Roland Masferrer

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Rolando "Tigre" Masferrer Rojas was a very complex person. One of his grand nephews. Marc Masferrer, writes:

"... my great-uncle Rolando Masferrer.(:) Lawyer. Poet. Journalist. Communist Party member. Spanish Civil War veteran. Expelled Communist Party member. Enemy of Fidel Castro. Senator. Fighter. That’s him. I’m sure some, including the folks in charge in Havana, have a few other choice ways to describe Rolando. Thief. Gangster. Murderer. ..." [1]

Masferrer, after he was wounded in battle during the Spanish Civil War, became an famous assassin in Spain.[2] He was brave, ruthless, and corrupt.[3] It was said that his victims last memories were hearing a lame man following them dragging his feet. After he came back from Spain he made a public break with the Cuban communist party at a meeting at the Soviet Embassy in Havana while talking to Ernest Hemingway. Fabio Grobart --Joseph Stalin's man in Havana—tried to get him to rejoin the communist party, but who could trust Grobart, who is widely believed linked to a number of murders of defectors such as Julio Antonio Mella and left wing rivals such as Sandalio Junco. Masferrer participated in the "student" action group struggles that destabilized Cuba in the democratic Autentico Years, on one occasion after Fidel Castro, who then belonged to a different action group,[4] tried to kill him he remarked in words to the effect that he recognized Castro by his rapidly retreating fat posterior. In 1947 he participated in the massive, but frustrated attempt by the Caribbean Legion to overthrow Rafael L. Trujillo, the Dictator of the Dominican Republic. After the March 10th 1952 Batista coup, he first thought to fight Fulgencio Batista, then decided to join him. He developed a murderous repressive force "Los Tigres de Masferrer," and yet he was not right wing for his instance his plan to suppress the guerrillas of Fidel Castro was to buy the huge Sevilla Hacienda in the heights of the Sierra Maestra mountains and divide up among the local montunos so as to give a base to resist the Castro Forces.

After Masferrer fled Cuba in January 1959, he made several attempts to overthrow Castro. These attempts failed because his misdeeds plus virulent pro-Castro propaganda had left him with the most unsavory of reputations. In Halloween 1975 he was blown up in Miami. As usual in these cases it is not known precisely who did it, some say it was disgruntled criminal rivals, although it is common and most logical to blame Castro.[5]

Adaptations of the Masferrer's persona are also found in the literature [6]


  1. Masferrer, Marc 2006 Rolando Masferrer, the man from Holguín. Uncommon sense Monday, October 30, 2006
  2. Rolando Masferrer was wounded twice in Spain, (de la Cova, Antonio Rafael 2007 The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution. University of South Carolina Press ISBN 1570036721ISBN-13 978-1570036729 Page 287-288) “then having his heel blown away in a mortar attack, leaving him with a permanent limp and the moniker “El Cojo.”
  3. To give a measure of Masferrer’s bravery is this report: U.P. 1952 Cuban Congressmen Kills Two Gunmen Wisconsin State Journal. Friday. February 22, 1952 Page 8, Section 4
  4. Ros, Enrique 2003 Fidel Castro y El Gatillo Alegre: Sus A~nos Universitarios (Coleccion Cuba y Sus Jueces) Ediciones Universal Miami ISBN 1593880065
  5. Pardo Llada, Jose (accessed 6-10-08) Radio WRHC November 1975
  6. Rolando Massferrer even left a trace in literature see: Ruiz Zafón, Carlos 2001 La sombra del viento Editorial Planeta Barcelona describes a figure “Inspector Fumero” lame turn coat assassin who clearly seems based on Rolando Masferrer. E.g. p. 237 “Un florista ambulante que vendía manojos de rosas y claveles en la esquina opuesta nos dijo que sólo recordaba a una persona que se hubiese acercado a la casa recientemente, pero era un hombre mayor, casi anciano y algo cojo. .Muy mala leche tenía, la verdad. Le quise vender un clavel para el ojal y me envió a la mierda, diciendo que había una guerra y que no estaba el horno para flores. No había visto a nadie más. Miquel le compró unas rosas mustias y, por si acaso, le dejó el teléfono de la redacción del Diario de Barcelona para que le dejase recado allí si por ventura alguien que encajase con la figura de Carax se dejaba ver. De allí, nuestra siguiente parada fue el colegio de San Gabriel, donde Miquel se reencontró con Fernando Ramos, su antiguo compañero de estudios. Fernando era ahora profesor de latín y griego y vestía el hábito. Al ver a Miquel en tan precario estado de salud se le cayó el alma a los pies. Nos dijo que no había recibido la visita de Julián, pero prometió ponerse en contacto con nosotros si lo hacía, e intentar retenerle. Fumero había estado allí antes que nosotros, nos confesó con temor. Ahora se hacía llamar inspector Fumero y le había dicho que, en tiempos de guerra, más le valía andarse con ojo. .Mucha gente iba a morir muy pronto, y los uniformes, de de cura o de soldado, no paraban las balas. Page 253 “Supimos que Fumero había traicionado a todos aquellos que le habían encumbrado durante la guerra y que ahora estaba al servicio de los vencedores. Se decía que él estaba ajusticiando personalmente volándoles la cabeza de un tiro en la boca. a sus principales aliados y protectores en los calabozos del castillo de Montjuïc.” Ruiz Zafon, Carlos (Lucia Graves translator) 2005 The Shadow of the Wind (La Sombra del Viento). Phoenix (Orion Publishing Group Ltd, Penguin Group) ISBN-10 0753820250 ISBN-13 978-075382025 Page 28 "... and the name of the man who had killed my father in the moat of Montjuïc Castle. His name was Fumero, Javier Fumero. We were told that this individual started off as a hired gunman with the FAI anarchist syndicate and then flirted with the communists and the fascists, tricking them all, selling his services to the highest bidder. After the fall of Barcelona, he had gone over to the winning side and joined the police force. Now he is a famous bemedaled inspector. “ page 37 "... A motionless figure stood outside in a patch of shadow on the cobbled street. The flickering amber glow of a cigarette was reflected in his eyes. He wore dark clothes. With one hand buried in the pocket of his jacket … his eyes fixed on mine … I wanted to return the greeting but was paralyzed. The figure turned, and I saw the man walking away, with a slight limp. ..." Page 387 "... Francisco Javier Fumero had joined the army, attaining the rank of lieutenant. There were many who envisaged him as a future general, but ..." “Page 400: "... seeing one person approaching the house recently, but this was almost an old man, with a bit of a limp. "Frankly, he seemed pretty nasty. ..." “Page 428: "... We lived on rumors, secluded. We heard that Fumero had betrayed all the people who had helped him advance during the war and was now in the service of the victors. It was said that he was personally executing his main allies and protectors in the cells of Montjuïc Castel – his preferred method of a pistol shot in the mouth ..." Cuba is mentioned albeit out of this context on pages 64, 149, 232, and 321.