A Big Day for the Homeland

From several testimonies offered in these years by the outstanding musician Jorge Gómez, Juventud Rebelde dedicates this well-deserved tribute to Haydée Santamaría and Raúl Gómez García, and with him those who attacked the Moncada Barracks in the fight for freedom

By: José Luis Estrada Betancourt

Email: estrada@juventudrebelde.cu

2017-07-28 | 16:53:30 EST

His uncle, Raúl Gómez García, marked his life since he was a child. So much that he became his inspiration, to the point that one of the main works of the outstanding creator that is Jorge Gómez - the Moncada group - has its genesis in the perennial tribute that to all those who died in the fight for freedom.

"I always had a love for music," said the director of the popular group, born on October 7, 1972, while recognizing the valuable influence of his uncle, "a 24 year-old man, good-looking, talkative, writer ... became a paradigm due to the influence of his personality and attachment to principles. Raúl Gómez García, the revolutionary poet who fell fighting during the attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

By a quirck of fate professor of Philosophy Jorge Gómez, at the School of Economics, was taskedwith organizing an activity to remember the fifth anniversary of Che’s fall in combat. It was to be staged in the University of Havana, and the instrumentalist and composer was in charge of directing about 150 people, among the people of theater, dance, music ...

At every moment, Jorge remembers the moment that later led to the foundation of the Moncada group. "At that time we were called the University Instrumental Group. The performance was good, so much so that the rector at that time, Jose Miyar Barruecos, Chomy, asked me what group that was. "One we createdad hoc," I replied. "It must be reassambled. A delegation of professors from the Soviet Union and other nations will visit the country, and we want them to appreciate our art, "he proposed.

"That was madness. We had little time and we had to expand the repertoire; Find other instruments. The presentation was a success and the rector said: "This can not be broken!". I'm talking about the end of 1972.”

Shortly afterwards another show was prepared, which ended up being a cantata. This time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada barracks. The idea came from Alberto Faya. "Yes, let's make our own songs!" He made it clear. They would be inspired by Santiago de Cuba, the Siboney farm, the assault, the dead ...

"I recalled that attitude of Grandmother Virginia when my uncle fell in combat; and also the fact that the July 26 is expected with festivities, as the happiest day of the country ... The Moncada Song was made, which we premiered in the Sala Talía, at the University.

" Melba Hernandez, who served as chair of the Solidarity Committee with Vietnam, invited us to act at the inauguration of a village, about 40 kilometers east of the capital, named after that village that was devastated by United States aviation: Ben Tre. And he asked me: what is the group called? "We plan to give you Credentials," I replied. We had thought about Moncada, but we did not want to appear irreverent ... ".

"Melba climbed the podium and spoke to the settlers. At the end, he told them: Now the Moncada Group, from the University of Havana will act for you. That's how the name became official."

Also Haydée Santamaría was present in the Cantata de Moncada. There was a moment when, among the themes that were interpreted, the one called Love was heard. After the concert, the soul of Casa de las Américas approached the boys of the group to greet them.

"Who wrote that part?" Haydée wanted to know exactly what Love meant. I replied, but thinking something was not right. It was when she said to me, "It is not possible that you wrote it because you are very young, you can not have felt that." I explained that I had read a lot, that, of course, I had experiences, I told him about the search I had made, and especially that I was always very close to Raul, my uncle.

"When he discovered that I was Raúl Gómez García's nephew, he told me:" That text was written by Raul, he is the only one who could know. While singing that part, I came back to that moment. I'm sure that's something Raul "dictated" to you. His words impressed me a lot. And since then, we had a very close relationship ... ", said the screenwriter, and director of radio and television programs in 2015 for the documentary Nuestra Haydée, by Esther Barroso.

Also in Nuestra Haydee was where Gomez related that although he was certain that he had met the Heroine of the Moncada before the attack, he could not recall the exact moment. "I must have seen her because my uncle, who had an excellent relationship with Boris Luis Santa Coloma and Abel Santamaria, took me with him to many places. I'm pretty sure I should have seen her."

"As I feel it, Haydee was very tormented. In the Moncada were the people closer to all her feelings, all her love, were not their only action partners, but people she loved deeply: her brother Abel, her boyfriend Boris, Raul ...

" She spoke with the joy of triumph, but as if she felt a debt because she was alive and so many people she loved so much had died. And with Raul ... she told me that Raul always came with a flower for her and another for Melba, when there was a meeting of the Movement, and that they were flowers taken from a bush. Raul was a person of special tenderness; In the midst of the plans of a warlike act where life can be lost -as in fact happened-the possibility of distinguishing these girls ... She loved him very much for that, besides. And she told me that she was very worried when they were imprisoned because she thought that the most fragile person was Raul, that he was going to feel what was happening to them there in an unbearable way: "among the greatest concerns of mine, one was to know the torture of that little boy, "she told me.

Jorge also talked about the other facets of Haydée, who left an indelible memory in most of the musicians of his generation. In fact, one of the guitars that Moncada once had, was a gift from her.

"If only Haydée had done in her life what she did in favor of the Nueva Trova, it would be enough, for having the sensitivity to know that therein was the future of the Cuban song, and against the wind and tide said:" here " . If it had not been the Heroine of the Moncada and everything else, only by understanding what the Nueva Trova Movement was, by giving official support to what seemed anti-official, would have been enough."

Translated by ESTI

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