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WRITINGS ON THE SAND by Bonifacio L. Haza
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The author was born in Santiago de Cuba. His father, Bonifacio Haza Grasso, was a member of the National Police, and often was transferred from town to town bringing his family with him. The writer narrates in chronological order, stories that elicit laughter and tears, woe and wonder, as he lived through extraordinary situations witnessed from a vantage point rarely accessible to most people. He learned at an early age that sometimes things are not quite as they seem. That while it is commonly accepted that doing the right thing when nobody is watching is a sign of integrity, in the presence of others one must temper one’s behavior with the realization that to achieve a higher end it may be advisable to have patience and keep silent where being right is not taken into consideration, and where the truth is disagreeable. “Writings on the Sand” is the story of how the world looked to a boy, from his first glimpses of childhood memories of a democratic Cuba before Fulgencio Batista’s coup d’état in 1952. His father’s favoring of a return to democracy and constitutionality, the unfolding of a revolutionary movement that promised a return to democracy but resulted in Cuba becoming a part of the communist bloc. His father’s execution by firing squad, which caused his family to move to the United States of America by way of Spain in 1964, and their subsequent life in America. “Writings on the Sand” also shows through specific instances, in the order in which they happened, examples of the method employed by the Castro brothers to take Cuba towards a communist dictatorship to perpetuate themselves in power. The author describes how his life and that of his family were affected by circumstances that placed them at the center of the conflict, relating how they were in Santiago de Cuba during Fidel Castro’s attack of the Moncada Garrison in Santiago on July 26, 1953. Also, following Castro’s subsequent return to Cuba to form the Rebel Army, the author recounts watching as the revolution against the Batista regime unfolded, and being aware of his family’s participation in that process, which culminated with the resignation of President Fulgencio Batista and his exit from Cuba on December 31st, 1958. The author’s father was Chief of the National Police in Santiago de Cuba on December 31st, 1958. Following the resignation of President Fulgencio Batista, the events that occurred on January 1st, 1959 in Santiago de Cuba and his father’s participation in these events are recounted. How his father acted as intermediary to help establish communication between Command Headquarters of the National Army in Santiago de Cuba and that of Fidel Castro’s Rebel Army, to effect a pact that would help resolve the conflict and re-establish the democratic process that was interrupted by the coup d’état. After being publicly thanked by Fidel Castro for helping to achieve a peaceful resolution to the war, and after being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel by Raul Castro, assuming his new position as Aide to Chief of the Army, Bonifacio Haza Grasso was forced to stand in front of a trench and executed with 70 other prisoners. The eyewitness account of how the country was gradually transformed into a communist dictatorship, and the family’s desperate efforts to exit the island before the possibility of departure was extinguished, is punctuated with stories of profound human interest. “Writings on the Sand” is the author’s recollection of his life’s story and that of his family during a time of great turmoil in Cuban history. He wrote it because he had to, because regardless of how strong the desire to tell it was, it paled in comparison to the overwhelming sensation that he couldn’t not tell it. That no matter how many times the story is told, it’s never enough.
Hillcrest Media Group, Inc.; December 2012
ISBN 9781938690969
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Author: Bonifacio L. Haza