Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 28, 1958
36 Nabbed On Way To Cuba Rebels New Yorkers’ Boat, With Arms, Halted by U.S. in Gulf
BROWNSVILLE, Tex., Mar. 27 (AP)—The United States today seized 36 New Yorkers—all uniformed and heavily armed and on the way to join Fidel Castro, Cuban rebel leader.
The cloak-and-dagger sea action came just before dawn in the Gulf of Mexico. Their boat was stopped off shore by the Coast Guard.
The little band’s fiery commander, Arnaldo G. Barron, said all 36 had saved for months to buy the $20,000 in arms seized with the men.
Interviewed in Jail
Barron, in a jail interview, told the Associated Press most of the men are United States citizens. All were born in Cuba except one Puerto Rican. Some fought for the United States in World War II, he said.
The roster of the little band included a doctor and a man described as “a Protestant minister.” They range in age from 17 to 53.
Most of the information on the pre-dawn action came from Barron. Here is his story:
He flew to Mexico about 40 days ago to make arrangements. He made a deal for the arms—he won’t say with whom—which, he says, came from the United States. Barron rented a boat in Panama. The boat is the El Orion of Nicaraguan registry, an 83-footer.
The volunteers assembled last night on a beach on the Gulf of Mexico after arriving during the night from San Antonio, Tex. The arms and ammunition were delivered to him—Barron would not say how.
Then the band began ferrying the weapons to the El Orion, using rubber boats.
One Boat Overturns
One boat overturned but the weapons in it were saved. Barron blames this mishap for the capture because the rebels took time to dry the weapons.
Just before dawn the El Orion pushed into the gulf and was about ten miles from shore when a Coast Guard cutter hailed it.
The El Orion sought to make a run for it but was no match for the fast cutter.
The commander of the ban is 34. he was a construction worker in New York, and has a wife and two children still there. He was born in Camaguey, Cuba, he said, and is a naturalized United States citizen. He wears a small mustache and is 5 feet 10. He identified the doctor as Carlos Torreons. The minister, he said, is the Reverend Ignacio Mosquezo, a “Protestant” but not pastor of any church. The rebels wore gray-green uniforms resembling United States military battle dress.
“This expedition was stopped by the United States Coast Guard but there will be lots of others,” Barron said.