Celestino Heres is confident that Fidel Castro would have him killed if he had the opportunity. Heres, a retired computer systems professor, fled Cuba more than 50 years ago after fighting alongside Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the 1959 Cuban revolution .
Since leaving his teaching positions at UConn and Norwalk Community College, Heres has taken to self-publishing books inspired by his experiences.
"I want to inform the American people of what has been going on in Cuba," said Heres, holding a copy of "The Reluctant Revolutionary" in his hand. "I think anybody who is planning to go to Cuba for pleasure should read my book first."
The first-person memoir was printed in 2003. Late last year, Heres published "Unpardonable Crimes: The Legacy of Fidel Castro," a series of fictionalized stories based on true events.
"My [memoir] is not nostalgic," he said. "My book is a political book. ... This kind of book is not easy to write. This is not a pleasant book. This is a book you have to search your soul."
But he feels compelled. "It really devastates me to see the crimes that the Communists have committed in Cuba, and very few people in the world are very aware of it," he said. "This is why I have written the book. I want people to realize that the crimes that have been committed in Cuba are atrocious."
Heres can't return to Cuba, but he says he keeps up with current events there during his many trips to Miami, where he meets people who have fled the Communist country. "There is no food, there is no medicine," he said. "There is no life in Cuba."
He reminds Americans that if they get in trouble on the island nation, the United States government will not be able to help them.
Heres will share his thoughts on Cuba March 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Norwalk Public Library. He will also speak to Norwalk Community College's Lifetime Learners at March 24 and 31 at 3 p.m. and April 7 and 14 at 3 p.m. He will be at the Black Rock Library in Bridgeport from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Have you heard about the Cuban Revolution from someone who experienced it first-hand?
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