Friday, June 8, 2007

More Like Tony the Tiger

Marc Masferrer has a post at Babalú on his jubilation at being elevated at long last from a second-class to a first-class contributor at Babalú along with the new class of Valalusians (I guess Marc at least gets seniority). On this solemn occasion Marc was required to choose a nickname for himself and he picked "El Tigre" in honor of his great-uncle the Tigre Másferrer (who used the accent mark even if Marc doesn't). He admires the fact that Uncle Rolando (whom he never met) was a "man of action." Nothing odd here: men of inaction always admire men of action. Marc, however, does not think that his great-uncle was a "patriot" even though he admits that he was on the right side of history.

As the old Italian saying goes: To those Whom God does not give sons, the Devil gives nephews.

Not a patriot? Really?

He must know something I don't (audible laughter in the background).

Not a "patriot" but still a role model?

I guess I could understand this if I had Marc's uncommon sense.


Vana said...

Is this not the same ancestor, that was a gangster and murderer, during the Batista days?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Although his nephew doesn't consider Rolando Másferrer a patriot, I do because the people that he was killing were Castro's rebels. He was himself murdered by Castro's agents in Miami in 1975

Vana said...

Thanks Manuel for clarifing that for me, somehow I always thought of him as a thug, but if he was killing fidelistas, then indeed he was a patriot.

Agustin Farinas said...

Rolando Masferrer had a very convoluted life and he changed sides many times in his lifetime. He fought in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Spanish Republic as a communist. He also participated as an organizer in the failed adventure of Cayo Confites against Trujillo together with guess who: Fifo himself. (although they hated each other) Later on in his life he gave his allegiance to Batista. His methods in combating fidelistas left very much to be desired, with their secuel of cruelties and abuses outside the law. His group was a paramilitary group, nothing more. Sorry but I have to disagree. I don't consider him a patriot but an opportunist who was a common ganster during the Trigger Happy days of the decade of the 1940's when pistol packing thugs were rampant at Havana University. He might have been killing fidelistas but I do not agree with the methods he used to acomplish his goal. Just my humble opinion.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The important thing is that he ended up on the right side of history, and if not with the angels, at least he killed his share of devils. Másferrer was a brave man, something not even his enemies dispute. By contrast, Castro was a coward, adept at shooting men behind their backs but never fighting them face to face, and this is something that even his ertswhile friends now admit.

Rolando Másferrer was an urbane and cultured man, although to battle thugs like Castro he had to meet and fight them on their level. He was not a defeatist as so many of Batista's adjuncts were. His irregulars brought the war to Castro and were the vanguard in the struggle against him. Másferrer would never have surrendered to Castro.

No, Másferrer was not a Martí; nor was he a Maceo (who is?) But one does not need to rise to their heights to be a patriot. It is enough — and more than enough — to be a Quintín Banderas. In my opinion, Másferrer's death at the hands of Castro's agents cleansed his life of its contradictions and left him a martyr in the cause of freedom.

One of the greatest tasks that will confront us when our country is free is to sort the villains from the heroes. Sometimes the evidence is not clear cut, but in Másferrer's case I believe that the scales ultimately tip in his favor.

Vana said...

Well I guess I'm going to have to read up Masferrer's life story, and make up my own mind about him, I had him pegged as a thug and murderer, my father in law a Batistiano thinks highly of him, I dunno