28.3.2011, Press Release: For immediate release
Bay of Pigs 50th anniversary 15-19 April
Cuba veteran to speak in London on 50th anniversary of victory over US backed forces
Comandante Victor Dreke Cruz, a veteran of the Bay of Pigs will speak at a public meeting in London on 12 April to mark the victory of the famous Cuban victory over US backed forces in 1961. A defining battle in the history of Cuba-US relations often referred in Cuba as the “first defeat of imperialism in America”.
Comandante Victor Dreke Cruz fought and was captured in the US backed invasion which took place between 17-19 April 1961. He later went on to fight alongside Che Guevara in the Congo, hold various ambassadorial positions in Africa and is currently Vice President of the Cuba-Africa Friendship Association.
As a young black man in Batista’s Cuba, Victor Dreke suffered racism and poverty and was forced to attend a segregated school. His political activism started aged 15 when he participated in mobilisation against Batista and he later went on to organise student strikes and demonstrations before joining the Rebel Army during the revolution and commanding two companies of the 117 Battalion at Playa Girón (the Cuban name for the Bay of Pigs).
Having been appointed Commander, he became head of operations against counter-revolutionary terrorist groups in the Escambray before joining Che as his second in command in the Congo, after which he led Cuban missions in Guinea Bissau and the Republic of Guinea. He described how one of Batista’s generals had said that black people did not have it in them to be revolutionaries. To his great satisfaction, in later years Víctor was able to tell the general personally that he was mistaken.
Other speakers alongside Comandante Dreke Cruz on 12 April include Esther Armenteros Cardenas, the Cuban Ambassador to the UK, Reinaldo Taladrid Herrero, Cuban journalist.
The meeting takes place at House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H on Tuesday 12 April from 7pm. Contact the Cuba Solidarity Campaign on 020 8800 0155 or email email@example.com for more information.
Victor Dreke Cruz will be in the UK and available for press interviews from 10-13 April 2011.
For more information or to arrange interviews contact:
Rob Miller E:firstname.lastname@example.org M:07930 693 900
Natasha Hickman E:email@example.com M:07813 689 777
More background information on the history or the Bay of Pigs and photographs available at:
This meeting is organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, the UK campaign against the blockade of Cuba. http://www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk/