Had he be given all the opportunities to develop
his skills in the pure speed specialties of athletics, his favorite
sport, no one would be able to imagine how far would have arrived
this man, black, poor, and hailing from the legendary province
of Camaguey, where he was born on August 5th, 1919.
Discriminated against, harassed, and hungry, he arrived to the
world of sport in his home town barely at the age of 20. He
started in high jumping and managed to mark 1.88 meters.
Soon he discovered his inborn gift for speed and, against all
obstacles, his excellent conditions started to open up the way
He became champion of the 100 meters in the Central American
Games held in Barranquilla'46, Guatemala'50, and Mexico'54.
Thus he achieved one of his greatest deeds.
By means of raffles and collection of funds he had the honor
of assisting to the Olympic Games London'46 and Helsinki'52
where he became the first Cuban to ever make it to a final of
the 100-meter test in such a high level competition.
He had a triumphant pass through Pan-american Games. In the
first edition taking place in Buenos Aires in 1951 he astonished
everybody when he obtained the gold medals of both the 100 and
200 meters. In the second and third edition of those events,
Mexico'55 and Chicago'59, he was the first in the 100-meter
The greatest injustice he had to face took place after his return
from Argentina in 1951. It is still remembered as a thick spot
on the sport system before the Revolution.
After his victorious arrival to Cuba, with two gold medals shining
on his chest, he was not given the homage he deserved and, on
top of that, he could not recover his job in public works because
he had been fired for having assisted to the competition. He
walked out sad: with two gold medals in his pocket, but with
the uneasiness of an uncertain future.