At 3pm on January 28, Cuban neurosurgeon Dr. Enrique de Jongh Cobo, reached the top of the Aconcagua mountain, standing 6,962 meters above sea level in Andes mountain range, in the Argentine province of Mendoza. The climb had been planned specifically to celebrate the 165th anniversary of the birth of José Martí and in order for Jongh Cobo to see, with his own eyes, what Cuba's National Hero described in his essay Nuestra América: De la masa de nieve se levanta, resplandeciendo, el Aconcagua. A los pies, en las nubes, vuelan los cóndores. (Our America: From the mass of snow, a glistening Aconcagua, rises up. At its feet, condors fly among the clouds.)
With the Andes mountain range behind him and the temperature standing at 30 below 0 degrees Celsius, the 57 year old doctor reached the summit on his second attempt, in a gesture intended to remind the world of Martí's enduring example and his profound love for Cuba.
Jongh Cobo carried few items with him during his climb to the summit of the highest mountain on the American continent, including the Cuban flag and that of the Cuban Neurological and Neurosurgery Society, a pair of gloves and several coats, according to the medical professional.
Although Aconcagua is popular with climbers, Enrique de Jongh Cobo is the first Cuban on record to have reached the top.
"There are many risks when you attempt to climb almost 7,000 meters above sea level; the altitude, the cold, strong winds, abrupt changes in weather conditions..." stated Jongh Cobo, also president of the Cuban Neurological and Neurosurgery Society, speaking to Granma via Facebook.
However, nothing could dissuade him from fulfilling his goal of paying tribute to Martí - not even after his fingers froze during his first attempt - and on January 28, 2018 Jongh Cobo reached the summit, because, as the Cuban doctor put it, "the second time's a charm." (Granma)