Alpha 66 website.
Downloaded April 20, 2005
|HOME||OUR HISTORY||WINDOW ON CUBA||COMMENTS ON THE NEWS||EVENTS||EDITORIALS|
CUBAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS
IN QUEST OF THE LIBERATION OF OUR HOMELAND
ALPHA 66 was organized in Puerto Rico at the end of 1961 with 66 men. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, but to us it means the beginning of the fight against communism in Cuba. Thus the reason for its name. Most of the 66 men were professionals; accountants, workers and revolutionaries who had fought against the Batista dictatorship.
ALPHA 66 was created with the intention of making commando type attacks on Cuba to maintain the fighting spirit of the Cuban people after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
The first attacks on Cuba were to the port of Isabela de Sagua and Juan Francisco Beach in 1962. Afterwards a Russian ship was attacked in a Cuban port, and G-2 headquarters (Castro's dreaded military police) were ransacked at Isabela. In both attacks at Isabela our men were on Cuban soil. Those actions were followed by many others. The Militia training camps in Tarará were attacked on three different occasions. Other actions and infiltrations took place in the years from 1962 to l964, such as Matanzas Bay, the port of Havana and Caibarien where a British ship was attacked.
In 1964, ALPHA 66 decided to take stronger actions rather that just commando raids and began to work on the "Omega Plan" which consisted of situating a guerrilla force, well equipped, inside Cuba. From the Dominican Republic where ALPHA 66 had a training camp, Major Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo with three other fighters landed in Oriente Province, leaving behind a force of fifty men, who were never able to land in Cuba. Gutiérrez Menoyo and his men were made prisoners and we had to leave our training camp due to the American government's pressure on Dominican authorities.
NEW OPERATION PLANS
Andrés Nazario Sargén, who also had been a Major in the struggle against Batista's regime and one of the founders of the organization worked in different capacities, such as Organization Secretary in charge of maintaining training camps well supplied, became General Secretary of the organization and, in October 1968, Captain Vicente Méndez was appointed in charge of the military operations. ALPHA 66 started a very strong drive to raise enough money to prepare a new plan to land a guerrilla force in Cuba under the command of Vicente Méndez. This operation was to take place before the end of 1969.
By December of that year Vicente Méndez, promoted to Colonel by the organization, was in Cuban waters trying to find a suitable place to land. Their first attempt was unsuccessful. In the first week of 1970, the two boats of the landing force were approaching the Cuban coast when a tropical storm hit and one of the boats capsized. We lost one man on this operation, Captain Julio César Ramírez. Finally, the other boat was rescued by an American ship and they were taken to Guantánamo.
But Colonel Méndez and his men were not discouraged. They started all over again, and ALPHA 66 mobilized its 63 delegations, making a frantic effort to raise new funds for the second trip. Money in large quantities was needed for new rifles, boats, equipment, etc., and all of ALPHA's men worked hard to raise money mainly among hard working Cubans and other sympathizers and, in two months, Colonel Vicente Méndez was ready again to try for a new landing in Cuba.
Against adversity, fate, and death, he finally landed in Baracoa, Oriente Province, on April 17, 1970. The day must be marked in history, because it is the turning point in the fight against Fidel Castro and his communist regime.
The commotion was world wide. The Castro regime was shaken to its foundation. His famous "ten million tons of sugar harvest" effort was paralyzed in Oriente Province after April 17. This caused a big set back to his goal of sugar production. The Cuban people had a new hope and ALPHA 66 was a new symbol.
ALPHA 66 struck again in May 1970 and two of Castro's boats were sunk and eleven prisoners taken. These fishermen boats were used to transport arms to communist guerrillas in Colombia and Venezuela and they were also on the lookout for our comando boats in order to give notice to the authorities. Castro, impotent against our attacks blamed the United States and put diplomatic pressure on us to let free the prisoners.
On September of the same year, the landing on the north coast of Oriente Province by Colonel José Rodríguez Pérez, with a group of men heading for the "Sierra Maestra" mountains, provided one of the most daring and heroic deeds of this epic fight against communism in our homeland. On a long ride through the Province, when they were in the outskirts of the city of Baire ready to penetrate the mountains, they confronted Castro's army and militia and fought valiantly, but the number of forces against them was impossible to overcome.
Castro announced total annihilation of the different guerrilla forces that had landed, but although some of them were taken prisoners and others killed in action or in front of firing squads, reports from the Cuban underground proved the existence of different groups of resistance in the mountains.
The landing of Vicente Méndez on April 1970, unsuccessful as it was in its main objective, gave impulse inside Cuba to the idea of fighting communism; the Cuban people understood that in exile there was a force named ALPHA 66 that was fighting for their cause. ALPHA 66 cells began to appear everywhere. A complete underground network took shape and the results were a series of sabotages, bombs in Havana, the burning of sugar warehouses, cane fields, tobacco houses, factories and anything that would harm the oppressive government.
At the same time, several expeditions headed for Cuba were intercepted by American authorities. Ships, arms, and ammunition were confiscated, but ALPHA 66 always understood that it had to overcome a mountain of difficulties and there is no other way.
THE MAXIMO GOMEZ PLAN
The experience showed us that one thing the Cuban people on the Island needed was a constant message. They needed something that would instill in them, even under the most difficult circumstances, a will to break away from a system that has been so oppressive, that has tried to make them into machines, denying the right to not only express their feelings but to have feelings at all or to think for themselves.
This is the reason we produce a constant barrage of radio programs to Cuba with ALPHA 66 messages of hope, hammering our perspective as to how to confront the tyranny. These radio messages, plus a series of new landings during the 1980's was called "The Máximo Gómez Plan," in honor of one of our liberators in the war against Spain.
In recent years the emphasis has been in calling the attention to the tourists who are cooperating with the cuban regime's official exploitation of prostitution that has flourished due to hunger and the miserable life under communism. Our commandos have had confrontation with Castro's forces on several occasions at the tourists facilities of Cayo Coco. Cells of ALPHA 66 in Cuba, in conjuntion with other forces fighting Castro inside the island, have sabotaged tourists attractions and other places where the common cuban people cannot visit due to the fact that everything revolves around dollars... which they don't have.
The magnitude and repercussions of the revolutionary changes in the communist world of the past few years are still difficult to comprehend. Yet, one thing does remain clear: the collapse and demise of Marxism-Leninism projects a conscience of freedom and liberty that will permeate throughout the coming century as a breath of fresh air.
For many years, communism was considered an indestructible system and philosophy. Nevertheless, in 1976, at the World Anti-Communist League convention in Taiwan, ALPHA 66 publicly stated "...that Marxism-Leninism is a failure; its economic system and the totalitarian direction taken, is destroying its own course in history; and therefore, it will disappear."
Mankind has long struggled for the optimum path toward progress, justice, and liberty compatible with the dignity of man. As we approach the 21th Century, the signs of the new era, aiming toward a renewal of moral values, the redistribution of wealth, labor, global independence, and freedom for all the people of the world, are visible.
ALPHA 66, the historic organization with more than 37 years of revolutionary effort, has created a force unlike any other struggling against Castro-communism. It has defied the norms, requested permission from no one, spared no sacrifice, and has acted without apprehension. With this spirit, ALPHA 66 will play a determining role in the fall of the Cuban tyranny, and will bear the responsibility of working with the future government to insure a triumphant democratic revolution.
Supported by the majorities within the island, as well as in exile, ALPHA 66 today is summoned to transform itself into a national political party. Its proper course will enable it to provide solutions to the demands of the people and to unify the nation on the road to an independent and sovereign republic.
ALPHA 66 has worked toward the demise of Castro's communism; it has lived the experience of the previous political process, while forging a spirit of respect toward others. It has planted seeds in Cuba's heart, and has shed its blood, fertilizing these seeds with honor. The road remaining is short; the revolution will erupt, and Cuba will be free. The tryst is over there, with the will to serve our country and desire to fulfill its hopes and dreams.
ALPHA 66 is not only a symbol of hope to see Cuba free again, it is a reality on the road to freedom.
March 18, 1998
Alpha 66 has to provide for all kinds of necessities required by an organization such as ours. One is to be prepared militarily, as these men and women are doing in our training camps.
As part of their training, members of Alpha 66 commando units climb Caldwell Mountain in Southern California, leaving a plaque to commemorate "El Grito de Baire," the day Cuba began its war of independence against Spain (February 24, 1985).