Museum Dedicated To The Yacht ‘Granma’ of Fidel Castro’s Expedition Reopens / EFE, 14ymedio

The Granma Memorial originally opened its doors on December 1, 1976. (Tripadvisor)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 30 December 2016 — The Granma Memorial, an open-air exhibition that shows the namesake* yacht along with other vehicles and weapons, reopened Thursday in Havana after undergoing a comprehensive restoration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the expedition led by Fidel Castro.

The site, located on the grounds of the former Presidential Palace which is now the Museum of the Revolution in Old Havana, was completely renovated with an “attractive museography” that changed the way the pieces are exposed, according to a statement from the state-run Cuban News Agency.

The repairs included a new lighting system that “offers greater splendor, a better image and perception of the historic yacht,” the replacement of hydraulic networks and air conditioning, work on the garden and the paving of the interior street.

The Granma Memorial was inaugurated on 1 December 1976, with a collection which highlights the yacht in which Fidel Castro, his brother and current president Raul Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara and others traveled from Mexico to Cuba.

The boat is displayed in a heated glass facility “for better preservation.”

The Granma left from Mexico with more than 80 men who landed in eastern Cuba on 2 December 1956, to become the germ of what later would be the Rebel Army with Fidel at the head, and which would triumphantly enter Havana a little more than two years later.

The ship is considered a symbol of the Revolution and its replica will be in the parade on 2 January 2017, in the mass march that will celebrate the anniversary.

This commemorative parade of the triumph of the Revolution is usually held every December 2nd, but this year was postponed a month due to the mourning period for the death of Fidel Castro on 25 November at age 90.

Also carrying the name Granma is the country’s most important newspaper, the organ of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba (the only party permitted in the country), and a province on the east of the island.

The site, which receives more than 500 visitors daily, also shows pieces related to historical events of the 20th century on the island, including two aircraft, one of them captured by the Rebel Army during the fighting in the eastern Sierra Maestra.

The second, a Seafury model, was one of the few aircraft of the revolutionary fleet that faced the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

Also on display are vehicles used in the last war by Camilo Cienfuegos, Ernesto Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Juan Almeida, some with bullet holes.

Also featured is the red truck that carried a group of young people who stormed the Presidential Palace and attempted to assassinate then President Fulgencio Batista, on 13 March 1957 and the turbine of an American U-2, shot down by the Cubans while it was spying on the island during the Missile Crisis in October 1962.

Nearby is the Monument to the Eternal Heroes of the New Homeland, with an “eternal flame” that was lit by Fidel on 19 April 1989.

*Translator’s note: The yacht, owned by an American in Mexico, was named ‘Granma’ when the revolutionaries bought it and they did not rename it; instead they ended up naming things in Cuba after that American’s affectionate moniker for his grandmother.