Fidel getting Palma Soriano to surrender

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Fidel Castro Ruz, the Commander in Chief of the Rebel Army, during the battle to defeat  the troops of the dictatorship based on the warehouses of the Cuban Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank (BANFAIC) in Maffo, planned the war missions to also get the military headquarters of Palma Soriano to surrender and open the way to the eastern capital, Santiago de Cuba.

Once Maffo Battle started, Fidel decided to make contact with Commander Francisco Sierra Talavera, head of the military headquarters of Palma Soriano and summoned him to his command post in Contramaestre to convince him to lay down his arms.

Fidel meets with the head of the enemy

At 11:00 on the night of December 26, 1958, the rebel leader arrived at Eduardo Sorribes’ house in Contramaestre, accompanied by his personal assistant Celia Sánchez Manduley and several members of his staff. Some 200 meters away from the BANFAIC warehouses there was the Rebel Army’s vanguard command post during the battle that had begun on December 10 of that year.

While negotiations were beginning, rebel officer Pedro Miret Prieto advanced on the BANFAIC warehouses with an armored vehicle occupied from the Army of Tyranny. In the midst of the heat of combat he didn’t make a proper exploration of the road and the vehicle was paralyzed when it fell into the crater caused by a bomb of the tyranny aviation, so a real ordeal began inside the war machine trapped between two fires.

The armored vehicle did not have a reverse gear, which created a rather difficult situation for the leadership of the Rebel Army, given the possibility that the tank would be rescued by the troops of the dictatorship.

Minutes after the surrender of Palma Soriano, one of the crew members of the war tank stuck in the surroundings of the BANFAIC, appeared before Fidel to receive instructions. His incorporation into the Rebel Army was so recent that he was unarmed.

The Commander in Chief, in recognition of his bravery, gave him his pistol and his canana. Knowing that the armored car had only eight projectiles left, he decided to send eight more to Central America and ordered the young combatant to return to the tank with the following missions:

(…) Don’t waste a single cannon bullet; wait for the day to clear up a little, for the day light to start shining, for you to see the BANFAIC warehouses well, and cannon shots come and go, but never before eight minutes each cannon shot one from the other (…)

In these circumstances the heroic patriots Wilfredo Pajés Pérez and José González Sarmientos fall while the surrender of the Palma Soriano Headquarters is effectively approved in the early morning of December 27, 1958.


Radio Grito de Baire

Webmaster Jorge Luis Lora Moran Digital Edition Radio Grito de Baire, Contramaestre, Cuba.

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