Camilo Cienfuegos- Ernesto Che Guevara- Fidel Castro
The “Holy Trinity” of the Cuban Revolution. Three personas that changed the course of history not only of Cuba and Latin america but of the whole world. With Fidel and Che, much is known, but he who loves Cuban history and wants to find out more; needs also to know about Camilo.
Declared to all and loved as the “comandante of the Peopl” ; born 02:06:1936 in Havana by Spanish anarchist parents; Camilo exhibited his intentions at an early age. Only 18 years old he participated in demonstrations against the increase of Urban bus fares. A few years later, on 03.10.1952 he was actively involved in the coup against the fascist dictator Batista having undergone preparation and training with other comrades. It was there that relationships where born with people that would play a vital role later on in his life.
Camilo immigrated to the USA at the age of 20 to find better economic conditions; but two years later, after local persecution, he returned back to Cuba. His return was signified by a firearm injury he sustained on 12.14.1955 while demonstrating in honor of Antonio Maceo, hero of the Cuban Independence. This diod not stop him and a few months later he was arrested by the police of the dictator in an event organised by the Communist class. In March 1956 he left back for the USA; however in the following September he met up with Fidel Castro in Mexico. Fidel was then leader of the M-16-7 and gave the green light to board the legendary Granma. The boat had a capacity of 38 passengers; but it loaded 82 rebels at the time and set sail for Cuba. Camilo, then 23 years old, did not think twice about boarding a vessel which set sail into the wolves lair. A storm complicated the vessels navigation and landing was delayed by two days; this allowed Batista’s army to mount their ambush- having been previously informed by people still loyal to the dictator.
It was an uneven battle. In front of the fully prepared army troops, the guerrilla force of Fidel accounted for huge losses; 60 fighters in all. From this battle which became known as the Battle of Alegria del Pio, Camilo showed what he was made of. In a particular battle scene there was huge panic and the dictatorial army appealed to the Guerrillas to surrender. They received a resounding response, with young Camilo shouting:
“Aqui no se rinde nadie Carajo!!” – “Here! nobody fucking surrenders!” –
Che actually referred to this account in his memoirs.
The stories that surround Camilo are countless. His manliness and his passion for freedom were the reasons which forced Fidel to honour him as the first, of two, commandantes which lead the largest popular revolutionary struggle.
Following the flight of Batista from Cuba, Camilo marches into Havana on board the military vehicle along with his lifelong friend and comrade Che Guevara, glorious revolutionary victors; following a three year vicious struggle in the mountains of Sierra Maestra.
A cue that went down in history, was once when Fidel was delivering a speech to the people of Cuba, he suddenly turned to Camilo and asked:
– Camilo, am I doing well?
and Camilo answered:
– Vas Bien Fidel (You’re doing fine Fidel)
A short conversation which exhibited the relationship that both had between them and the unbreakable mutual respect they carried for each other.
Camilo, like all the rest, becomes one with the people and starts the hard work for the implementation of major social reforms in the country. Unfortunately on 28.10.1959, a few months after the liberation of Cuba, Camilo died in a plane crash. The plane would crash into the sea after it underwent an air attack with two American warplanes that hounded it down.
Cuba is immersed in grief! The emotional mobilisation of the entire Cuban population reflected the human unity of the Cubans, but above all showed the recognition to all those who fought with all their might, against all odds, and at all costs to eradicate Fascism. Camilo, just 27 years of age, managed to get into the hearts and minds of Cuba and his immortal presence is honoured with brilliant memorial events which take place all accross the country over a period of three weeks (28/10-19/11)
Comandante Camilo Cienfuegos
Aqui no se rinde nadie Carajo!