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Press Release - February 18, 2008

Fidel Castro's Hand-Drawn Revolution Battle Map in Auction

Dallas, Texas: Fidel Castro's hand-drawn and signed map depicting his unsuccessful July 26, 1953 revolution-launching attack on Cuba's Moncada Barracks (Cuartel Moncada) will be offered in a public auction by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas (www.HA.com), February 21, 2008. The unique map was created for and given to journalist, Bernardo Viera, two days after Castro was freed from 19 months in prison in May 1955.

At the time, Viera was Castro's friend and a fellow member of the Orthodoxo political party. Four years later he became one of the first journalists to publicly reject Castro's support of Communism. He was arrested and exiled to Venezuela.

Now 76 years old and a resident of Miami, Viera kept the remarkable map for over a half-century and has consigned it to the auction.

"This is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and historically important documents created by Castro ever to be offered for sale. The map involves the start of the famous 26th of July Movement, the 1953 assault on the Moncada Barracks that eventually brought Castro to power in 1959 when he overthrew the government of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista," said Sandra Palomino, Heritage's director of manuscripts.

The 13 by 8.5 inch folded map is drawn in blue ink and signed by Castro, "A mi brillante amigo Vierita Fidel," (To my brilliant friend, Viera, Fidel).

"I went to see Fidel Castro at his sister Lydia's home the same day he arrived there from prison on May 17, 1955. I asked him how the assault to the Cuartel Moncada had taken place, and Castro then proceeded to draw on a piece of paper while he explained. When he concluded his explanation I asked him to sign the drawing," recalled Viera.

Several days later, Viera left Cuba for Europe where he was a correspondent for Bohemia magazine.

"When I returned to Cuba in 1959 to support Castro I realized that he had left the (Young Orthodox) political party we had all belonged to and he was now associated with the Communist party. After writing against Castro's new ideals, and being arrested for doing so, I left Cuba as an exile in Venezuela," explained Viera.

"The map was reproduced in the first edition of a book, Fidel Castro: Vida y Obra (Fidel Castro: Life and Work) by Luis Conte Aguero, that was published in Havana in 1959. Subsequent editions deleted references to him and the map after Viera's exile," said Palomino.

"A first edition copy of the book accompanies the map in the auction, along with a letter of authentication written and signed by Viera and his daughter, Bernadette Viera-Rausseo."

The Moncada Barracks facility in Santiago de Cuba is now a school and museum, and is frequently visited by foreign dignitaries including Venezuelan President Hugo Chàvez last month.

For additional information, contact Heritage Auction Galleries, (800) 872-6467, or online at www.HA.com.


I am not sure what it sold for. If I find out I will pass it along FWIW

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