Saturday, August 13, 2011

Celia Sanchez & Fidel Castro at Work & Relaxation

     The above photo was taken in March of 1964, five years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution that ousted the U. S.-backed Batista dictatorship. It shows Celia Sanchez hard at work on the couch and Fidel Castro relaxing barefooted in his rocking chair. Cuban insiders consider this a very appropriate photograph because Celia was the primary decision-maker in Cuba from January of 1959 till her death from cancer on January 11, 1980, at age fifty-nine. Fidel, as the recognized upfront leader of Cuba, always fully supported whatever decisions Celia rendered, even if he initially disagreed with her. Irate over terrorist acts from Florida that continually targeted her beloved peasants, Celia, without consulting Fidel, sent a cable to Moscow requesting nuclear missiles on Cuban soil. The cable was sent to Deputy Premier Mikoyan who had earlier visited Cuba on a trade mission and was smitten with Celia, whom he nicknamed Spanish Eyes. The entire cable, which she signed "Spanish Eyes," is included in my upcoming second biography of Celia. Initially Fidel was furious when she told him of the cable that Mikoyan and presumably Premier Khrushchev had already read, but within twenty-four hours, as always, he supported her decision.   
     Celia, shown above using binoculars to observe a Batista army advancing on her guerrilla position in the Sierra Maestra, was also the prime decision-maker in the revolutionary struggle against Batista both before and after the Castro brothers, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos joined her forces in the closing days of 1956 following their perilous journey from Mexico on the yacht Granma. In the Sierra as in Revolutionary Cuba, the awestruck Fidel was her biggest supporter.   
       The above photo, from left to right, shows guerrilla fighters Vilma Espin, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Celia Sanchez. Fidel Castro in 2004, presumably after decades of consideration, still rated these the Big Four in both the revolution and in Revolutionary Cuba...and he rated their "importance and significance" in this order: Celia, Fidel (himself), Vilma, and Raul. His second four, in this order, were: Che Guevara, Haydee Santamaria, Frank Pais, and Camilo Cienfuegos. (In 2004, when I was in Cuba researching my first biography of Celia Sanchez, I spent -- according to Armando Brinis' wristwatch -- 7 1/2 minutes with Fidel. It came about not because I was "someone important" but because Brinis, the well-known head of the Cuban Media Center, had shown Fidel seventeen letters in my possession that Celia had written, from 1953 to 1979, to her dear American friend Nora Peters. It appears Fidel was interested in those letters, which spawned Brinis and a female soldier picking me up at the Victoria Hotel and driving me across town. At his desk I also showed him a paragraph written decades earlier by  a famed journalist/author (Carlos Franqui) in which Fidel named his revolutionary Big Four. The above photo, it is believed, resulted from Franqui's article about the Big Four. I asked Fidel if, after all these decades, he had changed his mind about the Big Four, particularly the order of their "importance and significance." He re-read the paragraph, then pondered as he rubbed his chin (left hand), and said, in English, "It remains the same." Countless pundits, historians, journalists, and self-anointed Cuban "experts" disagree -- either via ignorance or self-serving convenience -- with the dominance of Celia Sanchez in the Cuban Revolution and Revolutionary Cuba. However, Cuban insiders, and not just Fidel, knew differently. Pedro Alvarez Tabio, the great Cuban historian, wrote: "If Batista had managed to kill Celia Sanchez any time between 1953 and 1957, there would have been no Cuban Revolution, and no revolution for Fidel and Che to join." Roberto Salas, in his book "A Pictorial History of the Cuban Revolution," wrote: "Celia made all the decisions for Cuba, the big ones and the small ones." Marta Rojas, the great Cuban journalist/author, told me in an e-mail in 2005: "Since Celia died of cancer in 1980, Fidel has ruled Cuba only as he precisely believes Celia would want him to rule it." Tabio, Salas, and Rojas are all Cuban insiders as well as being superb journalists/authors. The dear, sweet Marta Rojas is my friend. The photo directly below shows Marta at the tender age of three using an umbrella to shade herself from the sun in Santiago de Cuba. The photo directly below the childhood one shows the 30-year-old Marta Rojas introducing Fidel Castro for his very first televised speech to the Cuban people in December of 1959. 
Marta Rojas, age 83, in 2012
     The above photo reflects the prime reason that created and fueled the Cuban Revolution that ousted the U. S. - backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba on January 1, 1959. Repeatedly in 1952 and 1953 Cuban women took to the streets of Cuba's two biggest cities -- Havana and Santiago de Cuba -- to protest the gruesome murders of their children -- murders designed as warnings to potential dissidents, murders resulting from the kidnapping of young girls that were routinely used to lure pedophiles to the Mafia-run casino-hotels, and the torture-murders of prisoners. The brave women who took to the streets to protest Batista provided the inspiration that spawned the Cuban Revolution, creating famed female warriors -- Celia Sanchez, Haydee Santamaria, Vilma Espin, Melba Hernandez, Marta Rojas, etc. -- who paved the way and laid the foundation for male warriors such as Frank Pais, Fidel Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos, Che Guevara, Raul Castro, etc. to join them and eventually overthrow the U. S. - backed Batista. Unfortunately, the ousted Batista/Mafia dictatorship in Cuba quickly reconstituted itself on U. S. soil in the Mafia havens of South Florida and Union City, NJ.  Of all the most famed revolutionary heroes and heroines, only two -- Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria -- were there at both the start of the essential Urban Underground foundations and at the climatic triumph marking the demise of the Batista dictatorship on the island of Cuba.  
     Before Fidel, Che, and Camilo ever fired a shot in anger in the Sierra Maestra, Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria (shown above with Haydee in front) were leading deadly guerrilla attacks against Batista soldiers.
      In the above photo, Haydee (on the left) and Celia, both with rifles at the ready, await a counterattack after successfully ambushing a Batista brigade that ventured into the Sierra Maestra intent on annihilating them. In the pantheon of history, these two female warriors stand alone for their bravery and for their imprint on reshaping their region and the world. Decades after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria were the prime inspirations for female rebels-turned-politicians -- Michelle Bachelet, Cristina Kirchner, and Dilma Rousseff -- to become the democratically elected Presidents of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, replacing foreign-backed dictatorships such as the one that spawned the ire of Celia and Haydee on the island of Cuba. 
       Dilma Rousseff, for example, is now the democratically elected President of Latin American superpower Brazil. As a young guerrilla fighter against a military dictatorship back in the 1970s, she was captured and tortured for three years in a military prison. "The Cuban Revolution proved something we had considered impossible," she says. "Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria provided my inspiration as a rebel and as a politician. I owe them a lot and so do all the democracies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Cuban Revolution changed the region more than anything before or since. It made the statement that little nations did not have to be controlled by foreign powers."
      The above photo shows Fidel Castro in Revolutionary Cuba flanked by Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria. Cuban insiders to this day acknowledge not only Fidel's awe but his worship of the two female warriors. In Revolutionary Cuba, Celia chose to remain both polemical and political and thus she, with Fidel's total blessing and support, was the prime decision-maker on the island till her death from cancer on January 11, 1980. Haydee, on the other hand, devoted her energy to Latin American literary endeavors. Grieving over Celia's death, Haydee in 1980 committed suicide. Later Haydee's daughter Celia Hart (named for Celia Sanchez) became a prolific Latin American writer/author and confirmed that her mother's suicide was directly caused by Celia Sanchez's death. Celia Hart, in a 2007 essay, wrote: "They fought so bravely together, so mother thought they should die together. She had gifted me with the greatest honor of my life, which was to be named after Celia Sanchez."
     The above photo shows two great female guerrillas -- Celia Sanchez and Vilma Espin -- during a break in the fighting in the Sierra Maestra. As in the photo on the porch with Fidel, Celia is the studious one here while Vilma, also typically, is the frivolous one with the flower in her hair. After the triumph of the revolution, Celia continued as Cuba's prime decision-maker because she remained the one and only person Fidel Castro has worshipped. But Vilma, till her death from cancer in 2007, was also ultra-powerful as the head of the Federation of Cuban Women and the wife of Raul Castro. 
      The above photo shows the very flamboyant Fidel and the very, very modest Celia arriving in Cienfuegos, Cuba, at 1:00 A. M. on January 4th, 1959, as the new leaders of Cuba. After the triumph of the revolution on January 1, 1959, rebels led by Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara had control of Havana while Fidel and Celia captured and secured Santiago de Cuba, the former capital and second largest city on the eastern end of the island near the Sierra Maestra. Celia and Fidel took seven days on the dilatory trek to claim their prize -- the entire island. She never liked acclaim, adulation, and publicity. Fidel respected that and to this day he never discusses Celia with anyone other than close friends such as Marta Rojas. For example, in famous TV interviews with Dan Rather and Barbara Walters, they each asked Fidel if he would say anything at all about Celia Sanchez. Each time he said nary a word but instead just showed his palms and shook them at Rather and Walters.
     Celia Sanchez was one of the first in the celebrity world to openly hate paparazzi. In the photo above she and Fidel were being driven to dinner and she's getting irked by both the crowd and the photographers. But she was known to be tolerant of the paparazzi and other pests because (remember?) she was the petite, angelic doctor's daughter -- except when it came to the Batistianos, the Mafia, and U. S. capitalists. The latter three entities transformed her into history's greatest female guerrilla fighter and revolutionary leader, an historic fact that neither she nor Fidel Castro ever apologized for and which, in the twilight of his life, he still embraces as his most indelible memory.
     The above photo depicts the childhood home of Celia Sanchez in Media Luna, Cuba. It is now a shrine open to tourists and features 247 items from her past, including her favorite pistol and rifle from her guerrilla days. She was born on May 9, 1920. Each year on her birthday, as shown above, Cubans gather in front of her childhood home and discuss what she still means to them.
     The Celia Sanchez Hospital, shown above, is one of the many memorials in Cuba named for Celia Sanchez. There are no such memorials to Fidel Castro anywhere on the island.
     There are many beautiful statues of Celia Sanchez in Cuba. As revered as she is on the island, and as significant as she is to both Cuban and U. S. history, it might seem strange that the revolutionary heroine is scarcely known in the United States. But, since 1959, Cuban exiles who don't like Celia have controlled U. S. policy when it comes to Cuba. Thus, Latin machismo prefers that macho men like Fidel and Che be blamed for the Cuban Revolution -- certainly not petite, angelic doctor's daughters outraged by the legal murder of a little girl in Batista's Cuba. In most wars the victor writes the definitive history, but the Cuban Revolution is unique in many regards including that one. The definitive history of the Cuban Revolution, for the most part, has and is being written by the remnants of the dictatorship booted out of Cuba all the way, as it turned out, to the soil of the nearby neighbor that happens to be the world's superpower. That's not fair to history but where Celia Sanchez is concerned that would be fine because she disdained fame, fortune, power, and publicity -- four things dearly prized by her enemies. "My God," she once told Marta Rojas in the wee hours of a Sunday morning in 1976 in the office of the Granma newspaper, "By the time those Cuban and Mafia traitors and thieves got to Miami and Union City, they had already sent enough money to buy up those parts of Florida and New Jersey and much of the U. S. government. So why are we surprised they have enough power and criminality to get away with bragging about bombing a civilian airplane loaded with children?" (The Cuban airplane was bombed out of the sky on October 6, 1976, killing all 73 on board; on January 7, 1980 -- four days before she died of cancer -- in her last full conversation with Marta Rojas, Celia said: "You know, Marta, I guess it's true -- those with the most money and the most power have the final say. That article from the Miami Herald you read to me yesterday...it seems the bad fellas are the 7-year-old girl and all those teen sports players who died on that plane, and the good guys are the ones who killed them. Tired old rebels like me, I reckon, are still out-gunned and out-numbered. We can make history but we still don't get to write it."  Note: In a famous two-part essay written by renowned Cuban historian Pedro Alvarez Tabio entitled "CELIA SANCHEZ: GREATEST MAKER OF CUBAN HISTORY" there was a similar quotation from Celia Sanchez to the one she made on her deathbed to Marta Rojas: "You (Tabio) register all the battles and the war we won but you seem hesitant to acknowledge that we are still little Cuba and those we beat fled to control a dangerous nearby haven in the world's strongest country. Still backed by that country, their main target is and will always be little Cuba, the desired jewel for foreign powers and Mafia criminals."  The Cuban Revolution, as Celia often referenced, drastically changed Cuba but, perhaps, even more drastically changed the United States. Her reasoning was this: Batista's Cuba was the first U. S. - backed dictatorship to be overthrown and, more significantly, it became the first deposed foreign dictatorship to reconstitute itself on U. S. soil -- namely South Florida and Union City, NJ, which had long been Mafia havens for Batista partners such as Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante Jr. Such rationale is readily but incorrectly, conveniently, and cowardly refuted in the United States today. But the fact is little Cuba still holds those two gigantic distinctions in American history.  
     The above photo, whose rights are owned and controlled by Yale University, shows Celia Sanchez in the lobby of a New York hotel in April of 1959 -- less than four months after she had shed her famed guerrilla uniform in Cuba's Sierra Maestra revolutionary war. It is surely one of the most iconic and most important snapshots of the entire U. S. - Cuban cauldron. Beyond question, Celia considered Miami, Florida, and Union City, NJ, to be reconstitution's of Cuba's ousted Batista dictatorship. She was abundantly aware that "mi Cubita bella" ("my beautiful little Cuba") was tiny compared to her gargantuan and hostile neighbor, the United States, and she was unforgiving that the U. S. had teamed with the Mafia to rape and rob the island with kickbacks to its chosen and brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista. But yet, Celia was nothing if not pragmatic. She wanted the U. S. to be Cuba's "best friend and chief trading partner" as she told journalist Carlos Franqui. Therefore, in the immediate weeks after the euphoric triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Celia persuaded a very reluctant Fidel Castro -- the newly famed upfront leader of Cuba -- to visit the U. S. and make a powerful series of promises to President Dwight Eisenhower, including a "sincere promise" of a totally honest democratic election within three months that could be "massively monitored" by U. S. observers to assure its absolute honesty. The trip was made and lasted twelve days in April of 1959 and the 33-year-old Fidel was a superstar hit at appearances at Yankee Stadium, the Washington Monument, etc.; the magazine Celia is gripping in the above photo is the Newsweek edition that had Fidel on its cover above the caption "Hero." But Celia's priority was the promised Eisenhower meeting with Fidel. Sadly, it was not to be. The honest, elderly, and very malleable U. S. president was abruptly shunted off on a golfing trip far from D. C. so the crooked wing of the White House, led by Vice President Richard Nixon, could host the world's newly heralded revolutionary hero.
         Fidel Castro's historic meeting with VP Richard Nixon in April of 1959 foreshadowed much of the shame, suffering, and criminality that has shaped U. S. Cuban policy to this very day. Nixon, in perfect Joseph McCarthy-style, used the session to burnish his anti-Communist reputation, flagrantly and falsely accusing Fidel of being a Communist and installing an "unacceptable" regime on the nearby island of Cuba. Even that week's edition of Newsweek poignantly revealed that the criminal U. S. - backed Batista, not Revolutionary Cuba, was "riddled" with Communists such as the infamous Rolando  Masferrer and such as Batista himself. (Batista in 1940 had openly run as a Communist in what was supposed to be a democratic election before he became dictator). At the time Celia and Fidel were not Communists although some important lesser rebels -- including Che, Vilma, and Raul -- certainly had communistic views. Celia was devastated by Nixon using Fidel to grease his right-wing path to the presidency. Even before the flight back to Havana, she told Carlos Franqui, "I never misjudged the criminals high up in the U. S. government prior to this trip. I fully realized their crimes in weaker countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America were committed so rich Americans could steal the resources of countries like Cuba. But, my God, I really thought the American democracy would shelter the U. S. from outright and official government crime at home. Most of everything, I wanted good relations because what little nation wants to continually be fighting the strongest nation in the world? But I know now that won't happen unless we sell out to them. That won't happen. They can destroy us but selling out won't happen. We are not Batista."  Franqui then asked her, "So, what do you do now?" She replied, "We go back to our island, batten down the hatches, and do what Cuba has done forever -- prepare for hurricanes and fight foreign powers that want to devour us by buying off  native Cubans to join in the ongoing war they will wage against us." Note: Carlos Franqui was a legendary Cuban journalist/author who initially supported the Cuban Revolution as a journalist, author, and broadcaster but later turned against it and lived for decades in Puerto Rico). His much-quoted books about Fidel and the revolution include The Twelve, which was about the Fidel-led and Celia-saved survivors of the ill-fated journey from Mexico to Cuba on the old yacht Granma. Franqui believed just twelve of the 82 on the Granma survived the Batista shoreline ambush but later it was learned there were seventeen survivors -- including Fidel, Raul, Che, and Camilo. None of them had ever laid eyes on her but Fidel, during his two years in prison, had not only heard about her but had communicated with her via underground couriers. Marta Rojas gained her first fame covering Fidel's Moncada trial as a journalist trusted by Batista. This gave her access to the imprisoned Fidel. She would exit the prison with notes from Fidel to Celia hidden in her bra; then she would enter the prison with notes from Celia to Fidel also hidden in her bra.  Marta, Fidel, Celia and everyone else knew that Fidel would have quickly been tortured to death, as were lower profile Moncada prisoners including Haydee Santamaria's brother Abel who was a key planner for the Moncada attack, except for the fact that journalists including Herbert Mathews closely monitored the well-being of the imprisoned Fidel, already the hero for the majority peasants (as well as journalists like the influential Mathews). The famous photo of Celia Sanchez in the New York hotel lobby in April of 1959 captured a radiant and optimistic Celia Sanchez prior to Fidel's session with the diabolical, double-crossing Richard Nixon. The meeting, although it caught the astute Celia off guard, reaffirmed a trend that has existed from the 1950s to today: The U. S. policy regarding Cuba has been firmly controlled by right-wing criminals high up in the U. S. government colluding with rich and powerful Cuban-exile political and economic interests. Even the most honest and decent presidents from Eisenhower to Obama have been powerless to rein in the economic and political power of the leading Cuban-exile radicals such as Jorge Mas Canosa, ex-Batista minister Rafael Diaz-Balart and then his U. S. congressmen sons Lincoln and Mario, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (entrenched in the U. S. Congress from Miami since Jeb Bush was her Campaign Manager in 1989), etc. This phenomenon reflects a dire and perhaps fatal weakness in the U. S. democracy, especially when it can be noted that the most extreme and most powerful Cuban-exile radicals dating back to the 1970s are all tightly connected to the ongoing Bush political dynasty that has included, among other things, a CIA director, a Vice President, two Presidents, and a two-term governor of Florida who has definite plans to be President at least in 2016 with Marco Rubio, his protege and new Cuban-American Senator from Miami, as his Vice President. Observing the criminal Richard Nixon up close in April of 1959 spawned this comment by Celia Sanchez in the October-1973 edition of Bohemia Magazine: "My God, I worshipped the American democracy from 1939, when I saw Wizard of Oz in Santiago de Cuba while still a teenager, until I saw how Batista got his guns and his power from America so he could brutalize us. But my encounter with Nixon in 1959 was the epiphany that turned me against domestic America because it was on that trip that I learned the powerful Dulles brothers and their kind owned companies like the United Fruit Company that were robbing little nations blind, even if the U. S. government had to use its military to make it happen. A democracy run by the likes of Nixon, the Dulles brothers...people who profited from the rapes and murders and wholesale robberies in little countries like Cuba, the same people who sent their military and their CIA and Mafia goons to kill us or to enslave us so we could be exploited or killed by our own goons? Uh, no thanks. I prefer to die fighting such fiends, not running scared. And I know now, I will die fighting those fiends and the Cubans aligned with them, especially the cowards who attack us from Florida."  Carlos Franqui, even after he had turned his high-profile journalistic endeavors from pro-Castro to anti-Castro, used that latter quotation from Celia Sanchez to explain why she never championed a democratic election in Cuba even though her preferred candidate, Fidel Castro, was "easily the most popular and best liked person on the island with a legacy that will rival or exceed Jose Marti."  Perhaps, as the one-time insider Franqui surmised decades later after he had defected to Puerto Rico, Celia Sanchez shunned a democratic Cuba although Fidel probably would have easily won any honest election, just as declassified U. S. documents from 1962 (now posted on Peter Kornbluh's U. S. Archives website) clearly concluded. That website also features chilling declassified U. S. data depicting the embargo, first imposed on Cuba in 1962 and continuing to this day, as designed "to starve" the Cubans on the island to force them to overthrow Castro. "Batista, the Mafia, and the CIA made profound impressions on Celia," Franqui wrote, "but Nixon and the Dulles brothers made the most indelible impressions on her regarding democratic America. After Wizard of Oz, she thought democracy reached all the way to heaven...till her beloved little Cuban girls began going missing and ending up in Mafia casino-hotels to entice pedophiles to gamble. A little Cuban girl she knew proved to be one too many for her and, as it turned out, for Batista and his supporters.  But after seeing Nixon and learning about such decision-makers as the Dulles brothers, her democratic balloon, or ideals, were punctured forever even as far as domestic America or domestic Cuba were concerned. But it still wasn't till after the Bay of Pigs attack that Fidel announced he was a Marxist, upon her suggestion. After the rebels took Cuba and would have done most anything to appease the U. S., Nixon and his ilk wanted nothing less than to recapture Cuba and do it in short order. Realizing that, Fidel still wanted to appease, to compromise, at least till the Johnson administration rudely rejected his Celia-approved 12-page plea for friendly relations with the U. S., making so many concessions that he added, 'but please don't conclude that my resolve regarding sovereignty is weak.'  Before and after 1959, Celia was the tough nut to crack, not Fidel. But he's never let anyone, including Che and Raul, criticize her...and that includes me when I was his valued friend." NOTE: Nixon's infamy is well known to Americans but 1950s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen Dulles, the CIA director, had positive reputations with me -- till I read Celia Sanchez's seventeen letters to her American friend Nora Peters. Subsequently, daily and nightly research on Celia (including Cuban and U. S. archives) since the 1980s confirmed her opinions regarding Nixon, the Dulles brothers, etc., and her opinions of others -- including President John Kennedy and VP and President George H. W. Bush, who happened to be CIA director on October 6-1976 when the Cuban civilian airplane was bombed out of the sky, markedly inflaming Celia's already volatile mind when it came to Batistiano and CIA terrorists. Shortly, she and later history blamed Cuban exiles Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch for the bombing and she (and history) tied both operatives closely to both Bush and the CIA. Later I will post more on Celia's thoughts regarding JFK and GHWB, such as an exchange of extremely positive cables between Celia and JFK the week before JFK was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22-1963. To not understand Celia Sanchez is to not understand the U. S. - Cuban conundrum from the 1950s to the present day. Indeed, it was long, long ago when she declared: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." Practically no one believed that proclamation when she first uttered it many decades ago, but they believe it now. So, what did she predict after (the now 85-year-old) Fidel dies? She had some thoughts on that epic proposition, too, back when she was a sickly 59 and he was still a robust 54 and about to permanently give up his famed Cuban cigars. I'll discuss her thoughts on that dicey topic in a later and braver posting...braver because by 1980 Celia had also formed some dire perceptions of George H. W. Bush, who entered her life robustly in 1976 as America's CIA director, the year the civilian Cuban airplane was bombed out of the sky, the monumental event most Americans know little about but the event that prompted Celia Sanchez to deeply regret the removal of the nuclear missiles from Cuban soil. By the way, one reason it has been politically, socially, and healthfully incorrect for Americans to know much about the 1976 terrorist bombing of the Cuban airplane is the simple fact that Emilio Milan, a popular Cuban-exile newscaster in Miami, was car-bombed after he stated in a newscast that Cuban exiles should cease terrorist acts against innocent people and also stop using the media to brag about such things. That and similar incidents sent messages that are heeded to this day, reminding one of Celia Sanchez's lament about the losers in the Cuban Revolution being the ones mostly writing its history and, amazingly, reaping the financial and political windfalls by reconstituting the Batista dictatorship in Cuba to U. S. soil where a fading democracy, still the hallmark of the richest and strongest nation in the world, seems utterly incapable of protecting itself from within its own borders.
       Celia Sanchez. Without her, there would have been no viable Cuban Revolution. Without her, there would never have been a Revolutionary Cuba. Without her, the Batistianos and the Mafia would still be in charge of Havana, not Miami. And without her, the United States could still be saying, "No U. S.-backed dictatorship has ever been overthrown by a popular revolution" and "No overthrown U. S.-backed dictatorship ever reconstituted itself on U. S. soil."  So, yes! The 99-pound doctor's daughter from the little Cuban town of Media Luna was and is a gigantic historic figure, albeit one that the powers-that-be in Miami and Washington prefer that you know nothing about.  
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cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story)

cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story) : Note : This particular essay on  Ana Margarita Martinez  was first ...