Born Feb. 6, 1932, in Havana; died Oct. 28, 1959. Cuban military and political figure and national hero.
Cienfuegos studied in a school affiliated with the Academy of Arts. Persecuted for his revolutionary activities, he emigrated to the United States in 1953 and again in 1956. In September 1956 he went to Mexico to join the forces of F. Castro Ruz. On Dec. 2, 1956, Cienfuegos and Castro landed in Cuba from the yacht Granma.
Cienfuegos demonstrated courage and talent as a strategist in combat with government troops. He received the rank of major in April 1958 and commanded partisan forces in the extensive territory between the cities of Manzanillo, Bayamo, and Victoria de las Tunas. While leading combat forces, he directed a successful revolutionary propaganda campaign among peasants. In August 1958 he was put in charge of the Antonio Maceo column and invaded the central provinces of Cuba. By December 1958, after a series of victories, his forces had gained control of the northern part of the province of Las Villas, with the administrative center at Yaguajay. After the victory of the revolution on Jan. 1,1959, Cienfuegos helped organize the revolutionary troops into the armed forces of the Republic of Cuba. Cienfuegos died in an airplane crash.