Five decades and four years have passed since the bloodthirsty Colonel Fermin Cowley Gallegos, under the dictartorship of Fulgencio Batista, assassinated 23 young men in the last days of December of 1956, a painful moment in the history of Holguin.
Days later after the landing of the Granma yacht, a brutal repression was carried out against those that opposed the tyranny, whose sad history began on December 23rd and ended on the 26th with the death of the last of the revolutionaries included in the dictatorship´s black list.
In the northern area of the former Oriente province in the territories known today as Holguin and Las Tunas, two men were savagely tortured and killed.
Operation Christmas Gift was a macabre plan organized by Cowley, head of the military Regiment in Holguin, as a reprisal for the revolutionary actions carried out days before like the uprising on November 30th in Santiago de Cuba and the landing of Granma Yacht two days later.
Members of the 26 of July Movement and the Socialist People´s Party, workers, union leaders and many young people without political affiliation, were savagely tortured and its bodies abandoned in highways, under bridges or hanged on trees.
The dictatorship´s strategy of smothering the fire lit with the landing of the Granma Yacht and provoking terror among the population never succeeded. The main people responsible of those assassinations would pay for their crimes on November 23rd of the following year when a commando belonging to the 26 of July Movement made justice.
Since then, the days of horror lived by the population and family of themassacred humble revolutionaries are known as the Bloody Christmas.
Each December 24th, the people of Holguin, in representation of Cuba, pay tribute to the martyrs of that monstrous event with a march to the obelisk built in their memory in the eastern city.