Gerald E. Poyo


In the midst of the political agitation and heightened nationalist fervor provoked by Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba, aged Francisco Andres Poyo, known by his family and friends as Pancho, in early 1961 lay ailing in his Havana home in the Almendares neighborhood. Of his seven children only his daughter Maria, and a trusted housekeeper, remained to attend his needs as he approached his ninetieth year. His wife, Louisa died in 1954 and all his children except Maria had either died or left Cuba. Maria tried to convince her father to leave so not to be alone, but he refused saying that at his age there was no point. Besides, Cuba was his country, for which the family had sacrificed dearly. He died in March, sparing him the spectacle of the Bay of Pigs invasion launched by Cuban exiles in April. After the funeral, Maria, who by government policy could take only one suitcase, distributed family possessions and archives to friends and relatives and departed the island, leaving the house with the housekeeper and her family.