Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara
Looming over the hilltop Plaza de la Revolución, at the west end of Rafael Tristá, the Complejo Escultórico Memorial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara complex is dominated by the Monumento de Che, a massive plinth with bas-reliefs and a 6.8-meter-tall bronze statue of Che bearing his rifle, by sculptor José Delarra.
Beneath the monument, on the north side, is the Museo de Che (tel. 042/20-5878, Tues.–Sun. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., free, no photos allowed), which worships the Argentinian revolutionary and has a detailed account of the capture of Santa Clara in December 1958. Che Guevara’s history is traced from childhood. Exhibits include his pistol from the Sierra Maestra, his green PVC jacket with brown corduroy elasticized sides, and his black beret with the five-pointed star.
Che’s remains (discovered in Bolivia) were laid to rest in October 1997 in an adjacent mausoleum that has empty space for the 37 other guerrillas who lost their lives in Guevara’s last campaign. Walls of granite are inset with the 3-D motifs of the revolutionaries, including Che’s, with a small five-point star illumined top-right from a light beam inset in the ceiling.
On the north side is the “Garden of Tombs,” opened in 2009. Framed by symbolic palms, it has tiered rows of 220 marble tombs, one for each of Che’s combatientes (soldiers), arcing around an eternal flame.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition