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65th anniversary of Rebel Army’s victory is celebrated in Cuba

Sancti Spíritus, Cuba, Dec 29 (Prensa Latina) The 65th anniversary of the liberation of most of the Sancti Spiritus' towns by troops led by Commanders Ernesto Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, in the offensive against the Fulgencio Batista tyranny in 1958 were celebrated here on Friday.

In the last fortnight of December 1958, Sancti Spiritus’ major cities (Fomento, Cabaiguán, Guayos, Sancti Spíritus, Taguasco, Trinidad and Jatibonico) were liberated.

The Rebel Army and other forces led by Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos waged the battles of Santa Clara and Yaguajay, on the Las Villas Front, which were decisive for the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959.

The strategy by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, who ordered Columns No. 2 Antonio Maceo, commanded by Camilo, and No. 8 Ciro Redondo, headed by Che Guevara, to advance to central Cuba was the conclusive conception against the tyranny.

Camilo was entrusted to go to Pinar del Río, Cuba’s westernmost province, to repeat the feat of Antonio Maceo, the Bronze Titan, in the independence campaign in 1895.

The troops from eastern Cuba received support in Las Villas from the north from the groups that operated there under the leadership of Commander Félix Torres, and from the south from the March 13 Student Directorate, the Popular Socialist Party and members of the Second Front of Escambray.

Commander Armando Acosta (1920-2009) at a meeting with Sancti Spiritus combatants acknowledged the revolutionary effervescence that was experienced in the final days of that year, while the soldiers fled from one town to another.

In December, after the soldiers fled from the town of Jatibonico, the largest rebel front opened on Cuba’s central route, land and railway routes were cut off, and the tyranny was practically defeated.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Elías Fernández, also known as Guayabo, recalled the revolutionary effervescence and how the ranks of the Rebel Army were nourished by new combatants, and the militias and local authorities were formed in the towns.

There was huge joy, the people took to the streets and, while rejoicing, it was like a new rebirth, leaving behind the disastrous days under that regime that claimed the lives of more than 20,000 Cubans, he added.

In Yaguajay, which along with Santa Clara were the last two refuges of the dictatorship in Las Villas, on December 31, 1958, the rebels, commanded by Camilo Cienfuegos, made more than 350 uniformed soldiers at the garrison surrender in the north of Sancti Spiritus.

The exhausted guards accepted their defeat and the rebels took possession of the square and its supplies in favor of freedom.

On January 1, after a heroic battle, victory was achieved in Santa Clara, including the derailment and destruction of the famous armored train that was laden with reinforcements for the army, and other actions, at which the unforgettable Roberto Rodríguez, El Vaquerito, was killed.

The rebels in central Cuba’s largest city, together with the people and other forces, exuded heroism, leaving a scene of dominance as a prelude to the final actions against the Fulgencio Batista clique.

During the clashes, shrapnel from aviation and bombings killed valuable combatants and the people who supported each action at the end of that great feat.