March of the Torches: Older than the Cuban Revolution

by Max Lesnik
Jan. 27, 2022

March of the Torches 2022, with Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz-Canel at the helm.

There are events in the lives of men that are never forgotten.

Looking back, I remember in vivid colors of magical realism, that first “March of the Torches” on January 28, 1953, which, coming out of the steps of the University of La Habana, hundreds of students raising torches with live fire, advancing along San Lazaro street we headed towards the “Forge “Martiana” in tribute to José Marti on the anniversary of his birth, which occurred on a day like that, in the previous century.

It was a still very young Raul Castro, who in the front row of the student demonstration, raised a Cuban flag in the air in what was the first youth protest of that time against the new Batista dictatorship. Of those who paraded that night of January 28, 1953, only a few remain alive. Raúl Castro, Machado Ventura and others of us who belonged to the “Martiano Centennial generation.”

They say that remembering is like living again. Even in the distance of time and space, I felt young again on the night of this January 27th. The Martí March of the Torches continues with its purifying fire lit. It is the Cuban youth of today that neither surrenders nor bows before foreign powers or national traitors, the “Judas” who are sold for a handful of dollars. At last night’s roll call, I said: PRESENT!

Read coverage of last night’s march from Granma