In 1511, Diego Velázquez set out from Hispaniola to conquer the island of Caobana (Cuba). He was preceded, however, by Hatuey, who fled Hispaniola with a party of four hundred in canoes and warned the inhabitants of Caobana about what to expect from the Spaniards.
Bartolomé de Las Casas later attributed the following speech to Hatuey. He showed the Taino of Caobana a basket of gold and jewels, saying:
The people of Caobana could not believe Hatuey's message, and few joined him to fight. Hatuey resorted to guerrilla tactics against the Spaniards, and was able to confine them to their fort at Baracoa. Eventually the Spaniards succeeded in capturing him. On February 2, 1512, he was tied to a stake and burned alive at Yara.
Before he was burned, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. Hatuey asked "Are there Spaniards in heaven?" When the priest assured him that there were many, Hatuey replied "If Christians go to heaven, I do not want to go to Heaven".
The town of Hatuey was named after the Taíno hero and is in the Camaguey province of Cuba. Prior to 1962, the town center included the local general store Hermanos Teichberg, a Guarapo window, a few other stores and the postage stamp size train station. Guajiros used to come into town for shopping, particularly after the "zafra" or sugar harvest. Workers from the nearby Najasa Mill also shopped in town. The rail line running through town was used to ship sugar cane to mills. The canes would fall off or be plucked off by youngsters - to be chewed or made into delicious Guarapo, or sugar cane juice, to be iced for immediate drinking.
A beer called Hatuey was formerly brewed in Cuba by Bacardi but is now brewed by the Bacardi-owned Indian Head Brewery in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. This light lager (5.5% alcohol by volume) is sold in green bottles with a red label depicting a Taino profile.
There is also a Cuban American malta (soft drink) called Hatuey. It has a Taíno profile as its logo. In the Dominican Republic there is a hugely popular brand of soda crackers called "Hatuey & Guarina".