Contramaestre remembers today one of his greatest heroes in the wars for Cuba’s independence, Juan Fajardo Vega, the last mambí, who died on August 2, 1990 in Santiago de Cuba.
Coming from the Guayabal neighborhood, between the city of Contramaestre and La Venta de Casanova, he appears before Brigadier General Saturnino Lora to whom he informs that he is 17 years old and that he is interested in fighting Spanish colonialism. Actually he was not yet 14 years old, but his sturdy body served as camouflage, and he was accepted and incorporated into the ranks of the liberating army on July 10, 1897.
With his attitude towards the tasks entrusted to him and his skill, as he knew masonry, carpentry, blacksmithing and mechanics, he gained renowned prestige in a short time.
When the American intervention of 1898 took place, and the agreement between the governments of the United States and Spain, Fajardo Vega did not hand over his rifle nor did he accept the pension offered.
He knew that this was a farce to take away the freedom of the Cubans who had shed so much blood and had lived under the colonial yoke.
The last mambí maintained his fighting spirit, and because of his opposition to the tyranny of Fulgencio Batista, Juan Almeida incorporated him into the Rebel Army in the III Frente Oriental, where he remained until the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959.
Juan Fajardo Vega was buried in El Cacahual with all the corresponding military honors. His Homeland will never forget its last Mambí.