Contramaestre had the great mission of developing the necessary revolutionary effervescence prior to the April 9 strike. And the seizure of the town of Baire was planned for April 5. So the rural militias based in La Ratonera received the order to rise up on March 21 and went to the Sierra de Matías, where they prepared all the methodology they would use to take the town of Baire.
They went down in the middle of the day, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and the combat for the liberation of Baire took place on April 5, in which 4 members of the insurrectionists died, among them the reckless Nesbaldo García Funes, who was the chief of action and sabotage in Baire.
This attack on Baire is the most transcendental event that took place prior to the strike. However, from that day on, the committees of the 26th of July Movement were activated, among them the Casanova Sales Committee, which was the one that contributed the most resources for the strike.
Another front with an important role in the strike was the Civic Resistance, which had a center in Baire, directed by Pucha Barruecas Llópiz, and another in the Riegil Academy of the Fabra brothers. This front brought together processionaries, doctors, pharmacy workers, who contributed many resources to support the strike.
The Strike in Contramaestre
In Contramaestre, the passage of the railway line was the center of the strike and managed to paralyze the economic life of the territory, and there was a massive uprising towards the Sierra Maestra, about 400 people went to the mountains, although many had to return because there were no logistic conditions and 50 new incorporations to the Rebel Army were requested to Contramaestre.
The top leader of the events of the strike of April 9, 1958 in Contramaestre was Rigoberto García Fernández, who died, with the rank of General of Army Corps, on September 23, 2019 in Havana, at the age of 88.
The tyranny unleashed a fierce persecution against the revolutionaries, some of whom were killed and others died in various combats throughout the national territory. More than 120 cadres were lost by the insurgent forces in that month of April.
The strike of April 9, 1958, aimed at weakening the regime of Fulgencio Batista until it collapsed, did not achieve its objective when the attempt to paralyze the whole country failed due to lack of organization, the surprising form of the call, the lack of indispensable war material and means of communication; nor were the workers given the leading role indicated by Fidel Castro.
This defeat of the revolutionary forces led to a meeting of the top leaders in Altos de Mompié, in the Sierra Maestra, where it was unanimously decided to give sole command to Fidel Castro Ruz to continue the necessary war against Batista’s tyranny.
The martyrs of the strike of April 9, 1958 left a legacy for the new generations who enjoy the freedom for which they offered their lives and which they never saw. They shed blood to conquer the freedom of Cuba, which today we defend at any price necessary against internal and external enemies.