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Reina Peñate de Tito Collection

Identifier: MS Group 022

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 to determine whether the person should be released.

The collection also contains one scrapbook with news clippings, photographs, letters, and documents regarding her experience as a political prisoner and about other women who were also political prisoners from Cuba. It also includes one magazine “The Miami Herald” Special publication on “Mariel. 25 años después. La travesía, los testimonios.”


  • Creation: 1961 - 2011



The collection is open for research.

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.


0.26 Linear feet (1 folder. 1 scrapbook)

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian


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 release documents. The collection also contains one scrapbook with news clippings, photographs, letters, and documents regarding her experience as a political prisoner, and “The Miami Herald” magazine special publication on "Mariel. 25 años después. La travesía, los testimonios."

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at

Acquisition Information

Reina Peñate de Tito donated the collection to the University of Florida in 2012. The scrapbook "Chronicles of an ex-prisoner" and the Magazine "Miami Herald" were added to the collection in 2020.

Related 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.

The following collections are related to other political prisoners from Cuba:

Rafael Martínez Pupo Papers Relating to Comandos Mambises, at the University of Florida.

Manuel Ray Oral History Collection , at the University of Florida.

Alfredo Sánchez Echeverría Papers on Aureliano Sánchez Arango, at the University of Florida.

A Guide to the Reina Peñate de Tito Collection
Finding aid created by Margarita Vargas-Betancourt
October 2012 (Updated October 2020)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America