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April 20, 2004


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UNVANQUISHED: Cuba's Resistance to Fidel Castro

UNVANQUISHED tries to make us remember that, for forty-five years, the Cuban people have always kept fighting against the only totalitarian dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. And they have had, if I may add, very little help from the outside world, despite the persistent, aggressive nature of Castro’s regime—even after we have declared war against terrorism. This is a good, solid and timely book.”

—Adolfo Rivero Caro, columnist for El Nuevo Herald 
and co-founder of Cuba’s human rights movement

Cuba, close to America and frequently in our news, is a country hidden under a beard and cigar. At times, there are flashes—the Mariel boatlift, the Elián González dispute, or the visible anguish of people who take to the sea in rafts—when reality breaks through. Mostly, however, Americans do not fully understand what it means to live under a one-man regime.

“A charismatic leader from head to toe, Castro mesmerized listeners with his gift of flowery rhetoric.  Mobs gathered around Castro during his march to Havana, cheering him in an outpouring of adulation.... He smiled to all, promising free elections and justice for every Cuban.”

—Enrique Encinosa, UNVANQUISHED

“Fidel is not a communist.  Fidel is simply for himself. During his student days he admired Mussolini and quoted Hitler. If he had gained power twenty years earlier, he would have worn a swastika. Two centuries ago, he would have crowned himself emperor.”

—Rafael Díaz-Balart, Cuban senator and Fidel Castro’s 
former brother-in-law, UNVANQUISHED

In UNVANQUISHED  (Pureplay Press, June  2004; hardcover, $26.00) Enrique Encinosa gives us the first comprehensive history in English of the forty-five-year war that Cuba’s people have waged against Fidel Castro.  A concise and riveting narrative, mainly in the voices of its participants, UNVANQUISHED unmistakably shows Castro’s main opposition is not the exile community in Miami or the U.S. government, but rather the Cuban people who must live under his rule.

“Life in political prison was brutal. There were about a thousand of us [women] at Guanajay prison. The lights were never turned off. We covered our eyes with small pieces of cloth to sleep. The food was terrible. We ate dry noodles that often had bugs. I suffered from dysentery, parasites and skin infections on my feet and under my fingernails.... I lost all my teeth in prison.... I have seen young girls beaten, their bones broken, their gums bleeding.”

—Polita Grau, niece of Cuba’s ex-president Ramón Grau, UNVANQUISHED

Born in Havana in 1949 to parents who were political activists, Enrique witnessed the atmosphere of celebration when Batista fell and Castro took power. He then saw disillusionment set in when his parents and many others realized Castro was building a tyranny. As thousands of their comrades were being rounded up by Castro’s secret police, Enrique’s parents chose to emigrate to the U.S.

Faithful to its gritty subject matter, UNVANQUISHED depicts the heroism and persistence of Cubans in fighting against a harshly repressive regime that has been able to project sympathetic images throughout the world. Many of the book’s revelations concern details of America’s involvement in the Cuban resistance. Encinosa also sheds new light on the Bay of Pigs, the Mariel boatlift, the Guantanamo refugee crisis and the Elián González dispute. The book includes a full account of the recent crackdown against Castro’s political opponents.

“We were a generation that gave its all, fully aware of how justified we were in conspiring against Fidel Castro—and if I had to do it all over again, I would once more do the same. The most important thing in my life has been my country. For my country I lost my mother, my father, my career and my best years of my life. I lost the opportunity of being a mother. And for my country I would do it all over again.”

–Cary Roque, Cuban TV actress, UNVANQUISHED

Up-to-the-minute as well as historical, moving as well as informative, UNVANQUISHED promises to be a turning point in Americans’ understanding of a nearby country, close to our affections and still remaining to be known.

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Encinosa attended high school in Hammond, Indiana and college at Purdue University, where he developed an unusual dual interest: history and boxing. To this day, he retains a strong vocation in the sport as a trainer, manager, promoter, consultant to feature films and author of two books, including the recently-released Sugar and Chocolate: A History of Cuban Boxing. It is as a historian, however, that Encinosa has had his major influence. In 1989 he published widely praised studies, in English and Spanish, of an event practically unknown outside Cuba: a five-year-long guerrilla war against the Castro regime by inhabitants in the central region of the Escambray.

Encinosa’s historical works include Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution, Escambray: The Forgotten War and Cuba at War. All have been bestsellers in South Florida, where Enrique now lives and works as a news editor for Miami’s Spanish-language Radio Mambí.  His writing has appeared in various periodicals and newspapers including The Miami Herald, The Indianapolis Star, The American Spectator and Diario Las Americas.

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Boxing: This Is It! (Palm Springs, Ca.: ETC Publications, l985)
Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution (Austin, Tx.: Eakin Press, l989)
Escambray: La Guerra Olvidada (Miami: Editorial SIBI, l989)
Cuba En Guerra (Miami: National Endowment for Cuban Studies, 1994)
Azúcar y Chocolate: Historia del Boxeo Cubano (Miami: Universal, 2004)

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Pureplay Press is a Los Angeles-based publisher dedicated to the rescue of Cuba’s history and culture from the turbulence of the last half-century.

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UNVANQUISHED: Cuba’s Resistance to Fidel Castro by Enrique Encinosa; Pureplay Press; hardcover; 256 pages, 8 pages B&W photos; June 2004; $26.00; 0-9714366-6-5.



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