Biran: Fertile Land
Havana, Cuba.- Biran is a fertile, humid and flourishing land. Maybe these were the natural and climatic virtues that most impressed Don Angel Castro Argiz, former Spanish soldier, to settle in the region and develop the agricultural cultivations: sugar cane, forest and cattle.
With these properties, almost exclusive in the region, the Spanish immigrate became the new resident and since 1915 began to work the lands at the Manaca farm and others in the surrounding area to make up his prosperous plantation which reached almost 11,000 hectares, among his own and rented sections.
Years later, he founded alongside Lina, very human and working woman from the province of Pinar del Rio, the Castro Ruz family, of which were born their children: Angela, Ramon, Fidel, Juana, Emma, Raul and Agustina.
Since then, Birán would be the place and dream of Don Angel and Lina: live, work and educate the family in an environment with convictions, roots and future.
Castro Argiz, originally from Lancara, Spanish province of Luga in Galicia, had arrived in Cuba during his second trip in search of work in an attempt to improve his living standards.
That is how he arrived in Birán, after touring Camajuaní, located in the center of the island; Santiago de Cuba in the east and Guaro in the current municipality of Mayarí, places where he left imprints of an abnegated and working man, as well as similar virtues of Lina, which after the death of her husband in 1956, continued heading the farms and all of the Castro Ruz family wealth.
Those that knew Lina say that she worked non stop alongside Don Angel; she supervised everything, and it was not usual to see her rest. Lina was also on top of the health problems of her neighbors and employees in the farm.
With that energy, which inspired respect and admiration, she lived in Birán and passed away on August 6th, 1963. Her remains lay to rest in a humble tomb close to the little school, alongside her parents and Don Angel, who requested to be buried in the land where he had lived for half of his life.
The name of Biran, pointed out in an article published by Antonio Lopez and journalist Maria Julia Guerra, is related to Opiyelguobiran, deity of the Araucas community which settled in Cuba before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers.
The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, was born in Biran on August 13th, 1926, and Eufrasia Feliz, his teacher, recommended his parents to send Fidel to study in the city of Santiago de Cuba after observing his talents and knowledge while assisting classes at the age of four.
Antonio Lopez, researcher of Biran at the time and still today, pointed out that Fidel graduated from Law School in 1949. Since 1947 Fidel’s father had constructed a house for him with traditional Galician style but never lived in the home because he dedicated his life to the revolutionary struggles.
That home, said the historian, was then used by the family after the large home was destroyed by a fire in 1954.
The reconstruction of the original house concluded in 1980, according to a project conceived by Celia Sanchez Manduley, who was also in charge of other constructions in Biran like the Sabanilla reservoir with capacity of 30.5 million cubic meters of water.
Several of the buildings of the historic complex were constructed between 1914 and 1917 and are located approximately eight kilometers from the town of Marcane, close to Cueto, and almost 800 kilometers east from Havana in the province of Holguin.
The cedars, palm, coconut trees and orange fields were recovered giving this piece of land a unique harmony.
Those that visit the town feel the sensation of being part of the area and enjoy the enchantments and magic surrounding Biran.
The place, says its director Florencio Martin Suarez, maintains the original morphology and is subjected to careful conservation, both in its properties as in the collection of over 2 000 registered objects.
Biran was officially opened to the public as a museum on November 2, 2002, and since then, close to 250 000 Cubans and some 50 000 foreigners have visited the installation, said Antonio Lopez.
Before being turned into a museum, people would arrive and walk up to the entrance of the home to see where Fidel was born, how the installation was conserved and all the personal and family values.
Today, he highlighted, the visits to the home are free and people can walk through the installation accompanied by the local guides. There are reconstructed bohios and ‘barracones’ which are homes made for the Hatian community that worked in the area, the home of the teacher, and a small school.
Only a few meters away there are some rooster fence, machinery workshop, post office, La Paloma bar, home of grandmother Dominga, the hotel…
The leader of the Cuban Revolution, recalls Lopez, witnessed in his visit in 1996 that Biran had revived with the presence of more trees, especially many more species which had disappeared in the area; felt that the batey recovered its essence of the time and saw how the cedar, coconut, palm and orange trees were reborn like a fertile seed in the farm.
To the patriotic and natural values of the place a plaque exposed on the shadow of trees on the base of the trunk of a Caguairán tree (wood species very resistant and abundant in the region), was placed in February 2009 when the installation was declared a National Monument.
That is Biran, and this is how the community is conserved. This is the birthplace of Fidel and Raul which holds history, events and amazement for the world. Biran is for those that love peace, hate wars and oppose injustice and the destruction of humanity. (ACN)
Source: Radio Rebelde