is free and from there to Yara, to accompany my mother and reunite with my father and with the Cubans,” he wrote.

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