Camilo Cienfuegos
Overview
 
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán (February 6, 1932 – October 28, 1959) was a Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 born in Lawton, Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

, along with Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

, Juan Almeida Bosque
Juan Almeida Bosque
Juan Almeida Bosque was a Cuban politician and one of the original commanders of the Cuban Revolution. After the 1959 revolution, he was a prominent figure in the Communist Party of Cuba; at the time of his death in 2009, he was a Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State and was its third...

, and Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

.
In 1940 Camilo enrolled in the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes "San Alejandro", but soon after had to quit his studies due to financial problems. During this period he started working as an apprentice in the "El Arte" fashion store in downtown Havana.

Around 1948 he started to get involved in political issues, taking part in the popular protests against the rise of the bus tariffs.

In 1954 he became an active member of the underground students movement against Dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán (February 6, 1932 – October 28, 1959) was a Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 born in Lawton, Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

, along with Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

, Juan Almeida Bosque
Juan Almeida Bosque
Juan Almeida Bosque was a Cuban politician and one of the original commanders of the Cuban Revolution. After the 1959 revolution, he was a prominent figure in the Communist Party of Cuba; at the time of his death in 2009, he was a Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State and was its third...

, and Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

.

Political awakening

In 1940 Camilo enrolled in the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes "San Alejandro", but soon after had to quit his studies due to financial problems. During this period he started working as an apprentice in the "El Arte" fashion store in downtown Havana.

Around 1948 he started to get involved in political issues, taking part in the popular protests against the rise of the bus tariffs.

In 1954 he became an active member of the underground students movement against Dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

. This involvement led him to be wounded by firearm on December 7, 1955, during a popular protest organized to honor Cuban independence hero Antonio Maceo
Antonio Maceo
Antonio Maceo may refer to:*Antonio Maceo Grajales, commander in the Cuban revolutionary army*Antonio Maceo, a municipality of Santiago de Cuba named for the general*Antonio Maceo Airport, serving Santiago de Cuba...

. After being harassed by police and without a job, he decided to leave Cuba and travelled again to the U.S., in particular to New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. He was later expelled from the U.S., when his residence permit expired, and relocated to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

.

During his stay in Mexico, Camilo met Fidel Castro, who was organizing a revolutionary expedition that would return to Cuba to fight Batista. Thereafter Cienfuegos was one of the 82 revolutionaries who set sail aboard the boat Granma
Granma (yacht)
Granma is the yacht that was used to transport 82 fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot diesel-powered cabin cruiser was built in 1943 and designed to accommodate 12 people...

in November 1956. Allegedly, he was the last one to board the boat and was only allowed to join because of his thinness.

Guerrilla activities

The Granma arrived in Cuba on December 2. After a three day nightmare of swamps and mangroves, the rebels were surprised by the Cuban (Batista's) army at Alegría de Pío. The surviving rebels escaped in small dispersed groups, wandering for weeks in the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges , which joins with others extending to the west...

 mountains. Camilo was one of the twelve who survived the attacks and executions carried out by Batista's forces not long after they landed. He was able to rejoin Castro in the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges , which joins with others extending to the west...

 a month later.

In 1957 he became one of the top leaders of the revolutionary forces, appointed to the rank of "Comandante". In 1958, with the defeat of Operation Verano
Operation Verano
Operation Verano was the name given to the summer offensive in 1958 by the Batista government during the Cuban Revolution. The offensive was designed to crush Fidel Castro's revolutionary army, which had been growing in strength in the area of the Sierra Maestra hills since their arrival in Cuba...

 (Summer), Cienfuegos was put in command of one of three columns which headed west out of the mountains with the intention of capturing the provincial capital city of Santa Clara
Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara is the capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country.- History :Santa Clara was founded by 175 people on July 15th, 1689...

. Che Guevara was in command of another column and Jaime Vega was in command of the third. Jaime Vega's column was ambushed and defeated by Batista's forces.

Cienfuegos and Guevara's two columns reached the central provinces, where they joined efforts with several other groups. Cienfuegos's column fought the Battle of Yaguajay
Battle of Yaguajay
The Battle of Yaguajay was a decisive victory for the Cuban Revolutionaries over the soldiers of the Batista government near the city of Santa Clara in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution.-Background:...

 in December and, after a fight, forced the garrison to surrender on December 30, 1958. This earned him the nickname "The Hero of Yaguajay". With Yaguajay captured, Cienfuegos's column was able to advance against Santa Clara in conjunction with Guevara's forces, and the other non-Castro forces from the Escambray front. Together, the two columns captured Santa Clara on December 31; most of the defending soldiers gave up without shooting. Batista fled Cuba the next day, and the guerrillas were victorious.

Later, Cienfuegos would serve in the Cuban Army's high command, fight anti-Castro uprisings, and play a role in agrarian reforms.

Politics and death

There has been debate as to Cienfuegos's political leanings. Cuban author and historian Carlos Franqui
Carlos Franqui
Carlos Franqui was a Cuban writer, poet, journalist, art critic, and political activist. After the Fulgencio Batista coup in 1952, he became involved with the "Movimiento 26 de Julio" which was directed by Fidel Castro. Upon the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, he was placed in charge of...

 suggests otherwise in his book, Family Portrait With Fidel. Franqui, one of Cienfuegos's closest friends during the Cuban revolution, asserts that Cienfuegos "sympathized with socialism" and that he followed the Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 politically. Other sources tend to agree with Franqui. Both Cienfuegos's father and his brother, Osmany
Osmany Cienfuegos
Osmany Cienfuegos Gorriarán is a Cuban politician and older brother of Camilo Cienfuegos. He served in various roles in the Cuban government....

, were, and in Osmany's case still are, radical
Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics...

 leftists
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

. What we do know from their own writings, statements, and deeds is that many leaders of the 26th of July Movement, including Raul Castro and Che Guevara, is that they were in the far left of the political spectrum. Both Camilo and his brother Osmany were on that side of the spectrum, but not dogmatic in their political beliefs.

Several days before his death, Cienfuegos arrested his former revolutionary comrade Huber Matos
Huber Matos
Huber Matos Benítez was a Cuban revolutionary who assisted Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and members of the 26th of July Movement in successfully overthrowing the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista as part of the Cuban Revolution....

 on Castro's orders. Comandante Matos had complained to Fidel Castro that the 26th of July Movement was being rapidly infiltrated by communists, who were assuming positions of power. Receiving no response, Matos sent a letter to Fidel relinquishing his position as military chief of Camaguey province (October 20). Cienfuegos was under the impression that Matos was leading an open revolt, but he found that was not the case. Nevertheless he carried out the arrest.

On October 28, 1959, Camilo’s Cessna 310
Cessna 310
The Cessna 310 is an American six-seat, low-wing, twin-engined monoplane that was produced by Cessna between 1954 and 1980. It was the first twin-engined aircraft that Cessna put into production after World War II.-Development:...

 ('FAR-53') disappeared over the ocean during a night flight from Camagüey
Camagüey
Camagüey is a city and municipality in central Cuba and is the nation's third largest city. It is the capital of the Camagüey Province.After almost continuous attacks from pirates the original city was moved inland in 1528.The new city was built with a confusing lay-out of winding alleys that made...

 to Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

. An immediate search was called which lasted several days, but no plane could be found. By November the search was called off and Cienfuegos was presumed lost. He quickly became a new hero for the Cuban revolution.

Rumors concerning Cienfuegos's disappearance have been rife. Some have speculated that Cienfuegos was killed on the orders of Fidel Castro; These rumors have been difficult to uphold, however, as Cienfuegos had appeared exceptionally loyal to Castro throughout his involvement, and had vigorously supported the arrest of Matos only days earlier. Che Guevara, who was also close to Cienfuegos (naming his son Camilo after the fallen revolutionary), dismissed any rumors of Castro's involvement. Another rumor circulating was that a Cuban air force fighter plane shot Cienfuegos down mistaking his plane for a hostile intruder. Historians seem to agree that Camilo's death is more likely to have been an accident, and not the result of foul play.

Museum

A museum to Camilo Cienfuegos was built after his death in Yaguajay, at the site of the barracks defended by Batista's forces during the 1958 battle. The army base is now a hospital. The museum includes a diorama of the battle, as well as artifacts relating to Cienfuegos' life before, during and after the revolution. A large statue of him is on top of the museum, which is similar in size and design to the Che Guevara Mausoleum
Mausoleo Che Guevara
The Che Guevara Mausoleum is a memorial in Santa Clara, Cuba. It houses the remains of executed Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during Guevara's attempt to spur an armed uprising in Bolivia...

 in Santa Clara
Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara is the capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country.- History :Santa Clara was founded by 175 people on July 15th, 1689...

.

Remembrance

Cuba has named a socialist order
Socialist Orders of Merit
After the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, the first Socialist Orders of Merit were founded. After World War II, communists came to power in many other countries and this type of order spread all over the world...

, the Order of Cienfuegos
Order of Cienfuegos
Cuba has named a socialist order, the Order of Cienfuegos after the freedom fighter and revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán.The order is awarded to members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba...

 after Camilo Cienfuegos.
  • On every October 28 school children from all over Cuba throw flowers into the sea (or into a river if they live inland) to honor Camilo Cienfuegos.

  • In October 2009, in honor of the 50th anniversary of his death, a 100 ton steel outline of Camilo's face was added to the side of the Ministry of Informatics and Communications building at the Plaza de la Revolución
    Plaza de la Revolucion
    Plaza de la Revolución is a municipality and a square in Havana, Cuba.The municipality stretches from the square down to the sea at the Malecón and includes the Vedado district.- Square :...

    . Accompanying the stencil facade are the words "Vas bien, Fidel" (You’re doing fine, Fidel), representing the famous response of Camilo to Fidel at the January 8, 1959 rally where Castro declared that the Columbia military barracks would be made into a school, and then asked Camilo, "Am I doing all right, Camilo?"

  • Camilo is also remembered on the 20 Cuban peso
    Cuban peso
    The peso is one of two official currencies in use in Cuba, the other being the convertible peso...

     bill and the 20 Cuban convertible peso
    Cuban convertible peso
    The convertible peso , is one of two official currencies in Cuba, the other being the peso. It has been in limited use since 1994, when it was treated as equivalent to the U.S. dollar: its value was officially US$1.00. On November 8, 2004, the U.S...

     bill. He was also pictured in the now discontinued 40 cent coins.

  • The University of Matanzas
    University of Matanzas
    The University of Matanzas "Camilo Cienfuegos" is a university located in Matanzas, Cuba...

     bears the name "Camilo Cienfuegos."

  • There are six military high schools named "Camilo Cienfuegos," which provide pre-military training to students aged 11 to 17.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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