A date to remember

Martyrs' Day in Cuba.
Martyrs' Day in Cuba. Photo: Ecured.

Every moment we remember those who gave their lives for the Cuban Revolution; but it is July 30 in particular the date designated to honor the memory of all the Martyrs. Their noble and selfless dedication made possible the realization of the present dreams.

Each country is made of the blood of her children and the ones remaining have the duty to protect the legacy left by those who died prematurely, full of dreams, willing to give more and with hearts filled with noble ideals and sentiments.

Cuba immortalizes the Martyrs of the Revolution every day. But, especially on July 30, there is a permanent tribute of remembrance to a hero who passed into eternity when he was only 22 years old, there in his native Santiago, facing the projectiles that pierced his skin, but not his ideas.

Frank País García was his name. The clandestinity knew him as David, the head of action and sabotage of the July 26 Movement and the undisputed architect of the November 30 uprising, in support of the expedition members of the Granma yacht.

His death together with Raúl Pujols Arencibia was an abominable crime; but it filled Santiago’s Callejón del Muro with honors and symbolism, a place that is full of flowers, bracelets and flags.

That day, and the following, his city was dressed in mourning. Frank Pais had died. The people made of his pain an unstoppable wall. Not even the tyranny of Batista could prevent the homage to the brave boy. When he learned of his death, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, said: What monsters, they do not know the intelligence, the character, the integrity that they have assassinated! … “

Just six months after the January of victories, on July 26, 1959, an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers was held at the Moncada Barracks and that day a transcendent decision was approved that lasts until today: to declare July 30 of each year as “Day of all the martyrs of the Cuban Revolution.”

The proposal was made by Pedro Miret Prieto, Minister of Agriculture, and summarized the people’s pain for so many lives that were lost until they reached true sovereignty.

The teens and youth of the Centennial Generation had other things to do. In the midst of a hostile and corrupt environment, the possibilities of study were scarce and, on a par with them, those of obtaining a decent job. That explains why those young people appeared in the photos to be older.

Their commitment to the homeland made them mature early and they had little time within their reach to enjoy, despite the fact that they were like all human beings, dreamers and with life projects.

In July 1959, Fidel himself explained why July 30 was the Day of the Martyrs of the Revolution. Meeting in Santiago de Cuba with relatives of those who fell for the Nation, the leader of the Cuban Revolution said that “… it is logical that on July 30, Santiago de Cuba will come to commemorate… because Martyrs’ Day is also the day of the martyr city of Cuba, of the city that throughout history, since the struggle for independence, has shown the most extraordinary patriotism, the enthusiastic city, the city that has been at the forefront, along with the other cities of the province ”.

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