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By Grace Hansen

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Guillermito arrived at two. We caught the crowded minibus on the corner. We could barely stand up, clinging to the bars along the ceiling. We got off two blocks from our destination. There was a blonde girl playing on the sidewalk in front of the house. “That’s the Professor’s daughter,” Guillermito told me. ” She disappeared into the house, and we went to the door. A young woman came out, her worried expression changing into a smile when she saw Guillermito. “How nice . . You must be the Rooster!

Only a few Cubans were living there at that time, most of whom were young and impoverished. They had come to the States in the hope of finding more economic opportunities to improve their financial condition than they could in the oppressive, corrupt, and discriminatory society of Cuba. And of course there was also a handful of Cuban students, such as myself and my friends, who were studying at the university. Two days later, the Cuban students were still talking about Batista’s coup. I joined a group standing around the living room sofa.

García Barcena had fought against the dictator Gerardo Machado as a student and was known as the Professor, in part to disguise his identity for security reasons. Guillermito and I agreed to go together to Havana so I could also join the MNR. Chap2 7/3/02 11:30 AM Page 19 First Revolutionary Impulses We were climbing the gigantic staircase to the University of Havana that hot August night. Soon I would be returning to Miami. I did not want to leave without strengthening relations with the nucleus of students beginning to arm themselves against Batista.

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