Monday, August 6, 2012

New Evidence of Celia Sanchez's Cuban Greatness

Long Live the Legend of La Paloma
       A 99-pound doctor's daughter named Celia Sanchez (above, right) was the greatest guerrilla fighter in the revolutionary war that overthrew the U. S. - backed dictator Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959. Modest and shy, it was fine with her but unfair to history that Cuba's revolutionary enemies, who fled to the U. S. and then dictated most of what has been reported about that epochal event, dismiss her incomparable significance because, to be truthful, it is a bit easier to conveniently vilify macho men such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara than it is to denounce a tiny female who, except when it came to Batistianos and Mafiosos, was an angelic, peace-loving, child-nurturing citizen of eastern Cuba. The rebels nicknamed her La Paloma [The Dove]. 
        After the triumph of the revolution, the brilliant and always studious Celia Sanchez (studying above) made all the major decisions in Revolutionary Cuba, enabling Fidel Castro to often just kick off his slippers and relax in his rocking chair (as he's doing above). His primary role was to fully support any decision she rendered, a role he performed resolutely for many years against impeccable, almost impossible, odds. 
     Highly respected Cuban insiders, such as Roberto Salas (above), well know that Celia Sanchez was the most important figure in the Cuban Revolution and in Revolutionary Cuba. Salas is a world-famed photographer who has known Fidel Castro intimately from 1955 till today and also knew Celia Sanchez intimately. With nothing at all to gain from convenient lies, Salas wrote in his book "The Pictorial History of the Cuban Revolution: "Celia Sanchez made all the decisions for Cuba, the big ones and the small ones. When she died of cancer in 1980, we all knew no one could ever replace her." [Such pertinent, insightful quotations are generally conveniently ignored in the U. S.]
         Marta Rojas (above) has known Fidel Castro intimately since 1953 and, of course, she knew Celia Sanchez intimately. Marta is an internationally respected journalist/author/historian. When I was in Cuba in 2004 researching my biography of Celia Sanchez, Marta for sure was the first person I (like many others interested in Cuban history) sought out. When I returned to the U. S., Marta helped me with emails that included attachments of data such as copies of hand-written notes exchanged between Celia Sanchez and Fidel Castro. In one of those still firmly secured emails, Marta wrote in 2005: "Since Celia died of cancer in 1980, Fidel has continued to rule Cuba only as he precisely believes Celia would want him to rule it." There is no need for Marta, still a sweet and beautiful lady, to conveniently lie about Celia Sanchez.
   And how much of a Cuban insider is the great journalist/author/historian Marta Rojas? The above photo shows Marta as a young journalist in December of 1959 introducing Fidel Castro for his very first television address to the nation. If you want to learn about Celia Sanchez, Marta and Roberto Salas are your starting points followed by Fidel Castro although, as U. S. journalists Barbara Walters and Dan Rather discovered, he will to this day not speak a single word about Celia Sanchez except to intimates that he knows loved her as much as he did and still does. And so, with that background and after establishing Marta Rojas as the greatest living expert on Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, I'll explain today's fresh reminder of Celia Sanchez's incomparable significance and monumental greatness..............
        It relates to Carlos Franqui (above), the famed Cuban writer, journalist, broadcaster, author and historian. As a fervent opponent of the murderous Batista-Mafia dictatorship, Franqui was one of the most important early supporters of the fledgling anti-Batista revolutionary Fidel Castro. Franqui was in the Sierra Maestra with the guerrilla fighters and he was a pro-Castro, anti-Batista broadcaster on Radio Rebelde (Rebel Radio). When the rebels triumphed on January 1, 1959, Franqui was put in charge of the island's main newspaper, Revolucian. But later, Franqui opposed the revolution and left the island, never to return. He died on April 16, 2010 at age 88 at his home in his adopted country, Puerto Rico.
  In the halcyon early days of Revolutionary Cuba, Carlos Franqui (in the center above) was usually at Fidel's side, and Franqui probably wrote the notes that Fidel is referencing above.
       Carlos Franqui wrote the first insider book (above) about Fidel's family and his plans for Cuba.  
      Carlos Franqui's most famous book was/is "The Twelve" about the twelve most famous rebels -- the Castro brothers Fidel and Raul, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, etc. -- who landed on the yacht Granma in December of 1956, along with 69 other rebels, to join the Celia Sanchez/Frank Pais-led guerrilla fighting in the Sierra Maestra area of southeastern Cuba. But a Batista helicopter had spotted the arrival from Mexico and the old, over-crowded yacht was sinking. The 82 rebels had to debark fifteen miles from where Celia waited with a guerrilla unit that could have protected them, and an alerted Batista army ambushed them. All but 17 of the rebels died in the water or on the shore but Celia Sanchez rushed to the scene and, in the course of the next several days, bravely fought off Batista soldiers to rescue the twelve  soon-to-become famous men that Franqui wrote about. In his book, Franqui used a famous Celia Sanchez quotation that other great writers -- including Castro's seminal biographer Georgie Anne Geyer -- have used, and it is  Celia's definitive depiction of the landing: "If they had debarked right on the beach instead of at the swamp, they would have found trucks, jeeps, gasoline. It would have been a walkaway." Later in an article for Revista Magazine the oft-quoted Franqui wrote: "Truth be known, Celia Sanchez saved both Fidel and Che at the Granma landing. If not, few outside of Cuba would ever have heard about Fidel except as the failed attacker of Batista's Moncada barracks in 1953 or maybe as a top lawyer in Santiago de Cuba. And no one would have known Che except maybe as a doctor in Argentina. Later, many times Celia saved Fidel from his inclinations that would have ended his leadership of Cuba. Without her, both Fidel and Che would have been at best minor footnotes, not major figures in the annals of history. And you know what? Few people know about Celia Sanchez and that was the way she wanted it. But I knew her, worked with her. Fidel could not have won without her and he could not have lasted more than three years as leader of Cuba without her." 
        And so, the words of Carlos Franqui are instrumental to any understanding of Celia Sanchez and Fidel Castro. He worked closely beside them and later opposed them. Franqui accompanied Fidel and Celia on their 12-day, Richard Nixon-marred visited to the United States in April of 1959 when all three of them hoped to establish friendly relations with the U. S. and, undoubtedly, would have except for Nixon's seething right-wing belligerency as you will see later in this pictorial essay. While vindictive to a degree in his latter years, Franqui had no reason to lie when he discussed the historical aspects that he lived. That's why a communication I received today caught my attention: "Mr. Haney, I have become aware of your admiration of the Cuban revolutionary Celia Sanchez. I am a teacher of History and English in Puerto Rico. In that capacity, in grading a theme paper on Carlos Franqui, I became aware of a written communication between Mr. Franqui and Ms. Sanchez. I thought it supported your views of her acuity, motivations, and visions. After he defected from Cuba, apparently Mr. Franqui stayed in touch with her and maybe critiqued her dominant role in post-Batista Cuba. It seems Mr. Franqui scribbled a date -- April 6, '67 -- on the hand-written note from Ms. Sanchez. I include that note in Spanish as she wrote it and I would appreciate hearing back from you regarding how you feel about its tone and significance."
The note, first in Spanish and then English
   "La verdad es que el primera victima de la dictadura. Siga una perdida de libertad, robo y brutalidad. Luego, con sverte, una exitosa revolution. Eso es lo que sucedio en Cuba para hacer nuestra revolucion necesaria. Si mentir, robar e, intimidar a la gente, nos producira una chispa tarnbien una revolution necesaria. Sigo diciendo a Fidal que."
    "Truth is the first casualty of a dictatorship. A loss of freedom, thievery, and brutality follow. Then, hopefully, a successful revolution. That's what happened in Cuba to make our revolution necessary. If we are liars and thieves and brutalize the people, we will also spark a revolution. I keep telling Fidel that."
          I appreciate the revelation from my friend in Puerto Rico. Regarding the "tone" Celia expressed, it is consistent with what I know of her motivations, her visions, and her extraordinary relationship with Fidel Castro. I also believe the note is highly "significant" because she and the Cuban Revolution remain highly significant.
      Celia Sanchez's transition from an angelic doctor's daughter to a fierce guerrilla fighter was on behalf of Cuban girls, like the one above, whom she considered the most brutalized victims during the Batista dictatorship. Celia's first underground anti-Batista activity emerged slowly and was spawned when she learned that Mafia-run casinos were capturing Cuban peasant girls as young as ten so they could be used to entice wealthy pedophiles to the island to rape and to gamble. A little girl that Celia loved, Maria Ochoa, became one such victim. Maria's fate, not the release of Fidel Castro from a Batista prison, thus became the biggest mistake Batista, the Mafia, and the United States ever made on the island of Cuba.
      You see, Celia Sanchez wanted the world to know that little Cuban girls, like other little girls, cried real tears and shed real blood. Celia was at Jose Marti Airport in Havana on Oct. 6, 1976, when the photo above was taken. That little Cuban girl had just been told her father was not coming back because...he had been aboard Cubana Flight 455. Even back during the revolutionary war Celia had valuable contacts in the U. S. government -- including the CIA, FBI, the State Department, and the military -- that volunteered information to her, apparently because such U. S. insiders were not pleased with the self-serving manner their superiors treated Cuba. Using those contacts, by October 10th, 1976, Celia officially blamed notorious CIA-trained Cuban-exile stalwarts Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch for the bombing of Cubana Flight 455. But that revelation didn't bring back the father of the little girl pictured above or the other 72 passengers. 
     Cuba's highly regarded historian, Pedro Alvarez Tabio (above) wrote: "If Batista had managed to kill Celia Sanchez anytime between 1953 and 1957 there would have been no viable Cuban Revolution, and no revolution for Fidel and Che to join."
      As a guerrilla fighter and leader as well as the revolution's primary recruiter of rebels, money, and supplies, if there had never been a Celia Sanchez the Batistianos and the Mafia would probably still be in control of Cuba. She is shown above in August of 1957, binoculars in hand, monitoring the movements of a Batista army in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra mountains. 
         In April of 1959, less than four months after she had taken off her victorious rebel uniform, Celia Sanchez, as the prime decision-maker in Revolutionary Cuba, took Fidel Castro on a twelve-day trip to the United States. [The above photo of Celia in the lobby of a New York City hotel was taken by Andrew St. George and is copyrighted by Yale University]She was very aware of the U. S. support of Batista and the Mafia in Cuba but, for Cuba's sake, she direly wanted peaceful relations with the world's superpower that happened to be a neighbor. The U. S. State Department had promised her that President Eisenhower would meet with Fidel, who now was a major hero in both countries. In her hand in the above photo Celia is holding that week's copy of Newsweek Magazine that had a photo of Fidel on its cover above the caption "Hero!" Celia had instructed Fidel to tell President Eisenhower that Cuba would hold honest elections within four months and that the U. S. could closely monitor those elections to make sure they were "fully open and honest." When the State Department said, "But Fidel will get 95% of any honest vote and we might not like that," Celia replied, "Fidel will not run. He wants to be a lawyer on the other end of the island, Santiago de Cuba." The negotiations ended there with that promise to Celia and her promises to the State Department. She intended to keep her promises. But the State Department blatantly lied to her, a lie she would not forget and one that would alter the course of history. 
       The indecent (as later revealed) Vice President Richard Nixon arranged for the decent but malleable old President, Dwight Eisenhower, to hastily fly to Georgia to play golf so Nixon could host Fidel Castro. In the doorway above, Nixon unfairly and self-servingly accused Fidel of being "a Commie" and advised Fidel that he would be overthrown "within three months." Note the expression on Fidel's face as he listens to Nixon. Incredulous? I think so. Later, Nixon would know so.
       On the flight back to Cuba from the U. S., Fidel [above] read a book about Mount Vernon, which is George Washington's Virginia estate. He left the more topical and more serious Richard Nixon business up to Celia Sanchez, and she didn't prepare by reading up on George Washington.
       Back in Havana, a distraught Celia Sanchez uttered a retort to Nixon that would become her all-time most pertinent quotation: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." Three known times in front of the media -- 1959, 1969, and 1976 -- Celia uttered those words. Apparently she meant them. Though she died of cancer at age 59 on January 11, 1980, Fidel Castro at age 86 in 2012 is still alive. And so is her proclamation. The Batistianos, despite incredible support from the richest and strongest nation in history, have never...regained...control...of Cuba. It was Nixon's boast to Fidel that made Celia forget about the "free and honest" election in Cuba. She and Fidel, along with Camilo Cienfuegos, had argued in the Sierra and later in Havana with Raul Castro, Vilma Espin, and Che Guevara, all of whom had some Communist leanings. Celia, Fidel, and Camilo always won those arguments. But after the Nixon-marred trip to the U. S., Celia was sure of just one thing: Whatever it took, the Batistianos and the Mafia would never regain control of Cuba, at least as long as she lived or as long as Fidel lived.
      In April of 1961, after the CIA assured President Kennedy that "Castro will run to his getaway airplane when he hears our bombers overhead," the U. S. and the Cuban exiles from the Batista regime attacked Cuba by first bombing its three military airfields, two on the edge of Havana in the West and one near Santiago de Cuba in the East. Fidel, as usual, was spending that night in Celia's 11th Street Apartment where they indeed heard the bombing. But the CIA had confused Fidel with Batista, who had a "getaway airplane" and used it on the morning of January 1, 1959. But Fidel raced to the Bay of Pigs where he had guessed the ground attack would commence. He guessed right. After leading the defense of Cuba from the front lines (above), Fidel's international reputation became indelible and everlasting. So, as with countless failed assassination attempts, the failure of the U. S./CIA military attack only enhanced the legend and the legacy of Fidel Castro all around the world, including Moscow.
       On April 30, 1961 -- after the Nixon double-cross and after the Bay of Pigs military attack on Cuba -- Celia Sanchez sat down and wrote a cable to Russian Deputy Premier Anatas Mikoyan. He had earlier visited Havana to sign a key economic bill with Cuba and during his three days on the island he became smitten with Celia Sanchez, noting that Fidel agreed to nothing without consulting her. Mikoyan nicknamed her "Spanish Eyes" and at the airport prior to his departure he gave her a card that included his private phone and cable numbers. Celia knew about the Cold War and the two superpowers that had nuclear missiles. One superpower had just signed a much-needed economic package with Cuba; the other had just attacked it at the Bay of Pigs after cowardly bombing all three of Cuba's military airports. Moreover, she knew Mikoyan was infatuated with her. In her cable she made the case for Russia to install nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba to offset U. S. missiles aimed at Russia from Turkey. She signed the cable "Spanish Eyes." Mikoyan had received the cable in Moscow and discussed it with Premier Nikita Khrushchev before Celia told Fidel she had sent it. Fidel was so furious that he kicked and broke a leg of the table in the kitchen of Celia's 11th Street Apartment. But as always, within minutes he had become the biggest supporter of Celia's grandiose decision, one that history registers as the Cuban Missile Crisis during eight days in October of 1962, still considered the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear holocaust. Celia never regretted her decision, believing it was forced upon her by a foreign power seeking to enslave and brutalize the island, the island she called "mi Cubita bella" ("my beautiful little Cuba"). Celia Sanchez and the world survived the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis but..............
         In 1962 the U. S. imposed a stifling embargo against Cuba, one that a half-century later is still in effect although the rest of the world strongly opposes it and history has already recorded it as the longest and cruelest embargo ever imposed by a strong nation against a weaker one. For all these decades, within the bowels of the world's strongest democracy, a mere handful of the most vindictive Cuban exiles have been strong enough politically and economically to dictate the shameful embargo. A declassified document now posted on the U. S. National Archive website reveals that the 1962 purpose of the embargo was to create "hunger" on the island so severe that it would spawn an internal overthrow of the Castro government.
     In the decades after 1962 -- after such efforts as the Bay of Pigs attack, countless assassination attempts, and the embargo failed to eliminate Fidel Castro -- many innocent Cubans on the island have been the victims of countless terrorist attacks. The above photo shows Nancy Pavon making a recent speech at an anti-terrorist meeting in the coastal town of Boca de Sami. Nancy has one leg. The other one was blown off when she was 15-years-old on October 12, 1971 when two speed boats armed with cannon-fire attacked her family's fishing cabin, killing two people, slicing off Nancy's leg and wounding her younger sister who was sleeping beside her. That particular attack had a nexus with Miami because the terrorists phoned ahead to ask the media to cover their triumphant return to the dock. 
       The most famous and most infamous terrorist attack against innocent Cubans relates to the bombing of child-laden Cubana Flight 455 on October 6, 1976.  Dozens of teenage Cuban athletes and the 7-year-old daughter of a coach were among the 73 murdered passengers. The actual plane is shown above shortly before the bombing. The three most famed quotes attributed to the bombers still resonate in Cuba today: (1) "There were no innocents on that plane;" (2) "It's the biggest blow yet against Castro;" and (3) "73 dogs just went over the cliff." The first two quotes were published in the U. S. media and attributed to the two most famed anti-Castro/CIA terrorists; they felt protected on U. S. soil in the Cuban-exile  enclave of Miami. The third quote, revealed by the U. S. government, was cabled by the two terrorists who admitted placing the bombs aboard the plane to the terrorists who masterminded the act. This first terrorist bombing of a civilian airplane is barely known in the U. S. to this day and surely is not mentioned in American school books. That reflects the fact that the most radical Cuban exiles control the media as well as the U. S. government when it comes to Cuba. And to the embarrassment of America's best friends around the world, the  best known alleged bomber to this day receives acclaim and protection in Miami from eager Latin American courts still longing to try him because of Cubana Flight 455. The other well known alleged bomber received a pardon from President George H. W. Bush and then lived freely and protected in Miami for many years before he died of old age. Training, harboring, and protecting such notable terrorists has severely hurt the image of the U. S. democracy around the world.
       The above photo shows Orlando Bosch [on the leftand Luis Posada Carriles as free, heralded, and well protected men on the streets of Miami, much to the chagrin of the rest of the world. Bosch was born in Cuba the same month and year -- August of 1926 -- that Fidel Castro was born. Bosch died in Miami of old age in April of 2011. Posada was born in Cuba on February 15, 1928 and, after amazingly being freed twice from Latin American prisons by his friends in Miami, still lives free, heralded, and well protected in Miami.
      The above de-classified U. S. government document is among the numerous items that directly point to CIA-trained Cuban-exiles Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch as the "engineers" of the Cubana Flight 455 bombing.  Posada and Bosch openly bragged about four decades of anti-Castro terrorism. Note the parts of the redacted material above but also note the sentence: "The source all but admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airplane..." Also note the last sentence: "From statements of (name redacted) it appears almost certain that the (several words redacted) was privy to the activities of Posada and..." Most journalists and historians believe that the "several words redacted" in the last de-classified U. S. sentence above are: "The Director of the CIA" or "the CIA Director."
      The Director of the CIA on October 6, 1976 -- the day Cubana Flight 455 was bombed from the sky -- was George H. W. Bush. Prior to that appointment, then during his CIA directorship, and later as a two-term Vice President and one-term President Mr. Bush was and is well known for his support of the most radical anti-Castro Cuban exiles, including a Who's Who of the richest and most powerful Cuban exiles that even include Bosch and Posada.
        Robert Parry (above) is surely one of America's all-time most respected investigative journalists. He has spent the better part of two decades reporting on anti-Castro Cuban-exile terrorism and begging the senior Mr. Bush and his top aides for access to Mr. Bush to discuss that topic. His efforts for Mr. Bush to even reply in writing to his questions have all been in vain.
      Meanwhile, the ongoing political and financial Bush dynasty has produced a CIA Director, a two-term Vice President, a one-term president, a two-term President, a two-term Governor of Texas, and a two-term Governor of Florida. And all along the way the Bush dynasty has been tightly tied to the most radical, the most powerful, and the richest Cuban exiles. And it's ongoing because Jeb plans a 2016 bid for the presidency (he hopes Romney loses to Obama this year) and his son, George P. Bush, is a recent law school grad with dire political ambitions. 
         The first generation of the most radical anti-Castro Cuban exiles included Jorge Mas Canosa (in the center above) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (receiving the gift of a pen that George H. W. Bush used to sign anti-Cuban legislation) and all were anointed by Mr. Bush. During the Reagan-Bush administration Mr. Canosa became the undisputed leader of the Cuban-Government-in-Exile and, according to many Cuban watchers, was largely responsible for the extremely punitive anti-Cuban Torricelli Bill and Helms-Burton Act, both of which remain U. S. law to the utter consternation of all other governments around the world because they dictate incredibly harsh orders to them too! 
       The Bush-anointed Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, since the death of Jorge Mas Canosa, has been the undisputed leader of the Cuban-Government-in-Exile. She is also an ultra-powerful member of the U. S. Congress and has been since 1989 when Jeb Bush was her Campaign Manager and she was elected via a highly controversial campaign in Miami. Her longevity in the U. S. Congress now has her as the Chairwoman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Cuba, unfortunately, is a foreign country. 
       Mitt Romney, in his Republican bid for the presidency, will release every tax form he ever filed before he will remotely attempt to rein in the most anti-Castro hardliners. Romney is shown above with Havana-born U. S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers Lincoln and Mario who, uh, happen to be the rich and ultra-powerful sons of Rafael Diaz-Balart, a former key and very rich minister in Cuba's Batista dictatorship. 
       So, as you can see, the odds against Celia Sanchez's amazing proclamation, first uttered in 1959, actually coming to fulfillment or fruition was at least a million to one. But she beat such odds all her life. Thus, as she proclaimed, the ultra-powerful Batistianos, backed by the world's only superpower, still have not "regained control of Cuba" because, although she died in 1980, Fidel Castro still lives and therefore so does her proclamation.
      However, Celia's old revolutionary buddy turns 86 in August and, since July-2006, he has been very unwell. When he dies, one can wonder what Celia would think...about his longevity and about her proclamation. I believe she would still  cherish her proclamation for its longevity and I base that assumption on something she once told Marta Rojas: "I will die and so, one day, will Fidel. Things will change then. So will Cuba."
      And, for sure, Celia Sanchez would be proud that Christina Kirchner, the elected and re-elected President of Argentina, considers Fidel "My dear friend and my inspiration."
      And Celia Sanchez would be proud that India's Dr. Manmohan Singh, the revered democratically elected leader of the world's biggest democracy, considers "Fidel Castro the most important historical figure I will ever meet."
     And Celia Sanchez would be proud that the Colombian-born Gabriel Garcia Marquez, considered the greatest writer/author in Latin America's history, has said, "Fidel is my best friend. I've known him since Mercedes and I got married in 1958."
       Gabriel Garcia Marquez's famous nickname is "Gabo." He and Fidel Castro co-authored the above book.
    Dilma Rousseff is the President of Latin America's only superpower, Brazil. Celia Sanchez would be very proud that President Rousseff considers Fidel Castro "My dear friend and my inspiration."
       Inspired by the Cuban Revolution, as a young woman in the late 1960s Dilma Rousseff first marched against (she's 3rd from the left in the above photo) a U. S. - backed dictatorship. Later as a guerrilla fighter she was captured, tortured, and spent three years in a military prison, one more year than her idol Fidel spent in a Batista prison.
     The above 1970 photo shows Dilma Rousseff in the Brazilian courtroom as the military dictatorship sentenced her to prison, where she was tortured for three years.
        The above 2012 photo shows Dilma Rousseff reacting to the news that her approval rating as the President of Brazil was a resounding 75.3%! 
         The other world leaders now kiss-up to (or down as the case may be) to the ultra-powerful President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.
       By the way, above is Dilma Rousseff's mug shot after she was captured when she became a revolutionary fighter against a Brazilian dictatorship. Torture and three years of imprisonment followed. She has, uh, come a rather long way since democracy weaved its way into Brazil and much of the rest of Latin America, pushing aside foreign-backed dictators.
         Above is how Dilma Rousseff looks today as President of Brazil, which is by far Latin America's biggest, richest, and most powerful country. When she visited Fidel earlier this year in Havana, he handed her a copy of his new autobiography and said, "If I stirred just an ember of the revolutionary fire in you, you are my biggest success story. And think for a moment -- as a leader of one of the world's greatest democracies!" They shared a good laugh and a long hug after that comment.
       And, by the way, above you can see Fidel Castro's 1953 mug shots after he was captured following the ill-fated attack on Batista's Moncada Army Barracks. As historians Carlos Franqui, Pedro Alvarez Tabio and others have stated, Fidel never won a battle until he got out of Batista's prison and hooked up with Celia Sanchez. After that, he never lost another battle, except with health problems in his old age. 
         For all his long life Fidel Castro has, by the dictates of his own character, been surrounded by women but never by men. He dearly loves women and empathizes with them. He trusts women but not men. He dearly loved his peasant mother Lina but not his extremely wealthy father Angel. He is therefore much closer to the three women who have been elected Presidents of Latin American countries than to presidential men -- such as Hugo Chavez, Danny Ortega, Evo Morales, etc. -- who also famously garnered much of their revolutionary and political inspiration from him. But anyone who knows Fidel, including his still-living first wife Mirta and his current wife Dalia, understand fully that the one greatest love of his long life has been and always will be Celia Sanchez.
         The female-loving Fidel's favorite Hollywood actress was the red-haired Maureen O'Hara (above), who was born Maureen FitzSimons in Dublin, Ireland in 1920 and, at age 91 today, she could reminisce with the 86-year-old Fidel. In 1959 and 1960 many of the leading Hollywood actresses flew to Havana to meet and in some cases bed the newly crowned and very macho international revolutionary hero. Fidel, from his suite in the Havana Hilton, noticed O'Hara's red hair and then her yellow bathing suit as he gazed down at the swimming pool. He, uh, did not hide his love of that red hair and yellow bathing suit. 
      And shortly -- as befits an attractive, popular, and macho dictator -- Fidel hooked up with his favorite red head (above) after she had discarded the yellow bathing suit for a modest polka-dot dress. Study Fidel's eyes: "Wow! She's more beautiful up close!" And study Maureen O'Hara's penetrating gaze: "So this is the guerrilla fighter everybody is talking about!" On her bed in Room 332 at the Havana Hilton O'Hara had left that week's copy of Time Magazine, which told her all about the young revolutionary.
       When Fidel got his private invitation to Maureen O'Hara's hotel room, he smiled when he looked at the center of her bed and saw his portrait on the cover of Time looking back at him. In her notable lifetime Maureen O'Hara has married three times but she was not married when she visited Havana and discovered that Fidel Castro was infatuated with her red hair and that yellow bathing suit, causing her to react favorably...uh, almost! 
        In 1959 Errol Flynn and many other Hollywood notables were literally enchanted with how many gorgeous starlets were flying to Havana hoping to spend time with the world's new rebel hero. [Did Fidel make love to Ava Gardner? Yes. Did Fidel make love to Rita Hayworth? Rumors still insist that he did but it is unconfirmed? Did Fidel make love to Lisa Howard, the ABC-TV News Anchor? Yes, and that is confirmed to this day by Lisa's sister. Did the aging Errol Flynn offer his girlfriend and 17-year-old starlet Beverly Aadland to Fidel "on the night of your choosing?" Yes, but Celia Sanchez thwarted all such attempted unions. Did a beautiful female NY Times reporter, sent to Havana to interview Fidel, end up having sex with him and then writing about it? Yes. Did Georgie Anne Geyer, Fidel's seminal American biographer, reveal how Celia Sanchez often chased Hollywood starlets out of Fidel's hotel rooms? Yes. Did the CIA, among its many assassination attempts, once hire a young Hollywood beauty to poison Fidel and did she almost get away with it? Yes, the CIA did and she almost did. Did Fidel ever make love to Maureen O'Hara? No. But he loved redheads, especially Maureen and Rita. It is true that, looking down from a balcony, he saw Maureen poolside one day and afterward tried, but failed, to make a delicate connection because "concern for a reputation, hers and not his," intervened. However, he did have a private session in her hotel room but readily accepted her quietly murmured 'no' although a few years later when he watched Maureen starring in a John Ford movie he remembered her "no" was said reluctantly. Did Errol Flynn's fascination with Fidel's female guerrilla fighters induce him to write and produce a movie about their exploits? Yes. It was called "Cuban Rebel Girls." See the poster above. And thanks for asking. But...Fidel's real-life Cuban rebel girls carved out legends far beyond their feminine beauty and charms. So, permit me to return to that aspect. Okay? Uh, sure. Thank you. Demystifying Fidel will go on for decades but demystification should be truthful, just as the peeks at his love life that you have just been afforded were truthful.]
        Polish-born Tad Szulc [above] was one of the greatest experts on the Cuban Revolution. As a correspondent for the New York Times, Mr. Szulc [pronunced "Shultz"] was not believed at first when his correct prediction of the soon-to-be Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba appeared in the New York Times well prior to April, 1961. 
        Tad Szulc also wrote what many consider the all-time best biography of Fidel Castro [above]. In "Fidel: A Critical Portrait" Tad Szulc very correctly wrote these words: "Fidel's life has been predicated by an extraordinary contingent of beautiful and/or intelligent women who, in effect, dedicated their lives to him and his cause -- and without whom he would not have succeeded." Indeed, Fidel seduces women like a mistress seduces men. Cradled in that fact is the understanding of how he has straddled so many minefields for so many decades. Without what Tad Szulc called "an extraordinary contingent of beautiful and/or intelligent women," Fidel Castro would never have spent a single day as the leader of Cuba.
       Without brilliant, brave, and fiercely determined women behind him and often in front of him or beside him, Fidel Castro would have had zero chances to defeat the U. S. - backed and Mafia-aligned Batista dictatorship in Cuba and then maintain control of the island for decades thereafter. The three most important of those feminine warriors are pictured above: Celia Sanchez in the middle flanked by Vilma Espin on the left and Haydee Santamaria on the right.
          But there were many, many more -- such as General Tete Puebla (above). If you read Tete's biography -- "Tete Puebla and the Mariana Grajales Brigade" -- you'll discover why, by age 15, Tete had already become a legendary guerrilla fighter in the Sierra Maestra. Her inspiration: Batista's anti-dissident army, the Masferrer Tigers, came to her village and, as a warning not to resist the Batista-Mafia dictatorship, literally burned some of Tete's relatives alive in locked, gas-soaked gunny sacks and sheds. Batista and the Masferrer Tigers turned Tete Puebla from a passive teenage girl into a fierce teenage guerrilla fighter that the Batista soldiers came to fear, with good reason, in the Sierra. Watching young relatives being burned alive for no reason other than to send a warning to the populace can have that effect on a young girl.
         Today Tete Puebla is a General in the Cuban Army, with a memory as strong as ever when it comes to the Masferrer Tigers and the Batista-Mafia dictatorship. The photo above was taken in 2005 and shows Vilma Espin looking on as Fidel Castro pins another medal to General Tete Puebla's chest.
       The above photo reflects one of the most significant nuances of the Cuban Revolution, and one of the most conveniently ignored truths regarding its impact on the United States. It depicts three key ministers in the Batista dictatorship holding a political rally in 1958. The three men are Rafael Diaz-Balart flanked by the infamous Masferrer brothers, the leaders and executioners of the Masferrer Tigers that tormented so many innocent Cubans, including Tete Puebla's village, on behalf of the Batista dictatorship. All three of these men, reportedly with many millions of dollars in their possessions and other loot sent ahead to banks, fled the victorious Cuban Revolution and quickly formed the first anti-Castro paramilitary units that began operating freely and unchecked in Florida. Rafael Diaz-Balart, later listed as a billionaire in South Florida and Spain, called his Florida military unit The White Rose. Two of his sons -- Lincoln, born in Havana, and Mario, born in Miami -- ended up entrenched in the U. S. Congress from Batistiano-controlled Miami. Interestingly enough, two generations of Diaz-Balarts and other anti-Castro zealots, generally without any contradiction from unbiased sources in the U. S., have incessantly told the world that Fidel Castro has been, since 1959, a brutal tyrant hated by everyone on the island. The inference, of course, is that those who preceded him -- Batista, the Mafia, the Masferrer Tigers, etc. -- were sweet, Mother Teresa-type rulers massively loved by everyone in Cuba.
     The above photo shows Lincoln Diaz-Balart [left] with his brother Mario Diaz-Balart representing the second generation of viscerally anti-Castro Cuban exiles that dictate the U. S. government's visceral anti-Castro Cuban policy. Lincoln recently resigned his entrenched seat in the U. S. Congress to create, in honor of his late father Rafael, another anti-Castro entity also called, incredibly, The White Rose
       Also incredibly, Mirta Diaz-Balart is the sister of the late Rafael Diaz-Balart, meaning she is the aunt of Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart. That is Mirta in 1948 the day after she married...Fidel Castro! [Now tell me with a straight face that the Cuban Revolution is not the most fascinating revolution in history!]
          Above is the official photograph of Mirta Diaz-Balart and Fidel Castro on their wedding day in 1948. Mirta made sure he was clean-shaven.
        Mirta Diaz-Balart is the mother of the first of Fidel's eight sons [see photo above]. Fidel divorced Mirta in 1955 when he learned, while in Batista's prison, that her brother Rafael was working for the Batista dictatorship. Today all eight of Fidel's sons live modestly in Cuba and are extremely loyal to their father. Mirta now lives in Spain but frequently flies to Cuba to see her son, a nuclear scientist, and to see Fidel, whom she still loves. [Seriously, is the Cuban Revolution fascinating, or not?]  
         Beyond any shadow of any doubt, the vastly out-gunned and out-manned Fidel Castro had to out-smart Batista and his legions of powerful supporters in order to have a smidgen of a chance to overthrow a U. S. - backed dictatorship. Unlike the Batista crowd, Fidel had indelible knowledge of Mariana Grajales (that's her in the above portrait). She and her two famous sons gave their lives in rebel wars trying to overcome the foreign dominance of the thieving and brutal Spanish rule. Mariana's efforts, though they failed, inspired a young Fidel Castro. In the Sierra Maestra, he created the all-female Mariana Grajales Brigade that time and time again out-fought larger and better armed Batista soldiers, the brigade that the teenage Tete Puebla helped make famous. As Cuban historians such as Terrance Cannon and J. A. Sierra have pointed out, the Batista dictatorship not only displayed utter disrespect to females but brutalized them and, indeed, only considered females worthy to be prostitutes in the Mafia casino/hotels. Fidel noticed this and he later explained his creation of the Mariana Grajales Brigade and the inclusion of women in all of his revolutionary endeavors this way: "I always knew, to stand a chance, we had to take advantage of the 50% of our people that the Batista bosses had inspired by being cruel to them and their children. The women. It turned out they became the best and smartest fighters and government workers."  Over the course of the past six decades, a lot of people have given a lot of reasons for the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, and most of them have overlooked the prime reason, which is this: Fidel Castro from the outset and in sharp contrast to the hated Batista dictatorship respected women and he was smart enough and perhaps decent enough to utilize their visceral hatred of the Batista regime to his advantage.  
     The Cuban Revolution gained its initial steam when massively inspired Cuban women bravely took to the streets to protest the extreme cruelty of the Batista dictatorship. The march shown above brought  the grieving mother of 15-year-old Willie Soler and 500 other women into the streets to protest the gruesome murders of little Willie and three of his classmates, with their bodies left in an abandoned warehouse as a warning against dissent of any kind. After his failed attempt in the Moncada attack, Fidel was helpless in a Batista prison from 1953 to 1955 but such protests as this forced the U. S. to pressure Batista to free the 26 de Julio (July 26) hero. Batista agreed to Fidel's amnesty only because he then could put a murder detail on his trail and get rid of him out of sight of monitoring journalists such as Cuba's own Marta Rojas and the New York Times' Herbert L. Mathews who frequented the prison to prevent his being tortured and assassinated. But after the amnesty, Fidel eluded the death squads thanks to safe-houses provided by rich Cuban women like Naty. The rest is history. 
     Naty Revuelta [above] remains a very interesting and important  player in the Fidel Castro historical saga and rates high up on the pantheon of his female followers. In 1950s Cuba she was married to a very rich, Batista-connected doctor and was considered the most beautiful socialite in Havana. But she helped finance Fidel's July 26-1953 attack on Batista's Moncada Army Barracks. During his two years in prison she worked tirelessly to protect and then free him, clandestinely  using photos of murdered Cuban children to remind the U. S. government of the Batista brutality. That helped induce the U. S. to persuade Batista, in a gesture of goodwill to both the majority peasants and the well-heeled Fidel fans, to grant an amnesty that indeed freed Fidel, albeit with a Batista death squad on his trail.
        The above photo shows how beautiful Naty Revuelta was in 1950s Cuba when she was married to the wealthy Dr. Fernandez and when she became a huge fan of the anti-Batista rebel Fidel Castro. 
       The photo above shows Fidel [on the right] actually leaving that Batista prison in 1955 with some of his jubilant friends. Then in her safe-house Fidel impregnated Naty.
       Fidel's and Naty's daughter is named Alina. Shortly after the above photo was taken, Alina sneaked off the island and ended up first in Spain and later in the United States. She took with her and then sold to a Spanish publishing house intimate love letters that Fidel had written Naty while he was in prison, greatly embarrassing both her father and mother. After settling in Miami, Alina soon joined the huge cottage industry in the U. S. that, since 1959, has made huge sums of money merely by being viscerally Anti-Castro! And Alina for decades has been viscerally anti-Castro -- via books, her own radio and television  shows in Miami, and especially by constant anti-Castro speeches on college campuses across America, reportedly at upwards of $7,000 per speech plus expenses. 
        The above photo shows Alina making a lucrative anti-Castro lecture at one of her many college and university ventures.
      And Alina also has lucrative anti-Castro radio and television venues in Miami, making her a full-fledged member of a very wealthy anti-Castro faction in the United States. As far as is known Fidel has never said an unkind word about Alina. Her mother, Naty, still loves Fidel dearly, as do all eight of his sons. Alina has told the world that she hates her father because of what he has done to Cuba. If you ask knowledgeable people on the island, as I have done, you will invariably be told that Alina's "hatred" of her father is based on greed, her thirst for money combined with the fact that her father steadfastly would not shower her or her boyfriends with luxury items. [Fidel Castro also has never showered his sons nor himself with luxury items in contrast to the way his enemies portray him in the U. S. To this day the home he lives in with his wife Dalia and one of their five sons, Alexander, is extremely modest by U. S. standards and the only expensive household item is a television set although there is a swimming pool for his grand-children.]
        Fidel's father Angel Castro was so rich he owned his own train and railroad tracks that traversed the 36,000 productive acres he owned near the city of Biran in southeastern Cuba. When Fidel inherited $80,000 when he turned twenty-one he quickly gave all the money away to peasant women. Then when he and Mirta honeymooned in Miami and New York City, Fidel famously had to borrow money so they could return to Cuba. It is well-known, even by leading dissidents in Cuba, that Fidel has never had any interest in money or wealth. Yet, in the U. S. to help fuel the anti-Castro fervor, justification for such things as the embargo has always revolved around recapturing Cuba and reminding Americans that dealing with Cuba only "puts money in Castro's pockets."  
         Haydee Santamaria and Melba Hernandez were the two women who fought alongside Fidel in the Moncada attack; like him they were captured (photo above) and then kept alive only because the Batista tactic was to first use torture to make such prisoners reveal the names of others in the rebel underground. Haydee was tied to a chair and forced to listen as her brother and fiance were murdered in an adjoining cell; then their still warm testicles and eyeballs were rubbed over her face and chest. Still, neither Haydee nor the still-living Melba ever revealed a name of any other rebel. The Batista enforcers were particularly cruel to women like Haydee and Melba.
    Fidel Castro, on the other hand, was extremely compassionate to women like Melba and Haydee. When the amnesty in May of 1955 released them from prison, Fidel's first move was to seek out and comfort Melba and Haydee as the above photo shows.  That's Haydee on his left and Melba on his right the day of their release. Both women recovered from their ordeals and then devoted their lives to Fidel's cause -- getting rid of Batista and keeping the Batistianos and the Mafia off the island. Historians have debated whether Fidel's loving, respectful treatment of women as opposed to Batista's brutal, disrespectful treatment of women was because Fidel was simply a nicer man or a smarter man than Batista? The answer is surely one or the other...or both...and if there was a different answer Fidel would have been yesterday's toast decades ago.
          Melba Hernandez [abovestill lives in Cuba and has spent a long life devoted to caring for children on the island and in other countries. In the 1950s, when some of her female relatives were victims of Batista's cruelty, she teamed with Fidel and Haydee to both plan and participate in the Moncada attack on July 26, 1953. Then, like Haydee, she was unmercifully tortured in a Batista prison for two years. Ask her how and why Fidel triumphed. Was it because he was nicer or smarter when it came to his vastly kinder treatment of women? Melba will readily answer..."both!" For all she has seen and all she has endured, she deserves to be heard just as much as, say, Fidel's daughter Alina or Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the brother of Fidel's former wife Mirta. Melba Hernandez represents one side of a two-sided story and, I believe, the U. S. democracy is still strong enough to deal with both sides, although that has generally not been the case since January of 1959.  
       Barbara Walters of ABC-News in two famous interviews asked Fidel, "Is there anything in the world you will say about Celia Sanchez?" Each time he said not a word, not even "No." He just put up the palms of his hands and shook them slowly side to side. Yet, over all these years since 1980 he has been quite gregarious in discussing Celia with intimates that he knew also worshiped her almost as much as he did, intimates he knew would never have a disparaging word or thought in their remembrances of her.
       Fidel has never been a skilled photographer but he snapped the above photo of Celia Sanchez in a sugar cane field. Such images of a happy Celia have sustained him through some tough times since she died of cancer on January 11, 1980. To him, there will never be another Celia but Dilma Rousseff and the other female Presidents in Latin America have made him proud to have them as dear friends. In them, he sees some of the parts that made up the totality of Celia.
     Michele Bachelet, the revered President of Chile, fulfilled her terms and left office with an approval rating of 84%. 
                                        
      Celia Sanchez would be proud that Michele Bachelet, to this day, considers Fidel Castro "The inspiration for my political life." Michele Bachelet's father was tortured and died in a military prison during the brutal 19-year U. S. - backed Pinochet dictatorship, put in power by a CIA/Henry Kissinger-supported coup that toppled a Castro-friendly democratically elected Chilean president. She, and the rest of Latin America,  remain abundantly aware of the United States support of  Pinochet and Fidel Castro's adamant opposition to Pinochet. As Michele Bachelet illustrates, the U. S. support of right-wing dictators from the 1950s to the 1980s enhanced Fidel Castro's power and likely will boost his legacy.
       The incredibly brutal and thieving Augusto Pinochet, shown above shaking hands with U. S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, symbolized the atrocious "U. S. friendly" dictators from the 50s deep into the 80s. The United States loved Pinochet; Fidel Castro detested him but loved and inspired the democratically elected Bachelet. (I point that out not to promote the image of Fidel Castro but to stress my passionate love for democracy, which is not served when the world's best known democracy, the United States, supports and/or installs murderous dictators such as Augusto Pinochet in Chile or Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. When waves of democracy spread across Latin America, for example, the U. S. had to deal with a powerful democratically elected President, Michele Bachelet, who believes her beloved father was murdered by the U. S. - backed Chilean dictator Pinochet). And her father was one of many thousands.
      Empowered by his U. S. support, Pinochet was the architect of Operation Condor, one of history's most infamous murder machines. As his prime assassins, Pinochet chose anti-Castro Cuban exiles trained at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. One of Operation Condor's many totally innocent murder victims was Ronni Moffit whose last photo is shown above. The beautiful young American was murdered on the streets of Washington, D. C. on September 21, 1976 because she was an aide to a former top diplomat, Orlando Letelier, in the democratically elected Chilean administration that the bloody Pinochet coup overturned. 
       Orlando Letelier (above) and Ronnie Moffit died in a car bomb that turned out to be planted by CIA-trained Cuban exiles. Further, the U. S. government later revealed that the CIA Director at the time -- none other than George H. W. Bush -- tried mightily to divert the investigation away from the U. S. - beloved Pinochet by issuing false information. The car bombing that took the lives of Ronnie Moffit and Orlando Letelier in Washington was followed three weeks later by the bombing of Cubana Flight 455. [Note: Any Google search of "Orlando Letelier" will take you to a realm of data on his assassination, such as the book "The CIA's Greatest Hits" by Mark Zepezauer. The Chilean government beginning in 1991 has asked George H. W. Bush to answer some simple questions related to the Letelier/Moffit killings. He has refused those requests.]
    And by the way, Salvador Allende (above) was the democratically elected President of Chile that died in the bloody coup that installed for 19 murderous years the U. S. - friendly Pinochet dictatorship. From his government office, Allende famously fought the tank-led attack until he only had one bullet left in his favorite rifle. He then sat at his desk, put the rifle between his legs with the tip of the barrel under his chin, and pulled the trigger. The rifle had been an inauguration gift from two of his dearest friends -- Fidel Castro and Celia Sanchez. (Absolutely true; and so is the fact that a lot of good people -- such as Ronni Moffit, Orlando Letelier, and Salvador Allende die when the U. S. supports killer dictators, thus making them more powerful than they otherwise would be).
       So, all three of the female democratically elected Presidents of arguably Latin America's three most important countries -- Brazil, Argentina, and Chile -- got  first their revolutionary zeal and later their political inspirations from Fidel Castro. The question now is: Will the 86-year-old Fidel's legacy spawn more such successes across Latin America?  
     Celia Sanchez would be proud that South Africa's Nelson Mandela, the internationally beloved anti-apartheid icon who turned 94 last month, considers Fidel Castro "My dearest friend and the anti-imperialist revolutionary that all anti-imperialist revolutionaries should aspire to be."
      Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela co-authored a book about slavery, apartheid, and imperialism. Mandela gave Fidel a lion's share of the credit for his getting out of an apartheid prison, where he had a bucket for a toilet for well over two decades, and then being democratically elected president of South Africa. 
      In case you haven't read it yet, above is the book Fidel Castro co-authored with his dear friend Nelson Mandela. Let's see, demonized by many and loved by many, Fidel holds a few world records: The only revolutionary leader to overthrow a U. S. - backed dictatorship; the 2012 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records now states that he survived 638 assassination attempts, leaving everyone else 600 or so behind him; and he has co-authored books with some of the world's most famous icons. As John Wayne or Ozzie Guillen (if he's not in Miami) might say, "Not bad!"
     But more than all that, Celia Sanchez would probably be proudest of the day in December of 1956 (above) when she and Haydee Santamaria presented Fidel Castro with the first rifle he used in the Sierra Maestra. In fact, the days that followed, meaning the fierce guerrilla fighting against imposing odds, were amazingly the "happiest" days of Celia's life.
      Georgia Anne Geyer, the conservative nationally syndicated journalist, wrote the seminal American biography of Fidel Castro. Geyer was and is anti-Castro but her book -- "Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro" -- was fair and accurate, including her vivid two-page depiction of Fidel's reaction to Celia's death. Also in "Guerrilla Prince" Geyer revealed Celia's "happiest" days. Geyer recounted the fierce fighting in the Sierra and then wrote: "Later, when the world was different, Celia would reminisce romantically about those irreplaceable months in the Sierra. Sitting with Fidel and some American journalists on a farm on the Isle of Pines, she recalled in her husky, throbbing voice, 'Ah, but those were the best times, weren't they? We were all so very happy then, really. We will never be so happy again, will we? Never!'" (The Celia Sanchez quote at the Isle of Pines is in George Anne Geyer's "Guerrilla Prince" book)
      When she knew she was dying from cancer in late 1979, Celia was surprised when she received a phone call from Puerto Rico. It was her old friend (and enemy) Carlos Franqui, who had gotten the word about her illness. They chatted for about a half hour. At one point he said, "Celia, permit me to ask you something. How in the hell did you create a revolution that ended up beating a powerful dictator and the Mafia when they were supported by the strongest nation in the world?" Franqui would later write that, without missing a beat, she quickly gave him an answer that he would never forget: "I loved Cuba. They loved gluttony. I guess...I loved Cuba more than they loved gluttony." Spoken by Celia Sanchez and registered by Carlos Franqui, those words pretty well define the Cuban Revolution.
 Celia's mi Cubita bella (her "beautiful little Cuba") is still there.
And the Cuban flag still waves over her little island.
     And little Cuban girls can stick the Cuban flag on their hats and no longer worry about being kidnapped and used in casinos to lure pedophiles to the gambling tables. Throughout the day on January 1, 1959 the rebels famously demolished all those Mafia casinos and they have not been allowed to reopen.
      On that dilatory, long-ago trek from Santiago de Cuba to Havana to replace the Batista regime, Fidel was tired but exuberant; Celia was tired and shy. The above photo was taken just east of Havana in the city of Cienfuegos. He wanted to celebrate with the rebels; she wanted to get down to business, and she did that for the next twenty-one years.
         But now Celia Sanchez is dead. Long live Celia Sanchez, or at least the little Cuban girls that she loved so dearly.
Q And A
Q -- What is the historical significance of Celia Sanchez?
A -- She was the determining factor in the Cuban Revolution.
Q -- How so?
A -- She determined who won and who lost.
Q-- For an event that impacted the U. S. so much, why is she not well known in the U. S.?
A -- In this rare instance the losers, not the winners, wrote the history.
Q -- Why was that so?
A -- Batista was supported by the U. S. in Cuba; the ousted Batistianos are supported by the U. S.  
Q -- Will she ever be properly recognized in the U. S.?
A -- Probably not. She wouldn't mind that. But rewriting history does not speak well of the U. S.
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