DALLAS MORNING NEWS, MAY 5, 1962

Front Page:

A photograph of Sarita and Annie Odio with the following caption: "AWAIT HAVANA VERDICT" Cuban sisters Annie Laurie Odio, 16, an Ursuline Academy student, and Sarita Odio, 20, of the University of Dallas, were awaiting word Friday from Havana. Their parents were scheduled for trial two days ago for alleged counterrevolutionary activity in Cuba.

Children Pray for a Miracle

Exiles Fear Parents Shot By Cuban Red Firing Squad

By Larry Grove

"Don't expect us. If we have to die to make Cuba free, we shall die here."

Sarita Odio recalled vividly Friday those last words her parents passed to her.

Her parents were to go before the Communist court of Fidel Castro two days ago after months in Cuban jails. The charge against her father, Amador Odio, and her mother: Counterrevolutionary activity against the Castro government.

The 20-year-old University of Dallas student has heard no word of a verdict or sentencing that may have already come. She had hoped and prayed for a miracle. But she is conditioned as her four sisters and five brothers are that the sentence will probably bring a firing squad for her father and mother.

"We have always been revolutionaries," said the dark-haired, blue-eyed Cuban girl. "When my father was only 17 and my mother was 14, when they were in school, they fought for Cuba against the dictator Machado.

"Mother was strapped to a pole and whipped with a machete, until her ribs were broken.

"And Batista turned out to be a dictator, too. There were searches at any hour of the night."

In defiance of Batista's dictatorship, Odio worked with Castro; he put his trucks into service, carrying ammunition to the mountains. "Mother sewed uniforms for the revolutionaries."

Sarita spoke softly, her voice carrying enough of defiance to hold back tears. Her voice choked as she talked of times before Castro betrayed the revolution. She knew him as a man who was quick with flattery and, like her family, almost, a man who seemed willing to die to rid Cuba of a dictator.

"He wore a Catholic medal around his neck, for he knew the people would never have accepted him as a Communist," she said.

Resources of the wealthy Odio's trucking firm were put into Castro's service during the earliest of the fighting. But the friendship and favor did not spare Odio from later confiscations. All was taken. "When my father went to ask about it. Che Guevara told him he would be dead in two seconds if he did not leave the office."

But Sarita said the family knew, even before all their personal belongings were taken, that Castro had been Communist all along. "We were slow to believe that because we were so blinded by Batista's cruelties. We wanted to believe only that Cuba was finally free of a dictator."

In November of 1960 before the ill-fated counterrevolutionary invasion Sarita and four other members of the Odio family had papers in order for the flight to Miami. The other five took their flight to the U.S.A. and arrived on Easter Sunday. Scattered as the family is now in Puerto Rico, Miami and Dallas they are trying to arrange a reunion in the summer.

Of Castro, Sarita says: "He is a monster. The Cuban people will not stop fighting communism: there has been much bloodshed already, but now there must be more."