SANTA CLARA.—Che has something which
places him in all parts of the world. He can be seen
every day in the happiness of a child who aspires to
be like him, in the hope of a people, in the bands
of a flag, in the heart of a young person or atop a
hill. Not even his enemies have been able to remove
the figure and example which emanates from Ernesto
Che Guevara, the Heroic Guerrilla, 46 years after
his death, October 8, 1967, in Bolivia.
His presence is particularly felt in
the Cuban province of Santa Clara. More than three
million people from all parts of the world have
visited the niche where his remains were placed,
people who have shed tears, whispered the lines of a
poem or made a commitment before the niche.
Over the years, hundreds of people
have donated more than 800 objects of particular
sentimental value to the Memorial Museum where the
remains of Che Guevara and his compañeros in
struggle in Bolivia rest.
Among them is a letter recently sent
by an Argentine boy nicknamed Coni, expressing a
deep love for Che, as well as the hatred he feels
for his assassins, and promising to come some day to
his eternal resting place.
There are poems, songs, personal
gifts, flowers, flags, medals, candles, drawings,
and the key with which a Chilean patriot managed to
escape from prison during the bloody Pinochet
dictatorship, among other objects related to the
In the visitors book, opened October
17, 1997, when Che’s remains arrived in the province,
are two phrases of great value, one written by Fidel
affirming "¡Hasta la victoria siempre!;"
while Raúl dedicated to him a "¡Hasta siempre
Comandante!" And also present is the memory of
the unforgettable visit to the Memorial of
Comandante Hugo Rafael Chávez Friás.
Another example of the impact Che,
hero of the battle of Santa Clara, is demonstrated
by students from the Camilo Cienfuegos Military
College who, every October 8 and 16th (the date of
the arrival of Che’s remains in Santa Clara), serve
as honor guards to the combatants of the Las Villas
Front, at the mausoleum.
Before the eternal flame which
constantly illuminates the Mausoleum, José Alejandro
Martín Rodríguez, a second year student at the
college, affirmed that his heart felt as if it were
bursting with the emotion he felt.
His honor guard partner, Javier
Alberto Valencia, said that he had never
participated in any event which moved him as much.
"I have never felt so close to the man of whom I
said so many times when I was small, that I wanted
to be like him."
Giustino Di Celmo, father of Fabio
Di Celmo, a young Italian fatally wounded in a
terrorist attack in Cuba, "History never comes back
in such an overwhelming way as when one enters this
place, because there one feels the cries of combat,
the galloping hooves of Rocinante or the crackling
of victorious machine guns.