Eduardo René Chibás Ribas (1907 in Santiago de Cuba – August 16, 1951 in Havana, Cuba) was a Cuban politician who used radio to broadcast his political views to the public. He primarily denounced corruption and gangsterism rampant during the governments of Ramón Grau and Carlos Prío which preceded the Batista era. He believed corruption was the most important problem Cuba faced.
Chibás is considered to have had influence on Fidel Castro's views but his name is not mentioned in today's Cuba because he was avowedly anti-communist. However, Fidel Castro wrote an essay praising him, published in the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde on August 26, 2007.
In 1947 he formed the Ortodoxos party which had the goal of exposing government corruption and bringing about revolutionary change through constitutional means. Castro also joined as he considered Chibás as his mentor. Chibás lost the 1948 election for president, coming in third place. He was an extremely strong critic of that election’s winner, Carlos Prío Socarrás.
On August 5, 1951, Eduardo Chibás walked into radio station CMQ in Havana, for his weekly radio broadcast. That day he had promised to furnish the evidence supporting his claim that education minister Aureliano Sanchez Arango was embezzling money. Instead, he talked about other topics, warned that Fulgencio Batista might attempt a military coup, and made a farewell statement. Chibás, who was also a senator, was supposed to present evidence from congressmen supporting his claim, who ultimately refused to do so, and Chibás believed that killing himself was the only way he could apologize for his inability to keep his promise. Chibás shot himself during his weekly radio show; however, he had forgotten that his allotted radio time was only 25 minutes. The shot took place while a commercial advert for "Cafe Pilon" was running, thus eliminating the planned effect of "his grand finale".
The whole country grieved for Chibás, who was initially expected to survive, but after eleven days of intensive care, he died in the hospital of his wounds. He is buried in the Colon Cemetery, Havana. His funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands, and it has been speculated that he might have been a contender for the 1952 presidential elections. Batista took the government by force on March 10, 1952.
His parents were Eduardo Justo Chibás Guerra and Gloria de Ribas Agramonte.
- "Castro signs essay, keeps mum on death rumors", in CNN.com. URL accessed August 26, 2007.