Communist Threat to the United States Through The Caribbean

U.S. Senate Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, of the Committee on the Judiciary. 

May 4, 1960

TESTIMONY OF REV. JUAN RAMON O'FARRIL

(THROUGH INTERPRETER)

Mr. SOURWINE What is your full name? 

Father O'FARRIL. Juan Ramon O'Farril. 

Mr. SOURWINE. You are a Catholic priest? 

Father O'FARRIL. I believe so. 

Mr. SOURWINE. Are you a native of Cuba? 

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir; I am. 

Mr. SOURWINE. You were educated in France and in Havana? 

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir; in Paris and in Havana. 

Mr. SOURWINE. You attended the Seminary of San Carlos in Havana? 

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir. 

Mr. SOURWINE. You were ordained in 1945? In the year 1945? 

Father OFARRIL. No, sir. In the year of 1945. 

Mr. SOURWINE. That is what I thought I asked.

You were opposed to the Batista government?

Father O'FARRIL. Since 1933.

Mr. SOURWINE. Why?

Father O'FARRIL. The first traitorship of Batista when he was merely a sergeant, he displaced the career officers and the second treason was during 1952 when with a group of corrupted officers

Colonel CARRILLO. Excuse me.

Senator KEATING. The meeting will suspend temporarily.

The INTERPRETER. His (Carrillo's) question is, Can I go out temporarily? Momentarily can I leave the committee room until the testimony is over?

Mr. SOURWINE. Yes.

Proceed, Father.

The INTERPRETER. The question was

Mr. SOURWINE. I was asking you why you opposed the Batista government and you were telling us.

Father O'FARRIL. Because at that time we had a democracy. In March, democracy suffered a blow that kept us in a dictatorship for 7 years, one of the worst dictatorships suffered in America.

Mr. SOURWINE. Were you yourself ever arrested by the national police under Batista?

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir.

Mr. SOURWINE. You were released because of the intervention of the Cardinal of Havana?

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir; due to the intervention of the church.

Mr. SOURWINE. You were beaten by agents of Batista?

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir.

Mr. SOURWINE. You were sent to Canada to recuperate from your injuries?

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir.

Mr. SOURWINE. You joined the followers of Castro to assist those who had been persecuted and imprisoned by Batista?

Father O'FARRIL. No; I joined the group of Carlos Prio Socarras who was the constitutional President of Cuba.

Mr. SOURWINE. Were you ever a follower of Castro?

Father O'FARRIL I helped Castro's group.

Mr. SOURWINE You helped the revolution against Batista?

Father O'FARRIL Yes, sir; against Batista.

Mr. SOURWINE. You took part in the Caracas Pact, a revolutionary movement against Batista?

Father O'FARRIL. Yes, sir.

Mr. SOURWINE. When did you break with the Castro movement?

Father O'FARRIL. As soon as I arrived at Cuba, the 6th of January.

Mr. SOURWINE. What year?

Father O'FARRIL. In 1959, when Batista's government fell.

Mr. SOURWINE. Why did you break with Castro?

Father O'FARRIL. Because of the treason of Castro to our revolu­tion.

Mr. SOURWINE. What do you mean by that?

Father O'FARRIL. In trying to force us into communism.

Mr. SOURWINE. Do you have, any knowledge respecting Communists in the Castro government?

Father O'FARRIL. Merely to observe the laws of the revolutionary government; the acts of the government and its legislation.

Mr. SOURWINE. Were you arrested or ordered arrested by the Castro government?

Father O'FARRIL. Yes; there was an order of arrest.

Mr. SOURWINE. Why?

Father O'FARRIL. Because I was in contact with elements who conspired against.

Mr. SOURWINE. How did you escape arrest?

Father O'FARRIL. Because there was a counterorder on the part of Fidel that I should not be detained. Fidel stated on the radio that he did not want at this time problems with the church.

Mr. SOURWINE. You have stated to the committee, have you not, that the original Cuban revolution in 1958 was not a Communist revolution; is that correct?

Father O'FARRIL. Our revolution was not Communist. Only Fidel with a group of collaborators have treasoned the revolution.

Mr. SOURWINE. Have you information with respect to the intentions of the Castro government as regards the United States?

Father O'FARRIL. It is not a secret that Castro is an element of trouble in America.

Mr. SOURWINE. Do you have any specific information on this point?

Father O'FARRIL. No, sir; I have no specific information but it is clearly seen.

Mr. SOURWINE. Do you remember telling the committee that you feared the return under the Castro regime of various persons who were in power under the Batista government?

Father O'FARRIL. No; I do not fear the return of Batista. What is damaging is the restoration of the regime of Batista again in Cuba, but I don't think that ever the past regime will come again to assert itself.

Mr. SOURWINE. Do you have any knowledge respecting any persons who were, officials under the Batista regime who are back in power under Castro?

Father O'FARRIL. No, sir; I have no knowledge.

Mr. SOURWINE. I have no more questions of this witness, Mr. Chairman.

Senator KEATING. The subcommittee will take evidence in executive session tomorrow. This proceeding will be adjourned until 10 :30 on Friday morning.

Father O'FARRIL. The witness states that he wishes to apologize, for the incident caused at the beginning of his testimony.

Senator KEATING. This committee has become very accustomed to incidents. He need offer no apologies whatever, and he is excused.

The other witnesses are directed to return on Friday morning. The subcommittee stands adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 4:15 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene Friday, May 5, 1960, at 10 :30 a.m.)