BAYAMO, Cuba, Jan 12 (ACN) A representation of the people, along with intellectuals, artists and authorities of the eastern province of Granma recalled today the glorious burning of this city by its inhabitants in 1869, deemed a most significant date in Cuban history.
Near the place where the fire is held to have started—the former pharmacy of Don Pedro Maceo Infante, near the town’s emblematic Plaza de la Revolución—the attendants remembered the event with songs, poems, dances and expressions of patriotic reaffirmation.
From the early hours of that morning, the city was ablaze, and over it fluttered pigeons whose nests were burned, while thousands of women, elders, youths and Mambi warriors began the long exodus to the manigua (scrubland), historian Carlos Enrique Rodríguez Lora evoked.
“After 85 days of autonomy in what became the first capital of Free Cuba,” he said, “their heroic deed reduced to ashes the beautiful and great town of Bayamo, one of the richest in the island. With their hard but irrevocable decision, they burned down not only an enormous culture, but all their economic effort, work and sacrifices, because they attached greater importance to their freedom and principles, which one never relinquishes, as the historic leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro taught us.”
Months before the event, on October 20, 1868, the victorious people of Bayamo asked the patriot Pedro (Perucho) Figueredo the lyrics of what is today the National Anthem, whose verses call to battle, because "to die for the Homeland is to live".
“Such a glorious act could not be betrayed, and so it was, because people even gave their lives here, so 153 years after the event we ratify the libertarian ideas that our ancestors advocated, guided by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the one who started our nation’s war for independence,” Rodríguez Lora added.