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Guaimareño proud of being a member of the July 26th Movement

  • Published in July 26th

26th of July flag. Luis Manuel Pestano, a member of the Association of Veterans of the Cuban Revolution in Guáimaro, was part of the Clandestine Revolutionary Movement "26 de Julio" created by Fidel Castro in 1955. He is at present 83 years old and he remembers with complete lucidity that uncertain time and convulsed. His blue eyes go back in time, with longing shining, he leans back a bit more on the rocking chair in his living room and while he repeatedly runs his hands over the clean white hair he goes back in time to remember.

"I was 18 when I started to conspire to provide protection of the trampled interests of the Cuban people; I was a member of the student movement that was brewing in Cardenas.

I was the son of a peasant from the middle class in Yaguajay, in Sancti Spiritus and I was studying in the high school in the private Presbyterian College La Progresiva, based in the city of Matanzas.

My comrades were the young revolutionaries Renato Guitart Rosell, José Alberto Naranjo Morales (aka Pepin Naranjo), Marcelo Salado and Jose Antonio Echeverria, the latter two did not study in La Progresiva but they visited our boarding in their conspiratorial role against the tyrant Batista.

At the end of high school I enrolled at Santa Clara University as a student of Agronomy, specialty that I interrupted in the third year of the course to fulfill revolutionary tasks entrusted by the Movement.

I graduated as an engineer in courses for workers a few years after the triumph of 'January 1st 1959'.

As part of the '26 de Julio 'I received the task of organizing the recruitment of revolutionaries to integrate the first cell of the Movement in Nuevitas.

From there I also traveled to Guáimaro and Cascorro to contact Azórides Sedeño and David Paneca to sell bonds of July '26 ' to buy weapons and supplies for the rebel army.

In the area of Santa Lucia in Nuevitas I met Jose Botello and with him I joined the Rebel Army, so I belong to two categories: clandestine fight and rebel army.

When the Revolution triumphed, as one of the coordinators of the National Institute of the Agrarian Reform (INRA) I was assigned for the responsibility to intervene sugar companies such as Lugareño and Senado and the hacienda Rancho King, which belonged to an American landowner. I participated in the implementation of the first and second laws of agrarian reform.

Alcides Machado Barba, Alvaro's brother Walter and carried out the same functions in Guáimaro. At that time I met here to Elpidio Lezcano Agreda, who was for many years leader of the Communist Party of Cuba, (PCC), and reached the degree of lieutenant in the Rebel Army.

I participated in the sugar harvest of 1970 as sugar director of the Lugareño mills and Senate later I was involved in the Department of Agricultural Development (DAD) with various workshops for the repair of roads, including Guaimaro to San Miguel in which it was the stretch to the community of San Pablo, there we worked in the assembly of the Asphalt Plant of Marti.

I fulfilled dissimilar responsibilities in support of the Cuban Revolution, within the PCC, in the Agricultural Development Project of FAO in Camalote and I retired in the construction of the Milking Project in Camagüey.

From that time to date I started a family, I gave my best to the Revolution and I am a member of the eighth Based Association of the Cuban Revolution Veterans. I am proud to have belonged to '26 July Movement 'and being born in Cuba.