Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mario Llerena, 93, Dies; Castro Ally, Then Critic

By ANTHONY DePALMA
Published: December 12, 2006

Mario Llerena, a Cuban intellectual who was an early representative of Fidel Castro in the United States but who broke with him before he took power because of Mr. Castro’s shift toward Communism, died Sunday in Miami. He was 93.

His daughter, Stella Portada, said yesterday that he had died of natural causes at an assisted living center in Miami after recovering from a bout of pneumonia.


Mr. Llerena met Mr. Castro in Mexico in the mid-1950s as Mr. Castro was preparing for an invasion of Cuba to overthrow the military dictator Fulgencio Batista. At Mr. Castro’s request, Mr. Llerena put into writing the democratic ideals that underpinned the Castro movement in the early days of the uprising. The document, "Nuestra Razón" ("Our Reason"), was published in Mexico.


It was in 1957, a few months after Mr. Castro was widely believed to have been killed in the invasion, that Mr. Llerena played a pivotal role in skirting General Batista’s attempt to censor any news about it.


Read the rest here.

Photo (c) John Orris/The New York Times; Mario Llerena in 1957.

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