Sunday, July 12, 2009
Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez Julio 12 1989 - julio 12 2009
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arnaldo T. Ochoa Sánchez (1930 in Havana, Cuba – July 13, 1989) was a prominent Cuban general who was executed after being found guilty of treason by a Cuban court. Ochoa was born from an old Oriente area family of farmers. Ever since its creation, he was part of Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement, and by March 1957 he had joined Castro's guerrilla army in the Sierra Maestra, fighting against dictator Fulgencio Batista. Ochoa played a major role in the fall of Santa Clara, becoming a close friend of Raúl Castro. Ochoa is said to have been the only survivor of the Camilo Cienfuegos loyalists sent on a doomed expedition against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1959 .
He also fought against the invaders in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. E. Bovo, the Curator of the Bay of Pigs Museum, claims that he was not a commander, rather that he served under 'El Gallego' José Ramón Fernández, a former officer under the Batista government.
In 1965 he became a member of the Communist Party of Cuba. Ochoa was a member of the Party's Central Committee for more than twenty years. He attended the War College in Matanzas, Cuba, and was later sent to the Frunze Academy in the Soviet Union.
Between 1967 and 1969, he trained rebels in the Congo. At some point, he took part in an expedition into Venezuela, one of his most secretive operations that ended in a major strategic loss at large human cost. In 1975, Ochoa was sent to fight in a critical campaign against the FNLA in Luanda, Angola, where he won the respect of both Soviet and Cuban commanders. In 1977 he was named commander of Cuban Expeditionary Forces in Ethiopia under the command of Soviet General Petrov. His successes against the Somalian army impressed the Soviet commanders in the field.
By 1980, Ochoa was widely considered a great internationalist, and was awarded the title "Hero of the Revolution" by Fidel Castro in 1984.
Nine years later, on June 12, the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces announced the arrest and investigation of Division General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez for serious acts of corruption, dishonest use of economic resources, and drug trafficking.
Ochoa was put behind bars for a month in west Havana, in the military base named Reloj Club Boinas Rojas. He went before a Military Honour Court, which found him guilty of all charges. There were no further attempts to halt the execution or appeal the conviction of a man considered by most people in Cuba to be the most respected General in the Cuban Armed Forces.
At dawn on July 12, 1989, Arnaldo Tomas Ochoa Sanchez "El Moro", was executed by a firing squad at the military base known as "Tropas Especiales" in Baracoa, West Havana. A widely accepted account tells how he asked not to be blindfolded and to give the command to the firing squad himself. Both wishes were granted. Another version details the Chief of the Military's Special Troops, Gen. José Luis Mesa Delgado, putting a final bullet in Ochoa's head. Everything is on video. A statement in the Granma newspaper the next day announced his execution to the Cuban public. His wife was later informed of an unmarked grave in Havana's Cemetery.
^ Hernández, Félix José (accessed 10-22-07) Fidel Castro: la Infancia de un Jefe, Consejo Militar Cubano Americano. http://www.camcocuba.org/ADDITIONAL%20PAGES/HERNANDEZ/HERNANDEZ-I/FELIX-25.html “Franqui narra como después de la muerte de Camilo, su tropa fue enviada a “liberar” a la República Dominicana, osea, a una muerte segura. Sus oficiales de la Sierra pasaron a ocupar puestos de segunda categoría. ¡El único que se salvó en aquel momento fue ... Arnaldo Ochoa!”