Fidel in Cienfuegos, a hurricane, visits and other memories. – Radio Cruces

The Commander-in-Chief delivered the words at the ceremony for the 25th anniversary of the Doctor Gustavo Aldereguía Lima hospital in Cienfuegos. / Photo: Juan Carlos Dorado.

Hurricane Lili was the eighth of the 1996 season, but the second deadliest and strongest. On October 18 it made landfall in the south of Matanzas with category 2. Its center took several hours to leave the archipelago for Villa Clara and not far from Sancti Spíritus. Wind gusts of 193 km / h were reported in Cayo Largo del Sur, 180 km / h in Santo Domingo and 176 km / h in Cienfuegos.

The specialists had warned that it would pass over Cárdenas and Varadero. And there went Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

The center of the meteor leaned somewhat to the right and the damage was greater in Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus. The next day, along with dawn, the leader of the Revolution arrived in Cienfuegos.

In the office of a senior FAR chief, he spoke with journalists. He was concerned about what happened, especially about the state of the sugarcane fields and roads. He also expressed his regret for the houses that were totally destroyed or partially damaged, for the flooded or badly affected crops …, in short, for the numerous damages. His face was very serious the entire time. “No one will be left homeless,” he said.

When he said goodbye, he told us to inform the directors of the media that many images would be published, “so that the population can appreciate the magnitude of the disaster.”

Frequent visits

His visits to Cienfuegos were frequent, sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied by presidents of friendly countries. I remember one in particular. When various strategic works were being built, such as the Juraguá Electronuclear Power Plant (CEN) and the Petroleum Refinery, he arrived together with Wojciech Jaruzelski, who was secretary general of the Communist Party of Poland and president of that Republic.

At the Refinery and the CEN, they learned about the progress of the construction and the main characteristics of the works and the technology.

Fidel regularly interrupted those who made the explanations and needed details, as he was very well informed. He spoke of the singular importance that plants of these types would have because they are located in the center of the archipelago. He looked motivated, happy …

In a thorough investigation, Adrián Millán del Valle, specialist of the Department of Historical Investigations of the Office of the Curator of the City of Cienfuegos (OCCC), valid for the writing of a book, has shown that the Leader of the Revolution was in La Perla del Sur on 84 occasions and not on the 55 previously counted, as reported on this site itself.

In another of his visits to Cienfuegos, in front of the headquarters of the provincial government building. Behind the colonel of the escort is the journalist Manuel Varela Pérez. / Photo: Efraín Cedeño.
Before and after the triumph

“Personally, I had the opportunity to be very close to Fidel several times, since we coincided in the First Congress of the Orthodox Youth, two years, eight months and 14 days before the assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes barracks.

“On November 12, 1950, he was in Cienfuegos with the purpose of participating in a meeting called by the students of the Second Education Institute opposed to the measures implemented by the Minister of Education, Aureliano Sánchez Arango, and on strike since October of that year. ”Recalled Manuel Varela Perez, the dean of journalists from Cienfuegos.

“The act was then called for the halls of the Municipal Council, but when Fidel arrived he was arrested, transferred to Santa Clara and placed at the disposal of the Emergency Court. At that moment his energetic and accusing verb was missing ”.

“I had the opportunity and the privilege of reporting many of his tours of Cienfuegos for the radio stations Radio Rebelde and Radio Reloj, in the first decades, and later for Radio Progreso, and to appreciate once again his enormous greatness and leadership,” he said. .

(Taken from September 5)

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