The New York Times
January 26, 1958

Cuban Rights Eased, Except in Rebel Zone

By R. Hart Phillips
Special to The New York Times.

HAVANA, Jan. 25--Guarantees of constitutional rights were restored to the people of Cuba, with the exception of Oriente Province, early today by President Fulgencio Batista.  The announcement was made at the Presidential Palace after a Cabinet meeting.

This means that censorship of press and radio is ended in five provinces.  The constitutional guarantees had been inoperative since the start of this year and during most of 1957.  The most recent forty-five-day suspension would have automatically ended next Wednesday.

In Oriente Province, the center of rebel activity against the Government, the guarantees will continue to be suspended for another forty-five days.  However, the province's residents will have the right of assembly and some other individual rights, the palace announcement said.

For several months about 5,000 Government troops have been concentrated in eastern Cuba in an all-out campaign against the young rebel leader Fidel Castro and his band of insurgents whose stronghold is in the jungle-covered Sierra Maestra of Oriente Province.

The Government's restoration of civil liberties in the five other provinces is linked to its intention of holding general elections June 1.  The campaign will begin in February after candidates have been nominated.

The palace also announced the appointment of Gen. Francisco Tabernilla, Chief of Staff of the Cuban Army, as Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.  This is in line with the recent reorganization of the armed forces under a unified command.  Gen. Pedro A. Rodriguez Avilla was named Army Chief of Staff, and Gen. Martin Diaz Tamayo was appointed Director of Operations.

A recording of harsh criticism of President Batista was broadcast over two radio stations in Havana this afternoon only a few hours after the cancellation of press and radio censorship.

Two youths entered the Union Radio station and station CNC, revolvers in hand, and forced the operators to put the records on the air.  In each case the youth waited until the playing of the record was finished, picked it up and escaped in a waiting automobile with another man.

Former President Ramon Grau San Martin was nominated this afternoon as Presidential candidate by the Cuban REvolutionary party, known as the Autentico Party.  Dr. Antonio Lancis of Havana University was named as his running mate.

The nominating assembly took place at the home of Dr. Grau, situated in the Miramar suburb of Havana, where Dr. Grau is convalescing from a broken hip.  Dr. Grau is the first opposition candidate to be named to oppose a four-party Government coalition, which is expected to make known its candidate within the next few days.

Election Coalition Formed

HAVANA, Jan 25 (AP)--Four pro-government parties have formed the Socialist Democratic Coalition to name candidates for the June 1 Presidential and Senatorial elections.

At a meeting yesterday President Fulgencio Batista was named chairman of the coalition, which consists of the Progressive Action, Democratic, Liberal and Union Radical parties.

Andres Rivero Aguero, now Premier, is believed to be in line for the nomination to run as candidate to succeed General Batista.