In regard to Doug Hostetter’s article in the January 1977 issue of Sojourners, entitled “Faith, Works and the Revolution,” I wish to respond with some of my impressions and observations based on my experience living in Camagüey, Cuba during the years 1951- 1960. I share Hostetter’s assessment of the improved economic and social conditions brought about by the revolution, but I wish to challenge him on some other points.
I am the son of Methodist missionaries to Cuba. I arrived in Camagüey in 1951 at the age of two and a half. During my formative years I was steeped in the Cuban culture. Even when my family would return to the U.S., I regarded myself as a visitor in a foreign land. In 1953, Batista’s reign of terror began. At first, our family would hear of persons disappearing into local jails and prisons. Then stories started coming out about brutal slayings and inhuman torture perpetrated by the police.
As the seven years of the Batista regime went by, our family could not help but be appalled by this kind of brutality and by the obvious corruption that pervaded Cuban society. Prostitution, gambling, and drug traffic was heavily supported by American Mafia dollars. Meanwhile, American business was happy with Batista as long as the sugar interests were not molested.