John & Jan Visit the Americas travel blog

Che memorial

Train carriages

A short stay in Santa Clara, Che Guevaras adopted home town in Cuba and the first to fall to revolutionary guerillas in 1958 following the derailment of an amoured train carrying munitions and 350 government troops.

Argentinian born, Che is an iconic symbol for Cubans. We visited his monument and mausoleum where his remains now lie after being recovered from a mass grave in Bolivia where he was captured and executed in 1967 by the Bolivian army (with the assistance of the US). We also visited the site of the train derailment, the bulldozer used to wreck the tracks is mounted on a star shaped concrete platform with some of the original carriages from the train housing a small exhibition of photos and artefacts.

As in Havana we stayed in a Casa Particular, the Cuban version of a bed and breakfast, the only alternative to the small number of relatively expensive state run hotels. Our hosts were a doctor and, by profession, an engineer but waiter by trade as the latter is better paid, a typical example of the dysfunctional communist economy.

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