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Cubans protest U.S. arms shipments to Batista: 1957 | by Washington Area Spark
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Cubans protest U.S. arms shipments to Batista: 1957

The following account was published in the August 12, 1957 Baltimore Sun:


“Washington, Aug, 11 (AP) –About 150 Cubans picketed the White House today to show their opposition to the Cuban government of President Fulgencio Batista, There were no disturbances.


“Men, women and children carrying flags and placards marched slowly back and forth along Pennsylvania avenue directly In front of the Executive Mansion.


“One of the stated objects of their march was to pay "tribute" to Earl E. T. Smith, the new American Ambassador to Cuba who recently criticized the use of fire hoses against antigovernment demonstrators in Cuba.


‘President Eisenhower was reported in the White House during the demonstration. It wasn't known whether he paid any notice to the marchers.


“Most of the pickets were Cuban nationals who live in New York. Some were from Washington, Boston and Chicago. The New York delegation drove here earlier today in a motorcade.


‘About twenty policemen were stationed in front of the White House but they had little to do except to keep passersby moving.


“Picket leaders distributed handbills which said the demonstration had three purposes:


I. To request the United States "not to send more arms to Batista's dictatorship in Cuba, nor lo permit any armaments manufacturer" to do so.

2. To pay tribute to Ambassador Smith, who two weeks ago criticized Cuban officials for turning fire hoses on an antigovernment women's rally. Cuban newspapers and officials in turn criticized Smith and a resolution demanding his removal was laid before the Cuban Congress. Action on the resolution was put off indefinitely,

3. To "reaffirm our backing and sympathy" !or Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary, who has been carrying on a campaign of terror against the Batista Government.


“Leading the marchers were three women dressed in black who carried an American flag.


Following them were women in similar garb carrying the Cuban flag and the flag of Castro's revolutionary movement.


“Behind the flag bearers walked two young girl wearing crimson hats, and white ankle-length gowns with blue sashes--the Cuban national colors.


“The older girl, Argelia Martinez, 15, New York city, carried a chain and padlock which she said represented "the Batista dictatorship."


“Legends on placards carried by the pickets included, ‘Cuba, the Hungary of America,’ and

'’7,000 political foes of Batista are in jail, 20,000 arc in exile.’


“The picketing was sponsored by three Cuban organizations headed by New Yorkers: Cuban Civic Action Committee, Democratic Workers Committee of Cuban immigrants, and the Orthodox Committee of New York.”


For more information and related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is an Associated Press photograph housed in the D.C. Public Library Washington Star Collection.


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Taken on August 11, 1957