Cleaver Free in Cuba


Fifth Estate # 80, May 29-June 11, 1969

HAVANA, Cuba—Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther leader is living and writing in Havana according to the British news agency, Reuters.

Cleaver, who disappeared in the United States late last year after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a phony charge of parole violation, was rumored to have been living in Cuba, but his whereabouts on the island had been a mystery.

He had been the object of a massive international search by the U.S. Government and reports persisted that he had been murdered by the CIA or living underground in every ghetto in the country till word came of his Cuban residence.

Cleaver is author of the best-seller, “Soul On Ice” based on his California prison experiences and is Minister of Information of the Black Panther Party.

The tall, bearded Cleaver is living in a sixth floor apartment just a few hundred yards from the center of Havana’s business center.

Cleaver, 33, told Reuters he could not immediately grant an interview. “It might cause some problems,” he added. Cleaver said he was working on a new book.

Cleaver has been living in Havana since November. He shaved off his beard shortly after arriving here to go unrecognized, but has since regrown it.

His home has become a meeting place for the small Black Panther colony in exile here and meetings are held with Cuban friends, the sources said.

The sources added that Cleaver has not yet met Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. Cleaver’s arrival and residence here has gone completely unreported in the Cuban press.