New York Times
May 31, 1957. p. 4.
Chief of Staff Announces ‘Progressive’ Plan to Bring Insurgents to Fight
By R. Hart Phillips
Special to The New York Times
HAVANA, May 30 – A declaration of war on rebel groups in Oriente Province was issued today by Maj. Gen. Francisco Tabernilla, Chief of Staff of the Cuban Army, after a conference with President Fulgencio Batista.
The warfare will be waged under a “progressive plan which will permit pursuit in such a manner as to oblige the rebels to fight,” a communiqué issued at the Presidential Palace said.
The directive followed the killing of eleven soldiers and the wounding of nineteen in a fight with forces of Fidel Castro, rebel leader.
The battle took place at Ubero, on the south coast Oriente Province, about thirty-five miles from Santiago de Cuba. Fifteen rebels were killed and twenty-one wounded, the communiqué said. It stated that rebel forces had fled in groups into the mountains taking their wounded with them in four trucks. The Army said it was continuing to pursue the dispersed groups.
General Tabernilla denied a report circulating here that another group of insurgents had landed at Chivirico Beach near Santiago de Cuba. He also said the Army had no further encounters with the rebel group that landed on the north coast at Carbonico Bay last week and fled into the Sierra del Cristal. General Tabernilla said he considered the rebellion there to have been terminated.
The Army says twenty-seven insurgents landed, of whom five were captured, sixteen killed, leaving only six unaccounted for. Reports from Oriente Province, however, put the number of attackers near 150.
Three bombs exploded in Havana suburbs last night. One was at a bank, another at an automobile agency, and the third at a public school entrance. No injuries were reported.
Electric power was restored in downtown Havana this morning. Most residents of this section had been without lights and water for twenty-four hours.
While the Government consistently contends that Señor Castro is a Communist, adherents of the young rebel leader declare he is a deeply religious person. It is noted that he attended Belen College in Havana, which is conducted by Jesuits, and that his closest friend during school at graduation in 1945 was the Rev. Arturo Cherino, now serving with the Jesuit Order in Japan.
It is said that young Castro’s first trips into the Sierra Maestras were as a member of students groups taken there by Roman Catholic priests on camping trips as rewards for good scholarship.
It is recalled that in 1953, when Señor Castro led an attack on the Moncada military post of Santiago de Cuba in which 100 men were killed, his life was saved through the efforts of Archbishop Perez Serantes of Santiago.