“THIS DAY IN CUBAN HISTORY – Maceo cross the Trocha de Mariel to Majana”

 A publication of the Cuban Studies Institute

In the history of Cuba, on a day like today … 

On the first of December Maceo ordered that Colonel Carlos González Clavel and a pilot from the area, look for a passage on the trail near the port of Mariel. The scouts returned without finding the breach.

Crossing the trail was not easy. It consisted that military line in a wide road of much visibility. At every kilometer of intervals a fort was built, among the pillboxes several sentry pairs and wells for shooters located twenty meters each were posted. Powerful electric reflectors and thick fences of barbed wire on both sides of its 40 kilometers in length completed the defense works. More than 12,000 soldiers and artillery guarded the passage through that narrow strip of Cuban land. 

On December 3, Maceo had the small boat-mail that the insurgents used in the bay of Mariel. On the night of December 4, Antonio Maceo crossed the dangerous stretch of sea, accompanied by a small group of officers from his staff.

Maceo and his companions walked all morning and continued the march until midmorning when they camped at the demolished mill “La Merced”. Maceo sent notice to the insurgent chiefs of the region; Colonels Ricardo Sartorio and Baldomero Acosta arrived at the improvised camp around midnight. The latter marched in search of horses for Maceo and his men.

Acosta returned on the afternoon of the 6th, with the horses and several riders of the Goicuría regiment. That night Maceo met with Perfecto Lacoste, one of the most prominent leaders of the insurrection in that area. The next day, December 7, early in the morning, he made his entry into the camp of San Pedro, near Punta Brava. There, the “Titan of Bronze” inspected the cavalry formed on both sides of the road, (more than 400 men) who received with live to “Cuba Libre” the hero of the struggle of the Cubans for independence.

 * Pedro Roig, Executive Director of the Institute of Cuban Studies. Lawyer and historian. He has written several books, including The Death of a Dream: A History of Cuba and The Cuban Fight for Independence . Roig is Veteran of the 2506 Brigade.