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The monument museum of the Armored Train in Santa Clara recalls the Battle led by Che Guevara in 1958 in this city. In this action took place the derailment of an armored train that transported numerous troops and armament of the government of Batista. The detention of this Train is a relevant fact in Cuban history because it enriched the Arsenal of the Rebel Army and precipitated the revolutionary triumph.
Fidel Castro had named Che as Chief of Invasive Column number 8 “Ciro Redondo” with the aim of taking command of the Villas. In late December 1958, Batista sent an armored train loaded with reinforcements to stop the rebels. Aware of the situation, the men in the column commanded by Che undertake a series of armed actions to prevent the passage of reinforcements and especially the armored train.
Revolutionary troops numbered only 400 poorly armed guerrillas against some 3,500 well-placed soldiers supported by aviation, artillery and armored units. Given such a difference of forces, Che adopted important tactical decisions and attacked various points of the city at the same time. To prevent the advance of the armored train, they lifted the railroad tracks and derailed it.
A few hours later, after intense fighting, they took the city of Santa Clara. On January 1, 1959, enemy troops surrendered, Batista fled the country and thus the Cuban Revolution triumphed.
Today you can visit the armored train converted into a museum. The artistic conception of this monument corresponds to Jose Delarra. It represents through five sculptural elements, the different historical events of the action. The museum, inaugurated in 1971, also includes four original wagons, photos, maps, articles and weapons used by guerrillas and an old bulldozer used for action.
For visit: Four blocks from the end of Boulevard (at street Antonio Maceo), Santa Clara (“22.40978, -79.96032”). Entrance charge daily.
by: Alberto Gonzalez & Leunam Rodríguez