The Triumph of the Cuban Revolution

Elio Delgado Legón

Rebelde1HAVANA TIMES — On the night of December 31, 1958, Ranchuelo received news that the town of Santo Domingo had been taken a second time (as the army had recovered it with tanks and infantry on its way to defend the city of Santa Clara, before the rebels took it back again). We also learned that Santa Clara was about to fall to the rebels, under the command of Che Guevara. That same night, I decided to travel to Santo Domingo on the 1st of January, as my family knew nothing of me.

Some of the girls who gave us medical attention contacted a friend who had a jeep and he agreed to take us to Santo Domingo. The owner of the jeep allowed me to drive to Santo Domingo, even though I had my left arm in a cast. Before leaving Ranchuelo, I learned that Batista had fled and that the revolution had triumphed. When I entered my town, many friends and townspeople came over to greet me. People were overflowing with joy and everyone wanted to greet me, so it was hard to cut across town to reach home, which was about 2 kilometers away.

My mother cried when she saw me. I took out the 20-peso note the captain had given me the day of the accident and told her to buy food, for I hadn’t had to use a single cent all this time and I knew the 20 pesos would really help out at home.

Some friends from town came over to my place on bicycle to say hello and talk with me. Later, I headed out to town to greet people and share in the joy of having liberated the country and gotten rid of Batista’s henchmen. Little did we know that the struggle to consolidate the revolution in the years to come would be so hard.

Since I was injured, unable to move my left arm, I stayed at home a few days, while I found out where my comrades were and where I had to go to rejoin my column. Five or six days later, a comrade came to see me. He had been sent by captain Chaviano, who was instructing me to head over to Colon, in Matanzas, where the former 43rd squadron of Cuba’s Rural Police was (and was now a rebel squadron under his command).

Rebelde2On January 8, while in Colon, I saw and heard the speech delivered by Fidel Castro on television, from the Columbia camp in Havana. In that speech, he warned us. “Let us not deceive ourselves that everything will be easy from now on. Everything may in fact be harder from now on.” Fidel was right, as the aggressions didn’t take long to come. Batista supporters did not resign themselves to losing their possessions in Cuba and, even though the majority took enough money to live well and undertake new enterprises in the United States, they and those who stayed in Cuba, financed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), began to conspire to overthrow the newborn revolution.

At Colon, I had the opportunity to meet the father of Mario Muñoz, the doctor who took part in the attack on the Moncada garrison, who was murdered at the hospital where he was treating the injured from both sides. His father had a photo studio and we became good friends.

I had to work very hard, next to the captain, to organize everything having to do with personnel and squadron operations. I had to take on a number of duties. First, I became chief of the Calimete barracks, where I served for two months. Later, I was named sergeant at the Maestre Garrison and, afterwards, I was promoted to first unit sergeant, a position I held until mid-1961, after the Bay of Pigs invasion.

I will share a number of stories telling of my time at the service of the army in Colon in coming posts.

9 thoughts on “The Triumph of the Cuban Revolution

  • September 18, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Elio has a track record of posting the most one-sided pro-Castro blather on this blog. I am as as anti-CASTRO as Elio is pro-Castro but I see both sides. I relish free speech, even from bootlickers like Elio. Elio fears dissent and supports a regime that represses free speech. His stories, given his track record, should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • September 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    When i cite personal experience I do so not just for the purpose of entertainment and I expect when you cite personal experience and conversations you have had, you expect to be taken seriously. Elio has the same right to be taken seriously.

    If Elio’s stories are to be dismissed as “historical fiction,” why should anyone accept my stories and yours as anything but “historical fiction?”

  • September 17, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Coming from you, I take that as a compliment.

  • September 17, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Moses, you’ve always been mildly entertaining too… but I dare say, there is no anecdote for you. You’re too far gone. jajajajaja

  • September 17, 2015 at 8:15 am

    My point exactly. Thanks for agreeing with me. Elio, as long as he represents his comments as anecdotal, is mildly entertaining.

  • September 16, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    I have sometimes referred to personal experiences on this site and you have sometimes reported conversations with your relatives. How could anyone check to see if you and I are telling the truth?

  • September 16, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    The revolution provided a wonderful opportunity to improve the lives of the people of Cuba. Sadly that opportunity was squandered by establishing one dictator after another. Many of those who fought in the revolution did so in the belief that the objective was to give liberty to the people. They were mislead and subsequently removed either by death or being jailed. Elio makes the mistake of thinking that opponents subsequently were endeavoring to overthrow the revolution.
    That is incorrect, following the multiple executions and many without trial and the revelation that the purpose was to introduce communism – which inevitably leads to dictatorship, those who endeavored to “overthrow the revolution” were actually trying to overthrow a new dictator.
    Time for Elio to read the terms for the removal of the embargo. To precis, it says: get rid of the Castro regime and its policies and establish freedom and the embargo will end. But the last thing the Castros would ever do, is to sacrifice their power and control for the sake of the people of Cuba!
    BEWARE, because that remains to be the situation NOW!

  • September 16, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Erasmo, in answer to your question I would say no later than November 1959 when Fidel Castro ensured that the Cuban trade unions lost their independence and
    thereby would no longer be in a position to oppose the cuts in living standards for which Fidel Castro’s government has been responsible since coming to power.

  • September 16, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Circles Robinson, the editor of Havana Times, is to be commended for his indulgence of an aged revolutionary’s walk down memory lane. Journalistically, Elio’s story are, at best, historical fiction. After all, who can prove on way or another, if he actually met the father of Mario Muñoz? Does it really matter? Nice stories either way.

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