Fidel Castro, My Life
A Spoken Autobiography
- Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet
Gran Piedra mountains
Chapter 6: History will absolve me.
After the Moncada attack failed, Fidel was forced to flee in the only possible area around, the Gran Piedra mountains. He retained but a small fraction of the group that had battled Batista's forces at the Moncada Barracks. Not only that, about half of them were either too exhausted or too injured to even attempt the climb and with the help of another escapee, were diverted to Santiago where they had a better chance of getting the medical attention they needed. Fidel even sent requests out to the various campesinos who lived along the way to help these wounded and see to it that they arrive safely to Santiago.
But this left only a dozen or so soldiers to continue the climb up the mountain, some 3,000 feet above sea level where they had started their journey. Batista's army was everywhere and eluding them became more and more difficult. After a few days of crawling carefully through the heavy brush, sleeping under the stars and carefully erasing their tracks, the group stumbled onto a small shed near a campesino's home. The temptation was too great and Fidel and two others from the group decided to make use of the only place around that could offer some form of creature comfort.
This small mistake almost cost them their lives. Four hours later the sound of hoof beats nearby was quickly followed by the smashing of the lean-tos door and before the three gained their senses, they found themselves on their stomach and handcuffed from behind. The intense fury and anger emanating from these soldiers showed just how much they wanted to extract revenge from the group that had earlier attacked Moncada. Fidel knew that if he were to divulge his real identity to them, they would not hesitate one second in turning him into a human version of Swiss cheese. But even giving them a false identity was no guarantee that the three would be spared.