Articles / About Camagüey / History / Luis Osvaldo Ruiz Bargalló: Cuba is My Homeland, and I Will Defend Her to the Death
Monday, February 21, 2011
Luis Osvaldo Ruiz Bargalló: Cuba is My Homeland, and I Will Defend Her to the Death
By Gretta Espinosa Clemente/Radio Cadena Agramonte.
Having taken up arms to defend his homeland in 1961, was for Luis Osvaldo Ruiz Bargalló more than a duty, it was just a privilege.
This Camaguey-born veteran thanks life the opportunity he had when he was 29 years old to be a protagonist in the fighting that took place at Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs), where Cuba inflicted the first devastating defeat to the United States in the Americas.
What does mean for you to be one of the combatants at Playa Girón?
“I am and will be privileged as long as I live, because not every Cuban had such a chance, the honor of defending the country at such a crucial moment”.
What was your initial reaction when learnt that the imperialism had invaded our country?
"Think about it, as all the worthy Cuban women and men reacted in the time. The point was defending the Homeland, her honor, her sovereignty, and that of our children.
“I learnt of the invasion on April 15th, 1961, of the damages caused by the raids and so my comrades and I returned from home –because we were off-duty then. Then Raul and Fidel launched an appeal to defend our positions.”
The little experience in military issues and the military might of the enemies, instead of discouraging Luis Osvaldo, these were enough reasons to encourage his firm determination to defend his homeland at any cost.
“We were prepared to fight with the infantry, but not to fight larger weapons; but we told lieutenant Palacios, that we wanted to be part of any unit”.
Didn’t you feel any fear in confronting an invasion backed up by the most powerful nation on Earth?
“I can tell you that when you go to fight, no one can tell you that he is not frightened. The first moments are terrible, but the convention that you are there to defend your country … fear just disappears.”
Do you remember any special moment during the battle?
“When I arrived there…it was around 4:00 p.m., I can see the first aircraft that flies at a very low altitude and it has a Cuban flag painted on the fuselage. We waved to it thinking that that a Cuban plane, but it wasn’t.
The real surprise came when the plane made U-turn and began to shoot at us. Then one of us took his rifle and returned fire.”
While he tells his story, the face of Ruiz Bargalló reveals the dramatic moments he lived, though unforgettable because he shared them together with Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro.
“In those moments, being next to Fidel was … I cannot explain well… 50 years have already passed and I can still feel the emotion in my heart, because it was the greatest thing that I experienced in my whole life. Knowing that Fidel was there leading us from the command post in the theatre of war was very encouraging. Fidel was everywhere!
If the imperialism would dare to invade us again, would you take up arms again?
“If that time being so young and without knowing well the enemy, I did it, today my life is completely dedicated to the Revolution. Sure I will be at the forefront as I was once. Cuba is my homeland and I will defend her to the death”.
After 1961, Luis Osvaldo graduated from a mid-level technical course in Labor Organisation and worked in the Vladimir I. Lenin Workshops since 1965 until his retirement.
Always in the side of those who love and build, for Luis Osvaldo Ruiz Bargalló, like many other Cubans, the victory at the Bay of Pigs was a milestone in the History of Cuba, and a starting point to take a path he has never abandoned.
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