The Cuban Revolution: Years of Promise

With vivid, unfiltered, photographs, an insider tells the story of the Cuban Revolution as it unfolds. Teofilo Babún Sr., a wealthy Santiago de Cuba businessman and logging camp owner, sensed that the small skirmish near his sawmill involving a ragtag band of guerrillas and the Cuban military was the beginning of something historic. Babún befriended Fidel Castro, the leader of the rebels, and negotiated access for his company photographer to Castro’s inner circle. Years later Babun’s son, Teofilo Jr., would come across these photos among his father’s belongings, and he now makes them available in this eyewitness account of the Cuban Revolution. The photographs of José “Chilin” Trutie capture everything—the Revolution’s soldiers and firing squads, President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 address in Miami to Cuban exiles, and Brigade 2506, the liberation army that sought to overthrow Castro. These images, most of them never before seen, vividly document the inner life of a revolution with candid images of rebels dining together, jeeps moving through rustic, muddy camps, and Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara walking side by side in a reflective moment. Trutie and his camera also catch the tragic side of revolutionary activity—burning sugar mills, jungle hospitals, and corpses with pockets turned inside-out, lying in open graves. These raw photos, combined with the narrative text of Teo A. Babún Jr. and Cuban-American historian Victor Triay, offer a one-of-a-kind perspective on the complex story of the Cuban Revolution.