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Manuel Ray Oral History Collection

Identifier: MS Group 088

Scope and Content

The collection includes two interviews conducted by Lillian Guerra, one with Manolo (aka Manuel) Ray that is nine hours long, and the other with Aurora Chacón de Ray that is one hour and a half in length. Also included is a transcript of both interviews that is 74 pages in length, a photo of Manolo and Aurora's wedding, a photo of Manolo as a young man, a newspaper clipping, and some photos of the meetings with Lillian Guerra.

Guerra conducted these interviews in February of 2009 over the course of three days in Ray's home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The films of Ray are long and detailed, covering his childhood through the many actions taken by the 26th of July Movement in Havana and elsewhere. Well documented is the period 1959-1963 when he became alienated from the authoritarianism of the Revolution. Also interviewed was Ray's wife Aurora Chacón de Ray who had many, interesting comments to contribute.


  • Creation: 2008-2009



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Manuel Ray Rivero (1924- ) was an important figure in the Cuban Revolution and in the counterrevolutionary movements that followed it. From 1957 to 1959, Ray was the Secretary General of the Movimiento de Resistencia Cívica or MRC (Civic Resistance Movement) where he was in charge of action and sabotage units. He was also one of Cuba's most renowned engineers; he designed the famous and critical tunnel connecting both sides of the bay of Havana and the Havana Hilton (known as Habana Libre since 1959). Fidel Castro appointed him as the first Minister of Public Works in the 1959-1960 revolutionary government, but he only lasted in this position for a few months. He resigned from the Cabinet when Fidel Castro demanded Ray's support for the execution of Huber Matos in 1959.

Ray then became an important counterrevolutionary leader. He founded groups such as the Movimiento Revolucionario del Pueblo or MRP (Revolutionary Movement of the People) in 1960 and the Junta Revolucionaria Cubana or JURE in 1962. Although Ray had already left Cuba, through these groups he attempted to mobilize internal counterrevolutionary movements there. He operated with CIA aid, but after several failed attempts of infiltration and invasion, the CIA withdrew its support.


0.1 Linear feet (5 Folders)

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian


Two filmed interviews conducted by Lillian Guerra, one with Manuel Ray (aka Manolo) that is nine hours long, and the other with Aurora Chacón de Ray that is one hour and a half in length. Also included is a transcript of both interviews that is 74 pages in length and several photos.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at

Acquisition Information

Lillian Guerra donated the collection to the University of Florida in 2012.

A Guide to the Manuel Ray Oral History Collection
Finding aid created by Margarita Vargas-Betancourt
March 2013
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