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Abel, the chosen one

Published: 2017.10.27 - 15:52:58   /  web@radiorebelde.icrt.cu  /  Dra. Ana Teresa Badía Valdés  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /luis.amador@renciclopedia.icrt.cu
  

Abel, the chosen oneAbel Santamaría Cuadrado was born on October 20, 1927 in the municipality of Encrucijada, Villaclara, and he was the third son of the marriage of Benigno Santamaría Pérez and Joaquina Cuadrado Alonso.

As recorded in a document that is kept at the Casa Natal Abel Santamaria Museum, he was born exactly at seven o'clock at night, and he took his second name after his father.

The Constancia sugar mill knew its first steps. There his father was a master carpenter, and he began to love the figure of José Martí, and to play baseball. A few years later he became a clerk in the warehouse of the sugar mill.

At the age of 19 he came to Havana in 1946 and settled down in a room on the roof of a house, located at Virtudes 214 Street. Later he moved out to 25 and O in Vedado. That apartment has a place in the history of our country; he was followed by his sister Haydée Santamaría and that would be the site for meetings of the 26 of July Movement. Abel and Fidel described Martí’s ideas, the Montecristi Manifesto, and the statutes of the Revolutionary Party that the Apostle founded, and Abel demanded that each of his comrades follow Martí’s ideas. I heard Abel say that studying Martí deeply, no person would have difficulty finding the true path."

Abel, the chosen oneAfter Abel met the leader of the revolution Fidel Castro in 1952, he started assuming more and more complex responsibilities. "A revolution is not done in one day, but it begins in a second," stated Abel at that time.

On July 26, 1953 Abel had occupied the Civil Hospital of Santiago de Cuba, an action that had been planned by Fidel along with the assault to the sentry post No.3 of the Moncada barracks. When the rebels' weapons stopped firing on sentry post No. 3 and only the thunderous fire of enemy weapons was being perceived, Abel and his comrades continued firing at the military fortress. After completing his mission, he was taken prisoner, savagely tortured and murdered on July 26.

And no one better than Fidel himself would characterize him in that historic trial, where the defendants became accusers: "Abel Santamaria was the most generous, dear and fearless of our young men, whose glorious resistance immortalizes him in the history of Cuba."

Abel in the poets

The figure of Abel Santamaría has inspired Cuban poets, amongst them are Carilda Oliver Labra and Silvio Rodríguez, who in their works have offered an approach to the legacy of the most intrepid of the young people who wanted to materialize Martí’s dreams in the centenary year of the birth of the Apostle.

A conversation with Abel Santamaría by Carilda Oliver

Abel looks,
without eyes on the earth.
Your gaze comes from what does not abandon beauty.
Here it is poured out
as if taking care of the bias of your island,
the struggle of the sea to sustain it
helps the swaying of the palm trees,
and attacks our fear.
Who says: stand up;
who returns to that desolate basin?
Abel looks,
and the hunger of the poor is stirred.
he looks, and
the freedom of the dry brothers burns,
buried by pulse
in front of the mocking birds.
Here I convene
your interminable cornea
pursuing evil with a tear,
The pupil
oracle of your sister,
rebel,
releasing light into the dust.
I do not mind,
I do not sob,
I hear your mandate
and I lean on you as in a talisman,
as in an air of yagruma trees,
as in a hymn.
You are the only one who now sees in the darkness,
because here we are all blind.
Give us your look.
It is strong as the miracle spring.
Shelter us within your soul: have my eyes, Cuba.

Canción del elegido by Silvio Rodríguez

Whenever you make a story
we speak of an old man, a child or themselves,
but my story is difficult:
I will not tell you about an ordinary man.
I will make the story of a being from another world,
of an animal of another galaxy.
It is a story that has to do
with the course of the Milky Way.
It is a buried story.
It is about a being out of nothing.

It was born of a storm
in the sun of a night,
the penultimate month.
It went from planet to planet
looking for potable water,
maybe looking for life
or seeking death
"You never know."
Maybe looking for silhouettes
or something similar
that it was adorable,
or at least desirable,
kissable, kind.

He discovered that the mines
of King Solomon
were in heaven
and not in the fiery Africa,
as people thought.
But the stones are cold
and he was interested in
warmth and joys.
The jewels had no soul,
they were only mirrors,
bright colors.
And he finally came down to the war ...
sorry! I meant the earth.

He knew the story of a coup,
And felt in his head
ground crystals
and realized that the war
was the peace of the future:
the most terrible thing is learned right away
and the most beautiful things can take away our life.
The last time I saw him leave
between smoke and shrapnel,
happy and naked:
he was killing scoundrels
with his future cannon.

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