So many anecdotes could be told about Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque, when he was young, in the war’s intensity and after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1st, 1959. In the fifth anniversary of his death, we offer the readers three of them.
And he even did not talked to you before
Confined to jail of the former Isla of Pines after the assault of Moncada garrison, one day of visits to the inmates, Alemeida received a friend of his from Poey village and he introduced him Fidel Castro.
When the revolutionary leader left to share with his relatives, his friend admired told Almeida: “Man, it is true this man makes me a deep impression. I can see he is a tall man, not only in height but also in his way of looking at people.” Then, the future commander said: “And I talked to you before the assault, because he would have convinced you for sure and you would have been either dead of imprisoned right now together with us.”
He never arrived in second place to combat
In the first days of the Revolution’s triumph in 1959, the same friend during his youth asked Commander Almeida how he could have such top responsibility in the victorious Army, if he “was not graduated”, and his answer shocked him: “Ventura the fact is that I never arrived to combat in the second place, and never left first.”
“Do you know why I am a Commander?
In a trip to Yarey Mountain where the main meetings of the administrative and party direction from former Oriente province were held, he showed great seriousness in his face.
“I see no advance in our leading performance,” he said to those accompanying him.
When he arrived to the meeting, he asked all of them not to be seated. He stayed standing up and asked one of them if he knew why he was a Commander. We could see his bad temper.
He answered it was due to his historical values, his participation in Moncada
attack, the landing of Granma vessel, Sierra Maestra and the tasks he has carried out after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. People clapped when he finished.
He repeated the question to other comrades, but he was still serious.
“I am a Commander not only for all you have said here, but also because I have never let Commander in Chief Fidel Castro down in the fulfillment of a task, and this one, to lead Oriente province I am taking the risk not to fulfill it due to your behavior… Do not be deceived, I will keep my promise with Fidel.
“I ask you correct your attitude, because those who are substituted will never be the head any other institution. No, I will substitute them, take the car away, and if they have a profession, I will send them to the Labor Minister or I appoint them as apprentices, so they can gain respect and consideration of the workers.” He later asked if anyone had something to say. No one answered.
The meeting was over.
*To write this article, we had the collaboration of comrade Isauro Beltran, member of the Provincial Bureau of Oriente by that time when Almeida was there as Delegate of the Political Bureau. We also counted on notes and memories from comrade Ventura Manguela (already deceased), a friend of Almeida when they were young.