The Trip to Che Guevara’s Campsite

Elio Delgado Legon

In the Escambray mountains. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — One day after captain Chaviano returned from Che Guevara’s campsite, that is to say, on Friday, December 13, 1958, we all went down the hill known as El Piquito, towards the town of San Blas, to depart for El Pedrero. There, we would place ourselves under the command of Che Guevara who, on orders from Fidel Castro, had taken command of all rebel troops at the center of the country.

In order to gain time, the captain had arranged for a four-wheel drive truck and a van to take us as far down the road as possible, as Che Guevara needed to gather all of the troops as soon as possible.

Getting out of San Blas was going to be the most difficult part of the trip, for we had to head up La Ventana, a hill with a 4-kilometer-long, steep incline. Some of the members of the guerrilla climbed onto the truck and van. The others (myself included) decided to head up the hill on foot, for we didn’t think the vehicles would be able to negotiate the steep slope without any troubles and there was a chance an accident could happen.

We started up La Ventana at noon. Those of us on foot went ahead, to gain time. A short time later, the pickup truck headed out with a small group of people on board, followed by the truck. As we’d anticipated, the pickup didn’t make it to the top of the hill: the engine broke down a few meters from the highest point and was stuck in the middle of the road, blocking the truck’s way.

When the driver of the truck came upon the pickup in the middle of the road, he tried to squeeze between it and the precipice to the right, but the edge of the path gave way and the truck almost fell off the road. The few people who were still inside the truck jumped out as soon as they sensed the danger, for locals had told us that all vehicles that had fallen off the road had been completely destroyed.

The driver tied the truck to a tree at the side of the road using a thick rope he had and went in search of help. It was already past four in the afternoon and we were at the peak of the first hill, that is to say, about four kilometers from San Blas.

Captain Chaviano, who had foreseen these difficulties, had been securing a four-wheel jeep owned by a local farmer named Lino. Lino lent him the jeep, as Chaviano urgently needed to get to El Pedrero with some of his officials to start organizing the troop’s actions.

Chaviano chose the officials who were to accompany him and included me, his assistant, in the group. We left from the top of La Ventana and started down a road full of ditches. Chaviano was an experienced driver, but he had never driven up these kinds of hills and, when he went down the hill next to La Ventana and tried to skirt a rather deep ditch, the jeep tipped over to the right and fell over, leaving its tires facing up.

Nearly everyone jumped off the jeep in time, but I, who was sitting in the middle, next to the driver, was trapped under the car, and one of the tubes in the car’s body crushed my left arm and fractured my radius a little above the wrist, which was completely dislocated.

When my comrades lifted the jeep and I saw the condition my left arm was in, I was assailed by a feeling of despair and impotence, for I knew the war was coming to an end and I would not be able to take part in the final battles. I took out the pistol I was carrying and fired two rounds into the air to vent my anger. This cost me a reprimand from Captain Chaviano, who took away my gun (though he later returned it to me). I had to return to San Blas to be seen by a doctor. The captain gave me 20 pesos, in case I needed to buy anything, and a peasant lent me a horse and went with me into two, to head back on horseback.

Thus began my second stay in San Blas, while my comrades continued on their way towards El Pedrero.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

16 thoughts on “The Trip to Che Guevara’s Campsite

  • September 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Once again….what does this have to do with Che and the story above? There are plenty of other sites you can go to bitch about the USA.

    …..and as an aside, please don’t use “YouTube” as a source of information. You are obviously unable to tell fact from fiction.

  • August 31, 2015 at 6:45 am

    His own comments

  • August 31, 2015 at 6:35 am

    John, I don’t disagree that the 911 terror attacks are, in a way, blow back, as you say. No dispute. I believe however that Nidal was implying something else.

  • August 30, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    What evidence do you have that Che was at all favorably interested in how the Stalinist DRK operated ?

  • August 30, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    The CIA called the events of 9/11 ” blowback” and as it implies it was a reaction to previous U.S. imperial actions in the Middle East.
    So no, the U.S.G. did not plan or execute the 9/11 attacks but they were absolutely responsible for the prior actions that caused these revenge attacks.
    The U.S. is an empire and uses brutal methods as would any empire ruling through brute force.
    These imperial killings will always cause “blowback”
    It’s not a conspiracy theory . It’s historical fact.

  • August 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I do not have to explain to you about God , and today you serve Che well, these factuall accounts keep him alive and rellevant to inspire courage for doing the things
    that are not easy but necessary.
    Thank You

  • August 30, 2015 at 9:54 am

    That was one of several reasons he was removed from command by a civilian government. The Castros have not had any such constraints. Fortunately the Russians knew better than to trust them.

    But, of course, you did not address my comment. Che, if he can be said to have done anything, is responsible for turning Cuba into the very “banana republic” it is today. His idea of the “new man”, taken in no small part from his admiration of the repressive North Korean regime, is responsible for the curtailing of individual freedoms in an attempt to create a docile work force. A complete failure that resulted in the destruction of much of our Cuban heritage!

  • August 30, 2015 at 9:42 am

    What does your comment have to do with this story? Anything? ? And if you believe the US was behind the terror attacks on 911, as you are trying you imply, then you also probably believe that the moon landings were faked and that the world is controlled by the Illuminate. …oh wait, I forgot who I was talking to….you believe the world is controlled through a zionist conspiracy.

    Here’s an interesting article on the personality traits of conspiracy buffs (scary and sad)

  • August 29, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    General MacArthur in the Korean War wanted to use a nuclear bombs against China , his attitude toward the nuclear bomb was that of hand grenade

  • August 29, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    how do you explain the 3000 Americans who perished in 9/11

  • August 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks to Google Earth I located these sites (although I am sure many physical features have changed during the intervening fifty-six years, just as time has altered my own physical features, from my first visit to Cuba, during the Summer of 1959, when I was 16, ’til my 8th visit to Cuba, in 2012, when i was 69!). Since I will soon be visiting Sancti Spiritus, La Boca and Trinidad, and Topes de Collantes, I hope I can personally visit some of the locations you have been talking about in your recent series of posts .

  • August 29, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    These so-called “victims” were the worst of Batista’s torturers and murderers, and deserved the summary justice they received. Such justice was far more humane than the atrocities they committed before the triumph of the Revolution. At the time most Cubans concurred with their sentences. “!Paredon! !Paredon! !Paredon!”

  • August 28, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    His hundreds of victims shot in Havana are dead but free from the Dictatorship of the Castro family regime.

  • August 28, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Remember that Che Guevera once actively asked for nuclear war saying the Cuban people would welcome it and reveard the Socialist state, single form of “Juche” worship government and wanted something similar in Cuba. We know how that worked out in North Korea and we can see the success its brought to Cuba. Is this sort f dictatorial form of government what you really want?

  • August 28, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Remember Che Guevara’s contribution toward freedom from those who want to make the planet to Banana Republic .
    Che is alive .

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