There is profound unawareness of the huge cost in lives of the Cuban revolution. By gathering and telling the story of its victims, we hope that people and nations will understand the violent nature of the Cuban regime and support the people of Cuba in attaining their rightful freedoms.
This truth recovery project is a vehicle of ongoing research, archival collection, publication, advocacy, and capacity-building. It is amassing a comprehensive registry of historic and continuing deaths and disappearances of a political nature resulting from the Cuban revolution over the course of two dictatorships (Bastita’s and the Castros).
Principles guiding this effort
This independent initiative upholds the intrinsic right of all people to live safely and in freedom, promotes a culture of respect for life and the rule of law, and remembers those who’ve paid the highest price. All cases are documented, irrespective of political, ideological, and other attributes or affiliations of the victim and all findings are reported with objectivity and transparency.
The project is premised on the belief that knowledge and acknowledgement of systemic injustices are vital for the psychological wellbeing of both survivors and society and that constructive remembering shapes a moral ethos that promotes societal reconciliation and helps avert future atrocities.
What this project is not
This work hopes to serve as a building block for an eventual truth-justice-reconciliation process when a free and democratic society under the rule of law can prosper. However, Cuba Archive is not a “Truth Commission” —said bodies are usually official initiatives of democratic governments that follow repressive regimes and can embark on far-reaching forensic work and access official records, having significantly overcome the danger of reprisal to witnesses. These conditions do not yet exist in Cuba.
Scope of the work
Cuba Archive’s Truth and Memory Project reports deaths and disappearances believed to have resulted from the Cuban Revolution of a political and military nature. The electronic database encompasses events beginning on March 10, 1952 (when Batista suspended democratic constitutional rule in Cuba, giving way to the revolutionary struggle) and incorporates actions taking place inside or outside the island as well as affecting Cubans and non-Cubans alike. All cases are documented, irrespective of political, ideological, and other attributes or affiliations of the victim.
Cases that have come to the attention of this project are researched and reported as “documented cases” the purposes of this project. Case numbers are assigned in the database randomly. This is a work-in-progress that does not purport to present a complete or comprehensive record of all pertinent disappearances and fatalities. Many more cases are believed to remain unknown and/or unrecorded, including in Cuba. In addition, the Castro regime in particular has caused many deaths in countries other than Cuba as a result of military interventions –direct and covert- and its sponsorship, support, and funding of subversion. To date, the database does not include the vast majority of those cases.
Sources and Conflict of Evidence
Sources of case information in the database are often listed in abbreviated form in each case record of the database, but may be viewed in full detail in the Source Directory. Primary sources are also referenced but details such as name and contact information are not available to the public to protect their privacy.
Certain bibliographic sources are believed to actually replicate other cited sources (or are derived from them). As a result, certain discrepancies and errors are reported by more than one source.
Discrepancies are often found among the different sources including in the spelling of names or on dates and other case details and are noted as “Conflict of evidence.”
Notes on case classification
To facilitate the use and analysis of the data, records have been classified for “Death attribution,” “Cause of Death,” “Victim Type,” and others. This seeks to interpret complex information and is not necessarily fully descriptive.
“Death attribution” to one or another regime (Batista or Castro) or political faction is attributed with the best possible interpretation of the events gleaned from what is, at times, very limited information.
“Cause of Death” is often assigned by presumption when empirical evidence is lacking and/or a reliable certificate of death is not available.
Occupations are reported in the case records as per standard occupation categories of the Department of Labor of the United States.