Fidel’s footprints in Valle del Perú

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The Valle del Perú 60 years ago was like a huge quagmire and for that reason it was known as, “The swamps of Zenea.” In 1966 Fidel first came to these places to explore its potential for the development of livestock.

It was difficult for him and his teammates to access this remote region. The swamps, the ravines and the absence of good roads and highways caused some setbacks to which he later referred:

“you must say that several times we will penetrate by the south and we cannot get there. We come in a jeep. We have to say that in one of the occasions we were attacked fourteen times fourteen times! And we must say that in one occasion we seize the jeep”.

But they finally managed to examine the area and in doing so Fidel was moved. A road was the first of its promises fulfilled within a few months. Then it was the school, like a pearl, which since then adorns the Valle del Perú apart, silent and forgotten for so long. Referring to the building of the Fidel school, he said:

“to make this school hundreds of workers worked intensely. We must say that they did it in a record time. We must say that they did it under the water. We must say that the workers who worked in this school made a notable effort, the workers and the techniques who designed and directed the construction of this school in a spring of much water and in a pretty difficult land. Despite everything they have done this school that is a wonder. ”

And finally the day arrived to inaugurate the new semi boarding school of the Valle del Perú. It was on the sunset of November 15, 1968, Year of the Heroic Guerrilla. Hundreds of peasant families gathered in that place to meet Fidel and closely appreciate the wonder he had helped create.

Camilo Cienfuegos’ parents made the moment more historic, who shared the joy of the people that left ignorance and sadness behind. As the sun went down behind the mountains, Fidel told the people like that.

“but it is until this moment the most perfect thing you can concept in elementary school. Yes, you can say without any exgeration or anything. ”

And then came an unknown and unexpected brightness that made the set of buildings that made up the new elementary school more visible. It was electricity, and then Fidel exclaimed:

“i believe that it is a great historical event that here in this valley the electrical lights have been ignitioned at this time; it is a historical event together with others. The road is, and the school is! ”

Certainly this school was wonderful: its spacious classrooms, the hallways as mirrors, the large square, the areas for sports practice where the Physical Education teachers were premiered, as part of the educational teaching programs that transformed the ways of teaching and learning in the country. Beautiful walls bordering the gardens, the library crowded with books, the little park, the Marti, the flag.

On January 8, 1969, two months after the inauguration of this school, Fidel returned to fulfill another of his commitments to the people of the Valle del Perú, the foundation of a modern Polyclinic, today Mayabeque Psycho- pedagogical Center.

There were two friends from Germany, Eirk and Nadia, the parents of Tamara Bunke, the revolutionary who fell fighting in the Che Guerrilla in Bolivia in 1967. It was at those moments when he announced that the seminary would carry on, the name of Tamara Bunke

This is the major gift of the Commander to the children of that time, to those who were about to be born and to those who, as he said, have not yet been born but have a secured position here.

The road, the school and the polyclinic stood like flashes in a valley where thanks to Fidel the diseases were reduced, ignorance was expelled and the exploitation was over.

But another dream of his was founded in the middle of the picturesque place, a community of ten buildings and 256 apartments, in 1975. The new houses sheltered humble families of workers who started the modern machines recently released in dairy units and others that broke the green fields under the sweat and passion of people inspired by an ideal and a name, Fidel!

Those who were in danger were also favored by the overflow of the Mampostón Dam that flooded kilometers in the rainy seasons, the peasants who sought and deserved more comfortable and safe houses.

When giving the key to the family, this was a great surprise, next to the four walls was enough to be happy: mattress beds, gas kitchen furniture and even a very large mirror that many, including my mother, preserve to this day.

The grocery, the beautiful park, the banks and the white sidewalks inviting to walk and feel, formed another great work that Fidel promoted in the Valle del Peru

Time passed, and although the brightness was lost in the built due to the erosion of time and neglect, they, the tranquility and harmony of the early years remain intact, as unforgettable is the memory of Fidel and everything he conceived for the humble people who live among these mogotes.

Translated by Ada Iris Guerrero

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