February 27, 1958
At the end of February, Fidel Castro commissioned his brother Raúl to open up a second Oriente front (“Frank Paîs Front”) in northeastern Cuba’s Sierra Cristal, promoting him (along with Juan Almeida and Camilo Cienfuegos) to the rank of Commander. Raúl arrived in the Sierra Cristal on 11 March with 50-80 men (“Column 6”), establishing his headquarters in Mayarí Arriba. The area covered by this front was substantial, initially stretching from Mayarí to Baracoa but soon extending to cover a triangle between Guantanamo, Baracoa and Mayari. Initially burning sugar cane fields was his main activity, but by the summer the front's efforts included attacks on the US naval base at Guantanamo and Americans in Cuba.
|Raul Castro in Sierra, April 1958. (photo: Andrew St. George/AP/AFP/Getty Images-LIFE archive)||Raúl Castro (L) and Che Guevara, Sierra de Cristal, Cuba 1958 (photo: Andrew St. George/AP)|