Che Guevara in Santa Clara, Cuba

Photo Feature by Elio Delgado Valdes

HAVANA TIMES — One of the decisive actions of the 1959 Cuban Revolution was the Battle of Santa Clara, led by Che Guevara, in the capital of the province of Las Villas, in central Cuba.

Batista’s forces had in that city a total of some 3000 men including regular army troops, police, rural guard and motorized troops .

They were equipped with 10 tanks, 12 armored cars, light and heavy machine guns, bazookas, mortars and abundant munitions for all those weapons and air support.

The Rebel Army, commanded by Che, had for that battle, only 300 men, with a high fighting spirit, something lacking in the troops of Batista.

This photo essay shows the Armored Train Monument and some of the places where the rebels fought, as well as the monument to the Argentine-Cuban guerrilla located next to the museum dedicated to him and the mausoleum where his remains and those of the guerrillas who died with him nine years later in Bolivia are kept.

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11 thoughts on “Che Guevara in Santa Clara, Cuba

  • He dedicated his life to his dreams and made them come true<3

  • He gave his life.

  • Che was a hero and a liberator. He was not a Christ but like Christ he helped the poor, he was a doctor who worked with lepers, he accepting no perks or gifts because of his station, he taught people to read and he championed free, exceptional healthcare for all. He was not a racist and many men who he counted amongst his closest companeros were black. There are millions who still love and respect El Che and it is only in the US that you slander him because you fear him and his powerful influence born of the way he sacrificed riches, a home, and everything to help the world’s poorest people. Shame on anyone who slanders this hero.

  • ”Griffin’, as a Christian, I find it profoundly offensive to hear you call yourself a Christian – not someone I would recognize as a follower of the principles of Christ. No one, not even you, denies the US blockade is harming Cubans. The greatest harm is being done to people at the bottom of the economic scale, as you are well aware of. Yet you support the blockade.

    What did Christ and Christianity primarily stand for – supporting those without power. I’m sorry, but you can take your so-called professed Christianity and stick it up your ass. We’ve about had it with so-called Christians that wouldn’t recognise Christ if they stumbled across him – nor he you.

    You have really revealed yourself in posting stuff from David Horowitz’s website, ‘Discover The Net’. The purple prose rivals what’s found in ‘bodice-rippers’ – except it’s an attempt at something more sinister – a reputation-ripper – of Che. His popularity is obviously a threat to your ideology. Give it up, you haven’t a hope for success.

    Horowitz is an example – I normally don’t use terms that the rightwing media regularly uses to describe anyone they find offensive, but it is so appropriate to Horowitz – of the extreme ‘loony right’.

    When he launched Discover The Net’ in 2005, Salon, “a progressive online magazine” [Wikipedia], interviewed Horowitz. On his website, he lists Salon “as an “apparatchik far-left” publication, practically in league with Islamists.” Islamophobia is rampant on his website.

    According to Salon, Horowitz’s website is declared to be a “Guide to the Political Left”. “It lays out what he considers to be the extensive connections between liberals and terrorists. Its controversial picture gallery of “leftists” runs the gamut from movie critic Roger Ebert and Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to crushed Holy Land protester Rachel Corrie and even Sen. John Kerry.”

    I feel like a lawyer, finally able to get ‘Griffin’ to reveal his true self. But lawyers are part of an adversarial legal system I don’t agree with. Resolution of differences, and truth, is traditional to native justice systems that I hold to be a gold standard for conflict resolution – not focused on ‘winning or losing’ through cleverness, but through resolution of conflicts.

    I have no hope, however, that ‘Griffin’ will understand, comprehend or enter into a dialogue about anything I write as he is a dedicated propagandist for the country that has been Cuba’s enemy for more than 50 years. Folks reading this website, be aware.

  • As a Christian, it is profoundly offensive to hear Che compared to Christ, as Landis does. I invite you to read this brief quotation from a man who was a prisoner at La Cabana, and ask yourself, “Was Che really like Christ?”

    “A Cuban gentleman named Pierre San Martin was among those jailed by Che Guevara in the early months of the Cuban Revolution. In an El Nuevo Herald article from December 28, 1997 San Martin recalled the horrors: “Thirteen of us were crammed into a cell. Sixteen of us would stand while the other sixteen tried to sleep on the cold filthy floor. We took shifts that way. Dozens were led from the cells to the firing squad daily. The volleys kept us awake. We felt that any one of those minutes would be our last.

    One morning the horrible sound of that rusty steel door swinging open startled us awake and Che’s guards shoved a new prisoner into our cell. He was a boy, maybe 14 years old. His face was bruised and smeared with blood. “What did you do?” We asked horrified. “I tried to defend my papa,” gasped the bloodied boy. “But they sent him to the firing squad.”

    Soon Che’s guards returned. The rusty steel door opened and they yanked the boy out of the cell. “We all rushed to the cell’s window that faced the execution pit,” recalls Mr. San Martin. “We simply couldn’t believe they’d murder him.

    “Then we spotted him, strutting around the blood-drenched execution yard with his hands on his waist and barking orders — Che Guevara himself. ‘Kneel down!’ Che barked at the boy.

    “Assassins!” we screamed from our window.

    “I said: KNEEL DOWN!” Che barked again.

    The boy stared Che resolutely in the face. “If you’re going to kill me,” he yelled, “you’ll have to do it while I’m standing! Men die standing!”

    “Murderers!” the men yelled desperately from their cells. “Then we saw Che unholstering his pistol. He put the barrel to the back of the boys neck and blasted. The shot almost decapitated the young boy.

    “We erupted…’Murderers! — Assassins!'” His murder finished, Che finally looked up at us, pointed his pistol, and emptied his clip in our direction. Several of us were wounded by his shots.” ”

  • Here’s a good rejoinder that I found:

    Those quotes were written by Che when he was 24 and encountered blacks for the first time in a Venezuelan slum during his Motorcycle trip around South America. However, months later he announced himself a transformed man and even denounced the racism he encountered while living in Miami for a month. Those quotes were from 1952, before he was Che.

    ~ Years later in Cuba he showed he was not racist through his actions ~

    – Che pushed for racially integrating the schools in Cuba, years before they were racially integrated in the Southern United States.

    – Che’s friend and personal bodyguard was Harry “Pombo” Villegas, who was Afro-Cuban (black). Pombo accompanied Che to the Congo and to Bolivia, where he survived and now lives in Cuba. Of note, Pombo speaks glowingly of Guevara to this day

    – When Che spoke before the U.N. in 1964 he spoke out in favor of black musician Paul Robeson, in support of slain black leader Patrice Lumumba (who he heralded as one of his heroes), against white segregation in the Southern U.S. (which still unfortunately existed), and against the white South African apartheid regime (long before it became the Western ’cause de jour’).

    – Che was also heralded by Malcolm X during this trip to NY and in contact with his associates to whom he sent a letter, and later on behalf of his actions in Africa – praised by Nelson Mandela and the Black Panther’s Stokely Carmichael.

    – When Guevara ventured to the Congo, he fought with a Cuban force of 100 Afro-Cubans (blacks) including those black Congolese fighters who he fought alongside against a force comprised partly of White South African mercenaries. This resembled the fight in Cuba, where Che’s units were also made up of mostly mulattos and blacks.
    – Later Guevara offered assistance to fight alongside the (black) FRELIMO in Mozambique, for their independence from the Portuguese.

    – Lastly, in August 1961 (9 years after his “indolent” remark), Guevara attacked the U.S. for “discrimination against blacks, and outrages by the Ku Klux Klan”, which matched his declarations in 1964 before the United Nations (12 years after his “indolent” remark), where Guevara denounced the United States policy towards their black population, stating:

    “Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?”
    3 Main Biographies on Che Guevara:
    (1) Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson
    (2) Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara by Jorge G. Castaneda
    (3) Guevara, Also Known as Che by Paco Ignacio Taibo II

  • to add to dani’s comment, che led an expedition into the congo but was a little unrealistic about what could be achieved. the u.s. military is homophobic. if alexander or gaius julius caesar turned up at the recruiting office they’d be told to take a hike. if marschall blucher (who made a timely appearance at waterloo) turned up at a u.s. army or marines recruiting office in ladies clothing what would he be told? dont ask, don’t tell?

  • “We speak out to put the world on guard against what is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid is applied before the eyes of the nations of the world. The peoples of Africa are compelled to endure the fact that on the African continent the superiority of one race over another remains official policy, and that in the name of this racial superiority murder is committed with impunity. Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?”

    “Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom? The government of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population.”

    I suggest reading the following

  • the first che quote of moses is reminiscent of “the noble savage” by jean-jacques rousseau. the second quote criticises che for observing that blacks spend money on frivolity and drink. president obama has criticised absent african american dads, and obama has been criticised for that. i have observed in my life that men of every race without much opportunity for advancement tend to get into frivolity and drink or in the case of jamaica, a spliff. the australian government was criticised for forcing aborigines to spend their social security money on food and other necessities. food stamps can’t be spent on frivolity and drink and there are more whites than blacks on food stamps. in my opinion, real men don’t eat quiche! moses criticises che for writing that africans have a lack of hygiene and then moses criticises che for a lack of hygiene. i don’t want to get into real criticisms of che. but if i was into military heroes, which i am not, i could compare the battle of santa clara to the battle of marathon or the battle for malaya and singapore where the japanese prevailed over a superior british and australian expeditionary force. “che” might be a good brand for a personal deodorant for use on the field of battle!

  • Like Christ, Che is an inspiration. His travels through South and Central America in the early 1950’s revealed the sufferings and injustices of mankind, and changed him forever.
    Moses, at least your namesake led his people out of bondage, something which Che attempted to do. Moreover, like Christ, he too gave his life for the wretched of the earth. Like the Roman Empire of two millenia past, the new evil empire cares little about those without wealth and power. Ultimately, it too will suffer the same fate, but this process will be slow and painful. Nevertheless, Che was one of those avatars who light the way (out of the cave, like Socrates) for those who will follow. No matter what Che’s racist and homophobic faults, which reflect that, besides being an avatar, he was also a man of his times, still, he was changing, growing; no doubt, had he lived, he would have seen the falacies of both stereotypes he is alleged to have revealed in the above quotations. His very life–and death–reveal that he would have (and was no doubt, already was) overcome(ing) these stereotypic ways of thinking. He presented a positive model, and an active one, too. Change only comes about by action, not theorizing. His was an exemplary life!

  • As the anniversary of Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s assasination in Bolivia approaches, there will no doubt be an increasing number of tributes paid to the memory of the Argentinian doctor who has become the symbol of revolutionary politics. I should hope that those who choose to wear “Che” T-shirts and rent the “Motorcycle Diaries” in homage to their god – El Che also remember him as the racist, homophobic, anti-semitic murderer with bad personal hygiene he was also known to be. Despite his upper-class white Spanish Basque and Irish roots, he became the mouthpiece for every anti-establishment thinker of his time. Never credited as an intellectual, he nonetheless successfully morphed into who he had to project himself to be in order to gain the favor of the intellectual left. Thankfully, we have his own quotes to remind of who he really was. Following are but two of his quotes from his 1952 book, “Motorcycle Diaries” which reflect he racist disposition. There are equally offensive homophobic and anti-semitic quotes in this book and his other writings which reflect his views in these areas as well. As far as the bad hygience, while the evidence is plentiful it is simply anecdotal. So take it or leave it.
    Here is what the racist said:
    “The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese.”

    “The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations.”

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