Who Was Orestes Ferrara?

Orestes Ferrara


Orestes Ferrara was a man who lived the life of a thousand men. In 1896, at age 20, when Orestes was a law student at the University of Naples, Italy, he ran away and left behind his well-to-do family and beloved friends to go fight a faraway war for the liberty of a nation in a small island in the American Continent named Cuba.

The young Italian fought like a lion, or better, like a Cuban, a Cuban "Mambi," to expel the Spanish Colony from the Caribbean island and became a Colonel in the "Cuban Independence War" better known as the "Spanish American War."

After the "Spanish American War" victory, Cuban Army Colonel Orestes Ferrara returned to his native country to finish his law education and visit his family and old friends.

Immediately after Orestes became an attorney, he went back to Cuba where he established one of the best and most well-known law firms in the young Cuban Republic.

During the first half of the twentieth-century Orestes Ferrara's popularity in Cuba was bigger than the one of a rock star! Married couples named their sons after him and, to this day, people constantly quote him and tell about his anecdotes and political debates.

Orestes survived an assassination attempt in 1940 on his way to the Cuban Senate. None of the ten bullets that entered his body completed the task. As the cowardly assassins escaped in their getaway car in fear of being caught, Orestes got into a taxi and went to an emergency room.

Throughout his life Orestes Ferrara occupied many of the highest-ranking jobs in Cuban Politics. He was Secretary of State, Cuban Ambassador to The United States of America and Delegate to UNESCO, just to name a few. Had Orestes been born in Cuba, chances are he would have taken the Presidency, also.

Orestes was an intellectual and a man of action. He wrote more than forty books and took part in more than a dozen duels, which, needless to say, he won. His books are part of the common persons library collection, public libraries, historians, intellectuals and Governments around the world for consulting purposes and interesting and knowledgeable reading.

It is hard to comprehend that when Orestes Ferrara was born in the middle of the Nineteenth Century, there was no electricity, cars, airplanes, army tanks, machine guns, movies, radio, television, plastic, phones, penicillin, two world wars, baseball, I Love Lucy, Communism, Women lib, computers, jeans, internet, The Beatles, you, me, and NASA sending men into space and to the moon. By the time he passed away Orestes Ferrara had seen the birth of all these marvelous wonders, discoveries and inventions come true, and befriended many of the individuals that revolutionized and brought unthinkable prosperity to mankind, and in many cases shrank the world we live in, like the Wright brothers.


Orestes Ferrara was and will always be bigger than life. I am proud and honored to have part of his blood running throughout my veins and be his grand nephew.


Farewell, Granduncle!

    Orestes Matacena