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 ANDRES JOSE RIVERO-AGUERO
Senator KEATING. Would you raise your right hand, Mr. Rivero-Aguero? Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you give in this proceeding will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help yo God? Do you speak English? Do you understand English?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. No, sir, to both questions.
Senator KEATING (to the interpreter). Then I want you to repeat the oath to him in Spanish. I want him to know what he is swearing to.
Do you solemnly swear that the evidence which you give in this proceeding will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I do.
Mr. SOURWINE. You are a native of Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Native.
Senator KEATING. I want to ask the witness, does it disturb the witness to have photographers taking his picture while he is speaking? If it does, we will have them take them now and then leave.
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. No, I am not bothered.
Senator KEATING. He has been in political life, so I guess he wouldn't.
All right, proceed, Counsel.
Mr. SOURWINE. You are a graduate of the University of Havana?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes, sir.
Mr. SOURWINE. You have been a lawyer and a professor of philosophy?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUFERO. Doctor of Philosophy and Letters and of Law.
Mr. SOURWINE. You have been a professor?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes, sir; I have been also a professor.
Mr. SOURWINE. You were elected to the Cuban House of Representatives?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes, sir; I was a senator.
Mr. SOURWINE. In what year?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. From 1954 until 1958 I was elected senator in Cuba.
Mr. SOURWINE. Are you a former Minister of Agriculture of Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. In 1940.
Mr. SOURWINE. Are you a former Minister to the President of Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Was I a Minister?
Mr. SOURWINE. Were you ever in the President's Cabinet, in the Cabinet of the President of Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I was Minister of Agriculture and Prime Minister.
Mr. SOURWINE. Prime Minister. When was that?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. From 1957 until 1958.
Mr. SOURWINE. This was under Batista?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes, while Batista was President.
Mr. SOURWINE. Did you run for the Presidency of Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. During the year of 1958 I was a candidate for the Presidency of Cuba..
Mr. SOURWINE. Were you a candidate of the Bastista party?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I was a candidate for the four parties of the government at that time.
Mr. SOURWINE. Were you supported by the Batista party?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes, sir.
Mr. SOURWINE. Were you elected?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes. In the elections of November 3.
Mr. SOURWINE. What year?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. 1958.
Mr. SOURWINE. Did you ever take office?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. In accordance with the constitution, I was supposed to take office on February 24, and the Government fell on January 1, the 1st of January of 1959.
Mr. SOURWINE. Are you still a supporter of Batista?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I support him in what sense?
Senator KEATING. Would you like to see Batista returned to power in Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I don't think that the history repeats itself. I think history will try to improve itself.
Senator KEATING. Well, that is .a very well-worded answer but I am very interested to know whether you are in favor of the return of Batista to power in Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. What I am against is that Fidel Castro stay in power.
Mr. SOURWINE. You are against Castro but you are not against Batista. Is that a fair statement?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. My position is that I am militant or I militate in those parties which at that time supported Bastista, and I still maintain that same ideology because I cannot support the ideology of Castro because at this time Castro is accusing the U.S. Government that they are calling to testify before this committee war criminals and not only do I not accept the qualification but to who I accuse to be a murderer is Castro and for he to explain to the Cuban people why he murders my brother, that he was but a mere laborer in a factory.
Senator KEATING. I can understand your concern over what has happened to your own family. These questions are put to you for the purpose of weighing your testimony.
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Is it in respect to the government of Castro?
Senator KEATING. I have no further questions at this point. I sought this information in order to know what weight should be given to the testimony of this witness.
The INTERPRETER. Should I translate that?
Senator KEATING. Yes.
Mr. SOURWINE. Do you know the present President of Cuba, Dr. Dorticos?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Personally, no.
Mr. SOURWINE. Did you know him as a public figure in 1948?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. They told me that he was a candidate for the Communist Party in 1948.
Mr. SOURWINE Whom do you mean by "they"?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. That he was militant with the Communist Party?
Mr. SOURWINE. No. Who told you that Dorticos ran on the Communist Party ticket?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Nobody told me. It was a matter of public fact that he was militant with the Communist Party and ran for Presidency in 1948.
Senator KEATING. Then you know that. You were not told by someone else. You were told that to be a fact.
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I have never formed part of an investigation unit, but it is common knowledge in Cuba that Dr. Dorticos was a militant within the Communist Party.
Mr. SOURWINE. Do you remember testifying in executive session before this committee?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes, I remember.
Mr. SOURWINE. Did you tell us that Fidel Castro had declared he would not hold elections in Cuba until all Cubans are literate?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Exactly; I do. If you permit me to go into more explanation, I will.
Senator KEATING. Proceed.
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. For me to evaluate this information, I simply take the speech of Fidel Castro of the 1st of May of this year in which he stated that the Cuban democracy, he say, direct democracy, which is exercised by laborers, farmers, and professionals, that it is the same system which exists in the Communist regimes. Besides, Castro alleged that a president--he didn't mention him but it was President Betancourt of Venezuela--that had referred recently to the democratic governments that have no other origin but to make them representative governments, and Castro answering to this pronunciation of Dr. Betancourt of Venezuela and the Congress that was celebrated in proper Venezuela in the sense of the free world, where it appeared ex-President Figueres, Governor Marin--Cuba was represented by Drs. Sanchez Arango and Antonio Varona, to find a democratic out to the Cuban problem.
Castro took advantage of the speech of May 1, the 1st of May, Labor's Day, to state that the democratic government is that which is exercised directly by the laborers and farmers without having to go to the elected government and then he states that the elections and the consequences of the elections and the representatives of the elections are not but mere maneuvers to make a fraud upon the people.
I would like to add something more.
Senator KEATING. Well, we have a lot of witnesses to call and we know that there are differences in ideology between this witness and Mr. Castro, but that is incidental in this proceeding. We are after some facts in this proceeding.
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I would like to add something, or I would like you to ask me for facts.
Senator KEATING. Proceed.
Mr. SOURWINE Do you know what proportion of the people of Cuba are literate today?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Literate?
Mr. SOURWINE. Literate. What proportion of the people of Cuba can read and write?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Cuba occupies the fifth place of the continental alphabetization. The first place is kept by the United States. Second is Uruguay. Third is Costa Rica. Fourth is Argentina. In figures they indicate 17 percent that do not write or read and 83 percent that can write and read.
Senator KEATING. Were those the figures that you gave in the executive session?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. No, no, because then I don't understand what is the exact question.
Senator KEATING. Proceed, counsel.
Mr. SOURWINE. The record will speak on this.
Do you have knowledge respecting prominent persons in Cuba who are known to be Communists?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Yes.
Mr. SOURWINE. You named certain persons to the committee in executive session whom you said were militant Communists.
Mr. RIVERO?AGUERO. Yes.
Mr. SOURWINE. Did you tell us that of your own knowledge or were you speaking of what you have here called general public knowledge?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I just said it in the general sense because really I have no means of information myself. If they were to ask me for the card, Communist card, for the people governing now Cuba, I will have to say that they don't carry a card.
Senator KEATING. Proceed to something else.
Mr. SOURWINE. Yes. We will proceed to something else.
Do you have information respecting repression of the church in Cuba?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. Well, I know because some of the members of the Catholic Church are now here in the United States, but it is also a universal knowledge that Communists cannot exist or coexist with the Catholic Church.
Mr. SOURWINE. Specifically, have Catholic schools, or universities, been closed by order of the Government?
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. I have no such knowledge. I believe that the fathers who are here, they are better qualified to testify.
Mr. SOURWINE. If the witness disqualifies himself, I am not going to ask any more questions on that point.
I have no more questions.
Senator KEATING. The witness is excused.
Mr. RIVERO?AGUERO. I would like to say just a couple of words, if I may. Two words.
Senator KEATING. We want to have it if it is factual. We don't want any political speeches here because that is not the purpose of this committee.
Mr. RIVERO-AGUERO. No. I wish to state that I am now testifying before the U.S. Senate because I believe that there is a Communist government in my country. Otherwise I would not be here.
Senator KEATING. We appreciate that.
Thank you very much.