A new documentary film based on the life of legendary guerrillero Camilo Cienfuegos, was recently premiered in the neighborhood of Cayo Hueso (founded in 1912) in Havana, in celebration of the town’s centennial. The film, La casa del roble [The House by the Oak Tree] includes a previously unpublished interview of Cienfuegos by Mexican journalist, essayist and novelist Gerardo Unzueta Lorenzana, who was then a reporter for the magazine Siempre.
The title La casa del roble refers to the white oak tree that the revolutionary’s mother, Emilia Gorriarán, planted next to their house in the Havana neighborhood called Lawton; the film material addresses aspects of the early years of Cienfuegos, who is also known as El Señor de la Vanguardia or El Héroe de Yaguajay.
Camilo Cienfuegos was one of the most important revolutionaries in Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, whose popularity and charisma were as strong as that of his close friend and comrade Ernesto Che Guevara.
Cienfuegos died at age 27 when his plane crashed, never to be found, into the Atlantic Ocean. As one of the legendary twelve survivors from the original 82 who set sail on the Granma from Mexico on November 25, 1956 to start the Cuban Revolution, Cienfuegos—who allegedly secured the last place on the overcrowded yacht only because he was so thin—became one of Castro’s most beloved, trusted and capable leaders in the subsequent two-year guerrilla war against President Batista’s repressive regime.