November 30, 1895. In the town Lázaro López, in Camagüey, Gómez and Maceo combine their forces (totaling 2,600 men) and begin marching toward Las Villas and the west. On horseback, Gómez speaks to the assembled forces:
Soldiers! The war begins now; the hard, pitiless war. The weak will fall by the wayside; only the strong and the intrepid will be able to stand the ordeal. In the full ranks which I see before me, death will open great gaps. The enemy is strong and tenacious. A day which has no battle will be a day lost or ill-spent. Victory will only be attained by the shedding of much blood.
Soldiers! Do not be frightened by the destruction of the countryside. Do not be frightened by the horrible picture of the future of Cuba if, by our weakness, Spain succeeds in winning the war I predict for Martínez Campos complete destruction, which already began for him in the savannas of Peralejo, a prediction which will be fulfilled when the invaders reach the doors of Havana with the flag of victory. Soldiers! Let us reach the furthest limits of Occidente, wherever there is Spanish blood.
Return to 1895