Skip to Search

A Guide to the Reina Peñate de Tito Collection

Finding aid created by Margarita Vargas-Betancourt

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
October 2012

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Peñate de Tito, Reina, 1929-
Title: Reina Peñate de Tito Collection
Dates: 2001-2009
Abstract: In 1961, Reina Peñate de Tito joined a counter revolutionary group that sought to overthrow Fidel Castro. That same year, along with other members of the group, she was arrested. This collection includes testimonials on her experience as a political prisoner as well as copies of the sentence and of the release documents.
Extent: 0.01 Linear feet. 1 folder.
Identification: MS Group 22
Language(s): Spanish
Note: This guide is available in Spanish at

Biographical/Historical Note

Reina Peñate de Tito was born in 1929 in Central Preston, Oriente, Cuba. In 1959, she lived in Havana and worked at the Ministerio de Educación. Two years later, she joined a counter revolutionary group, led by Eumelio Rodríguez. On May 17, 1961, the G2 (secret agents from the Department of National Security) ambushed the group. Peñate de Tito and other members of the group were sentenced to nine years of prison. During those years, she was taken to several prisons, such as Guanabacoa, La Cabaña, Guanajay (in Pinar del Río), Baracoa (in Oriente), and La Granja América Libre. In her testimonials, she names some of the other political prisoners that she encountered, such as Polita Grau, the niece of President Grau who had been First Lady during his term, and Sara del Toro, former owner of a plantation (finca) that later became the prison América Libre. Peñate de Tito was released on January 5, 1970.

Scope and Content

In this collection, Peñate de Tito describes life in jail as a political prisoner during Fidel Castro's regime, as well as her feelings, and the friendships she made. A significant aspect of her testimonials is that she describes the way political prisoners not only survived but were able to rebel and resist while incarcerated. Furthermore, she explained institutional policies that the government used to deal with political prisoners, such as "El Consejo," which was a trial that took place when the political prisoner had finished his/her sentence in order to determine whether the person should be released.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

Carlos González Blanco was another member of the counter revolutionary group that Eumelio Rodríguez led. Like Reina Peñate de Tito, he was a political prisoner. His letters make up the Carlos González Blanco Collection.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Reina Peñate de Tito Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Reina Peñate de Tito donated the collection to the University of Florida in 2012.

Contents List

1 Two photos of Reina Peñate de Tito. 2009
1 Letter to Frida Masdeu. October 25, 2009
1 Letter to Frida Masdeu with a narration of her imprisonment in Cuba. August 16, 2009
1 Typewritten transcription (with modifications) of the letter from Reina to Frida. Not dated
1 Photocopies of a testimonial written by Reina. 2001
1 Photocopies of the sentence documents. July 17, 1961
1 Photocopy of release document. December 31, 1969

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Political prisoners -- Cuba

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

University of Florida Home Page