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El 138 aniversario del fusilamiento de los ocho estudiantes de medicina 
y la inmolación de los cinco héroes negros, ñáñigos en 1871
27-11-2009


From: Tato Quiñones
Subject: Convocatoria

Queridas amigas y amigos, compañeras y compañeros,

El próximo viernes 27 de noviembre, a las 3 pm y bajo el jagüey de  la esquina de Morro y Colón, la Cátedra Haydée Santamaría de la Asociación Hermanos Saíz, conmemorará el 138 aniversario del fusilamiento de los ocho estudiantes de medicina y la inmolación de los cinco héroes negros, ñáñigos anónimos que protagonizaron la protesta armada ante aquel crimen horrendo, el 27 de noviembre de 1871.

En esta oportunidad, la acción cultural contará con el apoyo de la Casa de África de la Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad; del Instituto de Antropología del CITMA; del Taller Vivir la Revolución que auspicia el Centro Juan Marinello; de la Federación Estudiantil Universitaria; de la Cofradía de la Negritud y del Cabildo Lukumí Ifá Iránlòwò, todos en noble alianza en pro de declarar el 27 de noviembre “Día de la Descolonización Histórica”.

Será éste un acto que queremos emancipador, de reivindicación y justicia histórica, que estamos seguros resultará útil para recuperar y desarrollar los contenidos liberadores y populares de la Revolución Cubana.

Cátedra Haydée Santamaría,

La Habana, 23 de noviembre de 2009

Año del 50 Aniversario de la Revolución

 

This commemoration is a first for this event, and a landmark recognition of the role played by the ñáñigos, or Abakuá. As Tato Quiñones puts it:

“In this same endeavor to rescue history, we have also taken into account the events that took place on November 27, 1871. On that day, in addition to the execution of the eight medical students, there was the murder of five black Abakuas who tried to prevent that injustice. It was an almost suicidal act, resulting in their murder.

“But history has sidestepped these events and when people march nowadays to the monument dedicated to the eight students, not once has the heroism of those Abakuas been mentioned, except for in a speech delivered by Commander Ernesto Che Guevara, on November 27, 1961, during the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the martyrs.

Afro-Cubans defended anticolonial fighters, Granma, 11/26/09top

THE MILITANT
Vol. 73/No. 49 December 21, 2009

Afro-Cubans defended anticolonial fighters

The following article appeared in the November 26 issue of the Cuban daily
Granma under the headline "138 years since the colonial power's crime of
November 27." It recounts the execution of eight Cuban medical students in 1871
by Spanish colonial authorities. The article also tells the story of five black
Cubans, members of the Abakuá society who were killed attempting to rescue the
students.

The Abakuá was a secret society of both free and enslaved blacks, organized for
self-defense and to protect their culture in the face of slavery and colonial
rule. A broadly sponsored commemoration of their heroic action was held November
27 for the first time in Cuba. It is part of the vigorous discussion and debate
in Cuba on the legacy of black Cubans in the island's history from the
independence war to the 1959 revolution to the challenges of overcoming
remaining vestiges of racial discrimination today.

*****

BY PEDRO DE LA HOZ
What lay behind the colonial authorities' decision to carry out the horrendous
crime of Nov. 27, 1871? Madness or calculated treachery? An irrational hatred
for the emerging national sentiment that was taking shape in the countryside? Or
a premeditated attempt to teach a lesson to those of rebellious spirit who
sympathized with the movement for freedom?

That day, eight Cuban medical students received in their flesh a mortal salvo of
rifle fire as punishment for supposedly desecrating the grave of a Spanish
writer who had called, in a lampoon, for the extermination of everyone born on
the island. It was soon learned that no such desecration had taken place; it was
merely a pretext for carrying out the crime.

The first to be charged were five young people who had been found in the Espada
cemetery November 23, the day on which the crime that had never taken place was
alleged to have been committed. Three others were chosen at random. Thirty more
received sentences of up to six years in prison in the frame-up trial.

ángel Laborde, Anacleto Bermúdez, José de Marcos Medina, Juan Pascual Rodríguez,
Alonso álvarez de la Campa, Eladio González, Carlos Augusto de la Torre, and
Carlos Verdugo were the victims. They ranged in age from 16 to 21.

Unrecorded, however, are the names of five other Cubans killed that same day, in
an attempt to rescue the students on their way to the firing squad. They were
five men of black skin, one of them "a milk brother" of álvarez de la Campa—that
is, someone nursed by the same black nanny.

An account of the failed action was written by no less than Ramón López de
Ayala, captain of volunteers in charge of the execution of the young people. In
a letter to his brother, who worked in Madrid's Ministry of Overseas
Territories, he wrote: "Blacks discharged their firearms at a group of artillery
volunteers, killing their lieutenant. Those under attack responded immediately
against the blacks, tearing to pieces the five authors of the aggression on the
spot."

The blacks belonged to the Abakuá group Bakokó Efó, one of the associations
under whose name African slaves and their descendants on Cuban soil organized to
defend themselves physically and preserve their culture against the colonial
oppressors. The action taken Nov. 27, 1871, has been preserved and passed down
orally by the Abakuás as part of the most valuable patrimony of their revolt.
Taken by force to be exploited in the plantations of the island, the Abakuás
brought essential ethical values to the forging of the nation.

Those anonymous fighters merit the words our [José] Martí used to honor the
murdered students, praising the capacity of the Cuban soul "… to rise up in
arms, sublimely and, at the moment of sacrifice, to face death without
hesitation in the holocaust of the homeland."

-- groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/message/109573

This article appears to have disappeared from Granma itself.



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