With a difference of 83 years, two important historic figures were born on June 14th. In 1845 it was Antonio Maceo y Grajales and in 1928 it was the legendary guerrilla Ernesto Che Guevara de la Serna who was not born in Cuba but is considered as Cuban.
Each in their own time shared the same objectives and knew how to act before any difficult moment.
Regarding their families, they were also privileged because both had parents that had much to do with their future.
They taught them the importance of being humble, honest and courageous in defending their ideals.
Antonio Maceo joined the independence war against Spanish colonialism which began on October 10th, 1868 at the age of 23. He carried out his task with courage and discipline which got him many promotions in the army.
Ernesto Che Guevara lived a different period, but also joined the struggle at an early age, very much concerned on the world that surrounded him at the time and decided to tour the continent with his friend Alberto Granado to see for his own eyes the conditions of the people of the region.
Other events resulted in coincidences in their lives.
In Mexico, Che learned of the preparations by a group of revolutionaries headed by Fidel Castro with the objective of disembarking on the Cuban coasts to fight against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and immediately joined the group convinced of their convictions and justice.
Antonio Maceo also joined the independence process after arriving from abroad. He had left Cuba after the end of the so called Guerra Grande (Big War) aimed at creating the proper conditions for the future uprising.
Both arrived to Cuban coasts by sea in different times aimed at carrying out their aspirations of independence.
Soon Maceo and Che became, each one in their time, historic and key figures for the development of the combative actions; Maceo was the closest and trustworthy man for Maximo Gomez and later named second head of the Cuban forces. The Argentine-Cuban rebel was always very close to Fidel and after time became one of the most important leaders of the Rebel Army.
And if these coincidences were not enough, both had the privilege and responsibility of heading the uprising from east to west; Maceo in 1896 and Che in 1958, precisely re-editing the feat of Maceo against Spanish domination.
Another coincidence ties them to our history. Although in different areas, both fell in combat in defense of their ideals: total independence.
(By Yolanda Díaz Martínez, Historian, ACN)