The Granma, breaking through the fog

The Granma, breaking through the fog

Neither the bad weather, the rough seas, or the overloading of a yacht in no way suited to make the crossing from Mexico to Cuba, could daunt the 82 expeditionaries committed to being "free or martyrs," as the Granma broke through the fog, in the words of poet Luis Rogelio Nogueras.

December 2, 1956, at a point on the southern coast of eastern Cuba known as Los Cayuelos, the men under Fidel's leadership disembarked, intent upon honoring the blood spilled in the name of independence before them.

It took the expedition members almost four hours to cross the 1,500 meters of swampy mangroves that separated them from the mainland, in a slow, painful march, losing their boots, clothes and valuable war material, but never their confidence in Fidel’s statement upon leaving Mexico: "If I leave, I will arrive; if I arrive, I will enter; if I enter, I will triumph."

The days that followed were worse. Three days later, with practically no food or rest, the baptism of fire arrived, in Alegría de Pío, leaving the deaths of combatants, the capture of others... the dispersion.

But much more than this setback was needed to defeat the expedition. Just days later, on December 18, at Cinco Palmas, with eight men and seven weapons reunited, Fidel exclaimed: "Now, yes, we have won the war!”

With this conviction they landed on Cuban soil; and this would be the guide for every battle in the Sierra Maestra, until the final victory, and today, 64 Decembers later, it is the same conviction that Cuba holds dear, as we confront new efforts to break us.

Landing on the Granma, in 1956, were not only the utopia of the possible and the homeland imagined by Martí, but also the commitment to sovereignty of a people that does not allow its history to be disgraced, and much less is easily confused.

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