Maceo and Che vibrating in time and history

Maceo and Che vibrating in time and history
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14 June 2024
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The coincidences of life, accepted not without discussion by Marxism, brought together in Cuban history two titans of righteousness and courage and immortal freedom fighters: Lieutenant General Antonio Maceo (1845-1896) and the Heroic Guerrilla Ernesto Che Guevara (1928-1967), both of them born on June 14, albeit in different places.

Every year, the Cubans gladly travel to the world of metaphors and chance either individually or in collective celebrations of the date, aware that these heroes belong in the memory of both the island and the rest of the world, as their lives are example, inspiration and guidance.

Mambi General Antonio Maceo Grajales was born in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba back when the country suffered the Spanish colonial yoke, whereas Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, born in Rosario, Argentina, fought for the freedom of this land with great courage and devotion and loved it as its own.

Also remembered in Cuba for the greatness of his lineage, Maceo was the eldest son of the family founded by Mariana Grajales, venerated today as Mother of the Homeland, which also included Marcos Maceo, who also joined and died as a combatant of the Liberation Army.

He was young and full of extraordinary energy when he entered Cuban history as a major symbol of morality, fidelity and revolutionary fighting spirit marked by the events at Mangos de Baraguá on March 15, 1878 and his deeds, which few have equaled, in the Ten Years' War and the Necessary War.

Very soon he enlisted in the ranks of the nascent Liberation Army, a few hours after the uprising of October 10, 1868, fulfilling a mandate of his heart and his mother.

Encouraged by his mother, he and his brothers joined the fray following the uprising of October 10, 1868. One of them was José, who became a General and was killed in action in the late 19th century.

Antonio soon outstood for his great offensive strength, which earned him the rank of sergeant in his first combat. By October 20, he was already a lieutenant, and on December 10 he became a captain.

Then came the rank of lieutenant colonel, a position he held until 1872 when he was promoted to colonel and became Brigadier General halfway through the following year, and he received the stars of Major General in May 1877, a rank he kept until the end of the war, when he was forced to go into exile and settled in Costa Rica. Seventeen years later, he joined Martí and Máximo Gómez in the preparation of a new war, which broke out on February 24, 1895.

He fell at the age of 51 on December 7, 1896 in Punta Brava while consolidating the success of the Invasion from East to West. By then, his body bore the sacred traces of some 27 wounds, some of them very serious. Chroniclers and experts point out that he participated in more than 600 actions.

On his end, the beloved Che of the Cubans entered our history and hearts when he join in Mexico the expeditionary force that came in 1956 aboard the yacht Granma and went up into the Sierra Maestra mountains to fight for the freedom of the island and from which he came down as Commander, a rank bravely won in July 1957 as the leader of an army column that engaged in decisive combats, including the legendary final battle of Santa Clara.

He joined the struggle as a doctor but soon proved to be one of the most courageous soldiers and intelligent strategists. His years in Cuba earned him the trust and esteem of the top leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, and the other chiefs of the Rebel Army, as well as a strong bond with another beloved leader, Camilo Cienfuegos.

When the Revolution triumphed, he was Minister of Industry and President of the National Bank, and in both posts he showed a great dedication and performed his duties with dignity, creativity and honesty through a strict control system based above all else on discipline and conscientious work.

His austerity and modesty were proverbial and he excelled for his contribution to the defense of the Island in the bright and sad days of the threat of a worldwide nuclear war during the October Crisis.

As time passed by, the Argentine-born guerrilla who fell in combat for the freedom of Bolivia on October 9, 1967 earned the status of son of Cuba, consistent with the Bolivarian spirit of José Martí and Fidel Castro, among other heroes.

Remembering and learning from the lives and thoughts of both heroes becomes even more important for the youth and the entire people in times of hard ideological and political battles for the right to sovereignty and development in the midst of the brutal U.S. blockade of Cuba.

Maceo and Che, each in his time, became a source of inspiration. That is how the Cubans march today, following the Heroic Guerrilla's guidance without trusting imperialism... not even a little bit.

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