In Mangos de Baragua, the place where Major General Antonio Maceo had rejected the Spanish peace treaty without Independence and the plan for the capitulation of the Mambi Army, Fidel Castro arrived 122 years later to give the same rebel response with the Oath of Baragua. Let’s see who will resist longer!
The swear of resisting and winning in the field of ideas was then given by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution under new struggle circumstances; whose main axes was the combat for the return of boy Elian Gonzalez, that had been kidnapped in US soil, who finally came back to the homeland after a long and hard fight.
One good thing to praise is that at the visits house of Caballeria, in the municipality of Cueto, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution wrote the final part of that historic manifesto, on the 19th of February, 2000.
Juan Manuel Castaño Gainza (Geñito) that was the administrator of the place then today remembers with much pleasure Fidel’s visit to the place:
"I knew that someone was coming, but I didn’t know the hierarchy. Ten minutes before Fidel’s arrival an agent of the Cuban security told me that a chief was coming. Then, ten minutes ahead started showing up a caravan, Fidel got off a car, not in the first car, in the second car his first ring bodyguards made their way, Fidel came after them.”
I greeted him, he then asked for a table. I accompanied him to a table which he picked from my offers, in the dining-room.
I was standing there when he asked for a typewriter, I told him we had no typewriter. Right then Sierra, who was the First Secretary of the Party in the province, ran into us and asked what the Comandante was asking for. I told; he then sent the driver of the Party in Cueto to look for one in town. When the typewriter was there Fidel began to do his work.
Carlitos, Carlos Valenciaga, wrote what Fidel told him to. I didn’t hear anything because the chief of the escort told me to stay by his side in case the Comandante needed something.
The chief of the escort was a Colonel. He was the oldest of all of them. He even told me he was going to show me a compañero that is part of the group that is from Cueto, but I didn’t get to see who he was.
When we were in the dining-room the news about the Cuban diplomats refugiaban en Nueva York lo había expulsado el gobierno norteamericano y él contestó: no lo voy a mandar a buscar porque esos no van a venir, es decir, que tenía firmeza de la calidad que tenían los compañeros.
Later, he began to make some corrections to the Swear of Baragua; he stayed there for about 57 minutes. He asked for water and the escorts gave him water. He also hizo uso de la habitación número seis.
His size of a giant impressed me much, although I had the privilege of being near him four times. I even shared words with him in the Provincial Party Assembly in 1975 held in Santiago de Cuba in the big top of a circus. We were lodged at the School of Medicine, and he went there to talk to the delegates that had taken part in the Provincial Assembly.
I was next him when he paid a visit to Biran; I was the educator of the Party in Marcane. Compañero Israel Jardines Consuegra that was the Secretary of the Party there and I participated in the visit and even sit for lunch.
Later I saw him (Fidel) at the semi-boarding school in Biran. We arranged the welcome. Compañero Jardines prepared himself on the sugar harvest taking place then, and I deepened on local education: the number of rural and urban schools, and the like in case he asked. But the only thing he asked to Jardines was: Hey, Secretary, how many school choirs do you have? Jardines said, 16. Fidel asked for the number of schools, and to the answer of 48, Fidel told him it was good to have some more choirs.
In Caballeria Fidel on the company of Alarcon (Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada), Abel Prieto, Carlitos (Valenciaga), the boss of the Department of International Affairs of the Central Committee; the truth is that several high ranked leaders were there that day.
Fidel’s hands were exceptional. He had long fingers, his hand in good shape. He was a six feet man, dressed on green olive suite, with an impressive appearance. I got impressed since the very first time I saw him, but that day I was very close to him.
Before leaving the place we greeted each other.
He parted for Mangos de Baragua, where he disclosed the Juramento de Baragua (Oath of Baragua), the reason of the national event held there was the fight for the release of Elian Gonzalez.
In Baragua the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution extoled the Cuban people’s heroic resistance before US imperialist aggressions and fabricated lies, the Cuban people’s will of defending the nation and its roots; he decried the US-led acts of terror, the US blockade that is indeed an economic war; the never abandoned subversion plans, of ideological diversionism, sabotages, internal destabilization, criminal bills like Helms-Burton, Torricelli and many other amendments to hardened the wrongly called embargo; which is indeed a very hard blockade imposed to kill the Cuban people thru hunger and dieses; and demanded the released of then kidnapped boy Elian Gonzalez.
"We have the right to live in piece; the respect to our sovereignty and our most sacred interests. We will never surrender, and we swear it to the glory of Antonio Maceo.