When I was in Moncada

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Whenever the month of July arrives my thought goes back to my student stage when I attended primary school in the school “28th October “, in the municipality of Madruga. The reason for my regression in time is because my school was a center with a very particular building, because before January 1, 1959, it was a military barracks at the service of the Batista army.

I remember that when I was in sixth grade my teacher of History of Cuba, Mayelín, told us in her classes that Cuba was the first country in the world to convert barracks into schools, and I knew it well, because I just learned to read and write, like my older sister, in a painted prison of Revolution and turned into an educational center.

I do not forget in the meetings of Professor Mayelín, when she told us: “I wish and one day you could visit the Moncada Barracks in the heroic Santiago de Cuba, because there many young people who wanted our free Cuba fought and gave their lives for the Revolution. This school where you are studying looks a lot like Moncada¨.

I grew up with that curiosity, visit Santiago, visit it and get to Moncada. The opportunity came in 2015 when fortunately I was invited to participate in the ¨ National Contest, Feliz B. Caignet¨, and although I stepped on the hot ground of Santiago, I could only enter the studios of Tele – Turquino, headquarters of the provincial channel, located right inside the opulent walls of the Liberty School City.

But, my passion for the history of the nation and that small debt for the then Moncada Barracks, today National Monument, finally came true this year.

It was last March when, for work reasons, I returned to the second Cuban capital, Santiago de Cuba, and I was sure that this time I would know the place where Fidel and the revolutionaries who accompanied him stormed the military building on a clean shot. July 1953.

And so it was, I arrived at Moncada, but this time there were no guards, no minions, as Professor Mayelín told us, no; there were children, hundreds of boys and girls occupying every corner of the place dressed in their uniforms. That morning I toured what was Post Number 3, where the attack occurred exactly 65 years ago, and today turned into the Museum of History July 26, consisting of eight rooms.

For me that hour of visiting the Moncada, it turned out more than six decades of history, culture, identity and revolutionary conviction, because I felt on each wall, in each of the holes marked by the firing of the assailant rifles, the presence of Fidel, the architect of such courageous feat.

I may have already fulfilled the desire to have reached what was the Moncada Barracks, but I do not close that page as a goal in my life, I just leave it open to return, because without explanation, it seduces you and invites you to return.

Luckily, its image always arrives because every afternoon when I return from my workday I see the school 28th October, which I still consider as my school, in Madruga, that which was a barracks like Moncada and that today are … well you know what I mean when we enjoy this revolution of almost 60 years.


Translated by Ada Iris Guerrero

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