Locomotive Welder and Labor Hero (+Post)

Ángel Eusebio Urgellés Mena es soldador de ferrocarriles

By: Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Cuba

Ángel Eusebio Urgellés Mena has been a railroad welder for 55 years. He works in the machining workshop of the 60th anniversary Unidad Empresarial de Base (UEB) of FerroAzuc, Florida, Camagüey; there he also recovers broken parts and pieces of locomotives, his specialty, and replaces them with spare parts. From 1968 to 2023.

Eusebio has been in the railroad for so many years that when he started repairing locomotives at the plant, they were steam locomotives. “A bit rustic, with a lot of noise. There were many breaks at the crossings, where the water cooled with the steam, and then the welds of the piping cracked. Eusebio remembers the sufferings of those old machines as if they had been patients he attended yesterday. “That’s the virtue one has, at least I keep the memory.”

He was the founder of the National Association of Innovative Technicians and Rationalizers (ANIR), and the story of his life cannot be told by omitting that. As a good creator, he does not let it go, he feels proud. He calls it the era of vanguardism; 21 years National Vanguard of ANIR, and 12 times vanguard of his union. He has the Jesús Menéndez and Lázaro Peña order of third, second, and first degree. Eusebio’s life is a life of work and he treasures his recognitions for that.

He recalls with miraculous precision each of his innovations. He talks about chrome-plated shafts of sugar centrifuges or the pistons he filled with nickel and bronze for the medical oxygen plant he repaired in the critical stage of the covid-19 pandemic and assures “We have to recover the parts, because there is no way to buy them”.

Eusebio turns 76 in August. “I am working, active”. When asked if it is not too much, if he does not want to rest, he says: “I want to at least teach the youth. I want to look for young people to teach them what I know, and I want them to move forward, to develop.

A few days ago Eusebio had a medal with the Cuban flag pinned on his chest. Hero of Labor. “It was very nice. At first I was a little nervous. The Presidency came. There were even cooks there, didn’t you see the cook, there were smelters, workers, engineers, military, doctors, heroes of labor. Diaz-Canel gave me the seal. He told me: congratulations. And I answered: thank you”.

Between mischievousness and solemnity, he reviews his life as if 55 years of work were a short time. He talks about the locomotives and their repairs with the indulgence and affection of a doctor for his patients. Eusebio is a simple man, with a history of railroads and the determination to make them work until they can’t give any more. Just like him.

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