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The returns of Pablo de la Torriente Brau

Published: 2018.01.10 - 16:26:04   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The returns of Pablo de la Torriente BrauFelix de la Torriente was born in Spain and met Cuba when he was five years old. He studied Law and Philosophy and Literature at the University of Havana during two courses and then completed them at the Central University of Madrid. However, once again he left Europe, this time to Puerto Rico where he would arrive in 1898 for work reasons. Some time later, he would marry Graziella Brau de Zuzuarregui, who was the daughter of the consecrated journalist Salvador Brau.

All those geographical and literary heritages would be the essence of the son that the happy marriage would bring to the world: Pablo de la Torriente Brau. From his first cry on December 12, 1901, he was predestined to retrace his steps in defense of Spanish roots and just causes, although such efforts forced him to travel from one side of the world to the other. Just in December 1936, the event would occur.

According to his sister Zoe de la Torriente Brau, Pablo made his first trip to Spain at an early age, due to the death of his paternal grandfather. Since then, he dreamed of returning to those lands.

It was so, after sowing his principles with the Cuban people, as a revolutionary, poet and self-taught journalist ... After having married his girl Teté (Teresa Casuso Morín) ... After having suffered jail and exile ... After surviving in the United States by washing dishes and selling ice cream ... Pablo went again to Spain, to war, to "see extraordinary things", to tell them with his little typewriter. That was all, he said.

According to the Cuban intellectual Raúl Roa Kourí, Pablo "considered his presence there as a reporter for New Masses, an experience of great utility for the Cuban revolution, which for the moment it was at a low ebb. Of course, all his companions knew that Paul would not limit himself to writing about war; that eventually he would also take up the rifle and face the fascist rubbish. So it was."

"The first day of September, on the vessel "Île de France", he sailed for New York. He was the first Spanish-American to cross the Atlantic to go to the Spanish revolution, and he would remain there as a symbol of human solidarity between America and Spain. Then he landed in Havre and attended the Congress of Peace in Brussels. He stayed a week in Paris. From there he went to Barcelona, and on September 24 he arrived in Madrid", according to his sister Zoe.

Pablo fell in combat on December 19, 1936 as part of the Staff of the 109th Battalion of the Seventh Division. According to data from the time, a bullet pierced his heart in the Cerro de Majadahonda. He wore the uniform of the army of the popular militias and served as political commissar. Next to him fell Pepito, an teenage orphan that Pablo had adopted in Alcalá de Henares.

All the sadness of death would last for three more days: during that time, Paul's corpse remained lying on the snow, in the enemy camp. On December 23, he was buried in the Chamartín de la Rosa cemetery after being granted the rank of captain of a militia killed in the campaign.

According to data verified by the Torriente Brau family, the embalmed body of Pablo was taken to Barcelona in a bronze box, at the beginning of 1937, with the intention of taking it to Mexico. When this plan was frustrated, he occupied the niche No. 3772 of the Montjuich cemetery where he stayed until the end of the war. From then on, he was relegated to a common grave near the niche itself.

For many years, Pablo's sisters tried to recover his remains and bring them to their definitive rest in Cuba. However, in the young revolutionary always converged so many destinations that ended up dying in the land where his father was born and remains there, as a symbol of struggle, as if his work were incomplete.

However, the free Cuba that he could never enjoy, awaits him. According to recent data offered by press agencies, his case is included in the 2017-2018 grave plan promoted by the Department of Foreign Affairs of Spain. This directive will perform geophysical prospecting to recover all the remains found and make the corresponding genetic identification according to the census of people disappeared during the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. His final return, the definitive one, would be consummated.

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