March of the Torches, January 27, 1953

On January 27, 1953, at night, from its pedestal, the Alma Mater would see hundreds of Cubans descend the steps in a demonstration organized by the FEU, wielding a lit torch and heading towards the Forge Martiana.

At the head of the parade, a Cuban flag carried by university and high school companions;

behind the National Ensign, the full executive of the FEU.

The Marti women all went arm in arm;

It was a large group, but the sensation, the impact of the parade,

was the group of more than five hundred perfectly formed young people who were behind Fidel.

His discipline was impeccable.

Some of these young people would participate in the heroic assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes barracks in Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo in July.

On October 16, 1953, at the penultimate hearing of the trial for the assault on Moncada, Fidel Castro expressed:

“It seemed that the Apostle was going to die in the year of his centenary, that his memory would be extinguished forever, such was the insult!

But she lives, she has not died, his people are rebellious, his people are worthy, his people are faithful to his memory;

There are Cubans who have fallen defending his doctrines, there are young people who in magnificent reparation came to die next to his grave, to give him their blood and his life so that he continues to live in the soul of the country.

Cuba, what would become of you if you had let your Apostle die!”(1)

Regarding the group that paraded that night, Fidel Castro recalls:

When the March of the Torches, our Movement sent 300 organized men.

I also remember that we wanted them to let us take over the car-bombs and all the equipment they used to break up demonstrations, but at that time there was emulation among the youth, a competition, and those of the FEU wanted to be them and not others who carry out that task, something very logical and an expression of courage of our young people who disputed the places of greatest risk and danger.


Fidel Castro participates with Cuban students in the March of the Torches in commemoration of the birth of the National Hero, José Martí, on January 27, 1991. Photo: Revolution Studies / Fidel Soldado de las Ideas website

March of the Torches, January 27, 1953


1- Fidel Castro Ruz.

History Will Absolve Me (digital edition)

2- Speech delivered by Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz at the central act for the XL Anniversary of the assault on the Presidential Palace and the takeover of Radio Reloj, carried out at the Palace of the Revolution, on March 13, 1997

In video, We will always be loyal and invincible followers of Martí