Ernesto Che Guevara has been my hero since I remember. First of all, he was born in Argentina, already enough to land in my circle of “love you forever.” Second of all, he had a passion and was an eternal dreamer. And I’m not writing it here to support communism or any other political agenda. For me politics stinks, so my love to Che is absolutely unpolitical. I believe that this unpolitical approach is necessary to fully acknowledge the value of Che as an amazing human being. Because whenever we will try to picture him in any political context, we will make a mockery out of this beautiful figure. I have seen a few movies about Che done by Americans who were clearly afraid of the popularity of this communist hero and tried to devaluate him by underlying that in his youth Che didn’t took showers and stunk. And? Who the hell cares? Unless you stand 1 meter from a person that doesn’t shower, this information is totally irrelevant.
What was relevant for me was Che’s asthma disease. I’ve met many people who stayed in one place most of their lives and felt miserable. They justified their inability to action with their bad health conditions, usually exaggerated. I always heard: if I was healthy … , if I was younger … if …. if … if …” The truth was, they were young and healthy enough to move mountains but instead they chose to become cripples. I always felt that this “if-ing” is killing me and every time I heard it, I thought about Che. This young rich boy with strong asthma attacks, who left his comfortable life in Buenos Aires, got on a motorcycle, drove through South America, saved a huge amount of lives thanks to his medical education, and became one of the most famous and beloved revolutionists around the world. Che was my hero, an eternal dreamer, who despite his poor health picked the kind of life that would be difficult even for a 100% healthy person. He resigned from his comfortable and rich life, because his sensitivity and strong conviction that he can change the world didn’t allow him to indifferently pass by the people who suffer. And for this Che (absolutely unpolitical) is my eternal hero! Hasta siempre!
Those who hoped to find here some sightseeing tips for Santa Clara, probably stopped reading a long time ago 😀 Well, the truth is Santa Clara would be nothing without Che. (Sorry Santa Clara 🙁 ) Ernesto Che Guevara is the reason why so many tourists decide to come to this city. Without Che, without derailing the train and the battle, Cuba most probably wouldn’t be what it is now. Therefore, it is really important to remember that the museums you are going to visit and the monuments you are going to see are not simply tourist attractions. Here you are touching the history of Cuba, without all of this everything would have been different.
So it’s time to go and check some of the legendary places:
Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado
History has been made in this place, as it is here where Ernesto Che Guevara together with other revolutionists with the help of bulldozer and Molotov cocktails derailed an armored train with Batista troupes. It was a legendary moment that decided about the future of the revolution in Cuba. Today on the place you can see the famous bulldozer and a few original railroad cars exhibiting old pictures, documents, clothes, and items connected with the battle. This museum is definitely worth visiting!
Estatua Che y Niño
This statue stays in front of the Officina de la Provincia (PCC) and shows Che with a baby on his shoulder. The baby represents the future generation and the small details of the monument added to Che statue commemorate significant moments from Ernesto’s life. We all liked this statue a lot. There is really something in it…
Conjunto Escultório Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara (Plaza de la Revolución)
It is a monument, mausoleum and museum complex of Che. The statue of Comandante was erected to mark the 20th anniversary of Che’s murder in Bolivia. Remains of Che and 17 other guerillas killed in Bolivian revolution were reburied in this memorial.
The memorial is close to the Viazul bus station so we decide to see it on our way there and thus save on taking taxi only for sightseeing. However, even if it is not on your way, don’t leave Santa Clara without visiting Plaza de la Revolución.
Additional things to check:
- Parque Vidal: a lively square in the city center; that’s where the everyday life is going on 🙂
- Teatro la Caridad: has a beautiful interior from the colonial area, don’t be fooled by its neoclassical façade; entrance around 1 CUC
- Fábrica de Tabacos Constantino Pérez Carrodegua: one of Cuba’s best tobacco factories; we haven’t been there as we gather tobacco ourselves later in Viñales, but people who have been there liked it a lot; you need to book the tour in advance;
One day trips from Santa Clara:
Just shortly about one day trips from Santa Clara, as we’re going to write a separate article about it (in case you are going to Cuba now and are interested please write to us and we’ll send you some tips before publishing the article). So Santa Clara is a perfect place to make a one day trips to one of the most amazing Cuba’s islands and beaches: Cayerías del Norte. Renting a car with a driver for one day to see Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo las Brujas, and Remedios (a beautiful colonial town) costed us around 75CUC. It’s totally worth it, especially that we found the last free beach in the North Island in Cuba!!! So soon we’re taking you to the beach of Robinson Crusoe 🙂 For now enjoy your sightseeing in Santa Clara.
Before you visit Santa Clara we recommend:
- Watch movie “Che” from 2008 directed by Steven Soderbergh;
- Listen to Che’s most famous speech at the United Nations Assembly (Partia o muerte) :
- Listen to one of the best versions of “Hasta Siempre – Comandante Che Guevara” by Buena Vista Social Club:
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