Judge Adalberto Parúas, grandfather of Brian Adalberto Parúas, was a judge in the revolutionary tribunal in Santiago, Cuba on February 13th, 1959. He sat bench on a case which was built against 43 members of General Fulgencio Batista’s Air Force whom were set to be executed for their alleged crimes which included genocide, murder, treason, and more. Before the multi-week trial began, Fidel Castro denounced the accused, stating that they were “the worst criminals of the Batista regime.”
Judge Parúas, along with Major Felix Lugerio Peña and Antonio Yabor, presided over the trial. Antonio Cejas Sanchez was the prosecutor and Lieutenant Arisides Acosta defended the airmen. During the three weeks of testimony, civilians from the bombed area provided eyewitness accounts of the bombings, and flight reports signed by pilots and gunners documented their missions. The defense maintained that the reports were deliberately falsified due to fear of their superiors and the backlash it would cause should the airmen be acquitted, and so, it was stated that the pilots had dropped their bombs in unpopulated areas.
Two pilots, Mario Bermudez Esquivel and Robert Lanz Rodriguez, testified that they had falsified the reports. Following the pilots’ admittance to giving false testimonies, the defense then pointed out that there had been few deaths and injuries caused by what supposedly had been the use of six thousand bombs and over five million machine gun bullets.
On March 2nd, 1959, the 43 airmen of General Batista’s Air Force were acquitted by Judge Adalberto Parúas, dismissing the genocide charge because the court felt that the government had made no case against the airmen who had supposedly attempted to destroy racial, religious, and national groups.
The murder charges were also dismissed due to lack of proof of premeditation and further because it was not proven as to which of those on trial had produced the death and destruction.
Following the acquittal of the 43 airmen, Fidel Castro denounced the verdict, calling it “a great error of the revolutionary court to acquit these criminal airmen…. It would be the height of ingenuousness of a people and of a revolution to free those who have been the most cowardly assassins and servants of the tyranny” as reported by the New York Times on March 4th, 1959.
Brian Adalberto Parúas gained notoriety during his time working in the Florida Senate under Senator James A. Scott because many of its past and current Cuban American legislators were direct descendants of the 43 pilots saved by the tribunal’s decision in 1959.