Che Guevera's Memorial

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
Trip End Dec 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
B&B Casa Deysi y Adiel

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Location of Che's Memorial

JUN 29; SANTA CLARA:   The town of Santa Clara is a good destination for those interested in Che, and Marta Estevez, the benefactor of many of the town's places of interest and its people. Marta Estevez was a philanthropist who promoted the enhancement of life for all citizens. She funded the building of Parque Vidal (central park), and many of the surrounding buildings that have been converted into public places such as the La Caridad Theater and the Biblioteca Marti library.

Why Santa Clara is important to the revolution.  From Wiki.
Santa Clara was the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in late 1958. There were two guerrilla columns that attacked the city, one led by Ernesto Che Guevaraand the other led by Camilo Cienfuegos. Guevara's column first captured the garrison at Fomento. Then, using a bulldozer, Guevara's soldiers destroyed railroad tracks and derailed a train full of troops and supplies sent by Batista.

 At the same time, Cienfuegos's column defeated an army garrison at the Battle of Yaguajay not far from town. On December 31, 1958, the combined forces of Guevara and Cienfuegos (along with other revolutionaries under William Alexander Morgan) attacked Santa Clara. The battle was chaotic, the defenders were demoralized, some fought, others surrendered without a shot. By the afternoon, the city was captured. This victory for Castro's troops is seen as the decisive moment in the Cuban Revolution as Batista fled Cuba less than 12 hours later. 

Before our visit to Che's Mausoleum, we stopped for a short while to visit the box car exhibit of the revolutionary war and how they lived and traveled inside these box cars. They also have on display a Caterpillar tractor that was used to build the railroad.

Santa Clara is the site of the turning point in the history of the Cuban revolution. A band of Cuban rebels engaged in battle with the government forces of General Batista, and was victorious under the leadership of Che Guevera. The government of Batista was toppled a few days later, and the revolution was successful.  Santa Clara is where Ernesto “Che” Guevara's Mausoleum is located.           
Here's my summary from the Wiki article on Che
He lived from May 14, 1928 to October 9, 1967. Che was a Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. He is a symbol of rebellion against economic inequalities and poverty that were driven by imperialistic governments. He traveled throughout South America to advance social reforms needed to remedy the inequalities.     While living in Mexico City, he met Fidel and Raul Castro, and joined their 26 of July Movement. They sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma (now displayed at the Revolution Museum in Havana), to overthrow the US-backed dictator Batista. Che rose to prominence amongst the insurgents, and was promoted to second-in-command. Following the revolution, Che performed numerous roles in the new government that including reviewing of appeals and firing squads, instituting agrarian land reform, spearheaded a successful nationwide literacy campaign, served as national bank president, and instructional director of Cuba's armed forces. Che remains both a revered and reviled historical figure that are recorded in multitudes of biographies, memoirs, documentaries, songs, and films. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

On our visit to the mausoleum, we could not take our cameras inside, but was allowed to take pictures on the outside grounds.

Inside the mausoleum are plaques of 16 fellow soldiers who fought with Che, and in the deepest part of the room is the flame above Che's grave. 

1c Marta Estevez
2b Teatro La Caridad (funded by Marta Estevez)

Our coach ride back to Havana was uneventful.


JUN 29: HAVANA: Our last night in Cuba was spent at the Melia Habana Hotel where we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant, the same restaurant where Alexander and I had very good sake and sushi last year in May, and served by our friendly and efficient waiter, Caesar. I also had dinner at this restaurant last October with a banker from El Paso, and Caesar remembered where I sat the previous five months when Alexander and I had dinner there. It was the same this time; the food and service was first rate. Alexander and I ended up at the lobby bar for our last mojito and cigar before we hailed a taxi to return to our B&B for the last night in Cuba.   

Pictures are posted in the blog dated June 30, 2012, CUBA PICTURES. 
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