The Sleepwalkers' Ballad
Memories of the Revolution : Cuba 1952-1962Book - 2008
This story of love, idealism, courage and betrayals takes place against the turmoil of the end of Batista's government and first three years of Castro's. Besides the real-life characters of Batista, Castro and "Che" Guevara, the Revolution itself is an important "character," making this work both a screenplay and a presentation of documented historical facts.
Riveting parts of this story include the attack on the Presidential Palace; the guerrilla presence in La Sierra; Castro´s victory; the Agrarian, Monetary, and Housing Reforms; the government takeover of all banks and private businesses; the emergence of a strong underground movement; and the Bay of Pigs Invasion, with the often glossed-over involvement of President Kennedy.
Much of the story is presented through unbiased dialogue and dramatizations of actual events. Two real-life characters, Echeverría and Manolín Guillot--who became significant figures in Cuban history--exemplify the struggle for freedom and justice against both regimes.
Parallel to the socio-political drama is the development of the love story between the two protagonists, María and Alfredo. Alfredo believes in Castro's promises of a just Revolution and joins Castro in La Sierra, rising to the rank of Comandante. Disenchanted as he witnesses Castro's dictatorial behavior once in power, e.g., appointing himself Prime Minister, removing President Urrutia from office, and betraying the promises of a just Agrarian Reform, Alfredo and María once again join an underground movement, now against Castro, with Manolín Guillot functioning as Chief of Intelligence of the MRR, the strongest anti-Castro movement in the Island.
After the failure of the invasion, Alfredo makes an unsuccessful attempt on Castro's life. Immediately imprisoned, Alfredo is submitted to endless tortures and humiliations, but he never reveals the identity of "Carlos" (one of the noms de guerre of Manolín Guillot).
At the end, a fascinating confrontation between the tyrant, Fidel Castro, and the idealistic Alfredo, reveals the strengths and flaws of two very different human beings.