Eduardo Che Guevara


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Supreme Soviet






Today we are in Santa Clara and following up on Ernesto “Che” Guevara. When I found that Che just means someone from Argentina I was disappointed. I expected much more. Anyway, El Che made a very big impact on Cuba. He was deeply involved in the revolution and became a close confidant of

Anna and El Che







Fidel and a company commander. After the revolution he had a good position in government but became bored and joined a few other revolutions in Africa and South America. The CIA finally caught up with him and murdered him in Bolivia. His words and image are seen everywhere, but Santa Clara is the focal point.

Our first stop was at the Supreme Soviet. This building has the word Che emblazoned on its front and has a life size statue of El Che holding an infant guarding the entry path.  This is a very delicate statue. The child (el nino) symbolises the next generation. Looking








closer, the statue has some fine work incorporated into El Che’s uniform. In particular there are likenesses of the 38 men killed with him in Bolivia on his belt. This is not the only statue of El Che but I think it is the best.

Walking down the street we were taken by the passing traffic. Firstly, it was very light.

This is a major city and one could easily stroll across the road in safety. Next was the number of 50’s cars Vs contemporary offerings. Cubans have only been able to buy new cars since recent times and, in the country, they are


fairly sparse. Then came the motorcycles. I think I saw more outfits on this first day than I have seen in my life. Generally the chairs were attached to small capacity bikes, 250cc or there abouts. I don’t think I saw a sports bike or anything above 500cc in the whole trip. Finally were the horses and carts. Today they were mainly tourist

El Che’s bulldozer

rides but we gained the impression that horses still form an important part of the Cuba economy.

I guess about a kilometre from the Council Chambers along a tree lined avenue we came to Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado. History was made here when El Che and a band of

The train

18 guerrillas armed with rifles derailed an armoured train using a bulldozer. After a 90 minute battle with rifle fire and Molotov cocktails the

revolutionaries won and effectively signed the death sentence of the Batista dictatorship.

We were able to visit the carriages and the bulldozer but the museum was closed. The staff was off paying condolences to the late Fidel.

El Che Mausoleum

From here we moved off to the Conjunto Escultorico Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara or El Che’s mausoleum.  This place is monumental but I guess that is appropriate. El Che stands atop huge walls bearing inscriptions about his works. The statue was erected in 1987 to mark the 20th anniversary of his murder. His

First church in Santa Clara


















body along with 17 of his compatriots was reburied here in 1997.

Again, there is a museum but again it was closed so we were unable to visit.

We moved on to central Santa Clara and parked our bus in front of the first church built in

One of many







the region. It is in perfect condition. I don’t know if it is in use. We walked along the street following our guide. Externally the houses are plain with wooden louvres where we would have windows. Occasionally we could peek inside. This was usually a revelation. The interiors were typically very pretty and often had cool courtyard gardens.

After a while we came to a road block on an intersection with many hundreds of people queuing in both directions. They were waiting to pay their respects to El Comandante in the main square. Our guide managed to negotiate for us to queue jump on a few conditions. No

Queuing to pay respects

photos. No hats. No loud talking and single file only. We saw Parque Vidal Square. Normally this would be one of the most vibrant places in Santa Clara but of course there was nothing happening today. We paid our respects to the Late Fidel and then moved on for some lunch and free time.


Lunch was a little challenging. We had no idea where to go or what to order. After one completely aborted attempt Anna and I found a lovely café upstairs in an understated building. Sadly we had no time left and we had a coffee only.

Back in the meeting park we saw a hummingbird. This was pretty exciting and a good way to end our visit to Santa Clara.