The UN Vote and the Cuban Albatross

It's Around America's Neck Too!
{Updated: Friday, November 1st, 2013}
The UN voted Tuesday on the vile U. S. embargo against Cuba.
It's a yearly reminder that the entire world opposes this abomination against Cuba's people.
Of course, the Albatross is really around America's neck.
        At the United Nations in New York Tuesday {Oct. 29th} every nation in the world with the lone exception of Israel expressed its horror that the United States of America, the world superpower, has had history's cruelest and longest embargo against the Cuban people. Declassified documents prove it was instituted way back in 1962 to create hunger and deprivation on the island to induce the Cuban people to overthrow or assassinate Fidel Castro, which the United States and powerful Cuban exiles from the Batista/Mafia dictatorship had been unable to do, even with the military attack at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. America's Founding Fathers who created the world's greatest democracy would surely cringe at the past two generations of American people who have been too cowardly, too unpatriotic, too proselytized, and too stupid to raise their voices above a whimper to denounce the cruel, salacious embargo of Cuba.
           The vote at the UN Tuesday was 188-2 against the embargo. The only nation in the world that sided with the U. S. was Israel. The rest of the world understands that Israel had no choice because, since 1948, it has depended on the billions of U. S. dollars each year in economic and military aid that has enabled tiny Israel to become a powerful nuclear military power. And the whole world is amazed that the ultra-rich and ultra-powerful U. S. cannot buy off or scare off at least one other nation besides tiny, dependent Israel to support its hateful, revengeful Cuban embargo.
Israel should be ashamed that its hard-earned independence can be bought with dollar bills.
       Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Tuesday at the UN told the nations of the world that the U. S. embargo is a genocidal act against helpless and innocent people and that the genocide against the Cuban people has been aptly defined and classified as such by not only the nations of the world but by such international directives as the Geneva Convention. Rodriguez pointed out that the United States, as it does each October, will veto the UN vote even though, in the eyes of the world, it brands the U. S. as "a world-class bully." America's capitulation to a handful of hateful Cuban exiles truly astounds the entire world!
       Cuba's Bruno Rodriguez this week told the world at the United Nations: "Our small island poses no threat to the national security of the superpower. The human damages caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba are incalculable -- at least $1.126 trillion in dollar terms and much more than that in torture terms. Seventy-six percent of Cubans on the island have lived under its devastating effects since the day they have been born. It provokes hardships and is a mass, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights. The fact that 53 years later the same policy still prevails is something extraordinary and barbaric." As he spoke those words Tuesday, the rest of the world agreed with Bruno Rodriguez. Other diplomats went to the podium to excoriate the United States for "sullying the history of mankind," "year-after-year subjecting innocent Cubans to Nazi-like tactics because it has the power to do so," "establishing and crowning the United States as the world's biggest and most publicized bully," etc., etc.
         American envoy Ronald Goddard, like a sacrificial lamb, had the unenviable task of speaking at the United Nations this week on behalf of the U. S. embargo against Cuba. Mr. Goddard insouciantly told the world:
"The United States is a deep and abiding friend of the Cuban people."  
With all due respect, Mr. Goddard, that is a lie.
And this week's vote at the UN again confirms that the entire world considers it a lie. 
President Obama should be ashamed.
We who voted for Mr. Obama should be ashamed.
We Americans who love democracy should be ashamed.


Cuba's Government-in-Exile Reshapes America

Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013
The now-historic U. S. Government Shutdown of October-2013 closed the Statue of Liberty.
On a cold and gray October day,
Another piece of democracy faded away.
The Government Shutdown closed National Parks, harming and inconveniencing millions of Americans.
        The Government Shutdown even stopped death payments to the families of soldiers returning in coffins from the unending war in Afghanistan; the Center for Disease Control furloughed workers that included food inspectors even as 18 states were besieged with deadly threats from a new epidemic of chicken-related salmonella; offices related to national security were closed or down-sized; etc.; etc.; etc.
But....................guess what?
        Radio-TV Marti was not affected by the Government Shutdown because the U. S. Government is not strong enough to defy the edicts of the Cuban Government-in-Exile, a situation that had its origin in January of 1959 when the Cuban Revolution overthrew the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship. The monumental event, it seems, only moved the Batista/Mafia headquarters from Havana to nearby Miami. 
      Starting in the mid-1970s when George H. W. Bush was CIA Director, the most virulent anti-Castro Cuban exiles audaciously became an unchecked force within the bowels of the United States government.
        George H. W. Bush followed his CIA directorship with two-terms as Vice-president and one-term as President, and by then the most powerful Cuban exiles began pushing their own anti-Cuban laws through the U. S. Congress. By the 1980s, after more than two decades of failed U.S.-Cuban exile attempts to regain control of Cuba, the Bush political dynasty's adornment of Jorge Mas Canosa and other prime anti-Castro Cuban exiles resulted in the official coronation of the Cuban American National Foundation as the Cuban Government-in-Exile. Thus was formed in the 1980s, among other things, Radio Marti to be followed by Radio-TV Marti. It is a propaganda operation aimed at Cubans on the island but from the outset Cuba has easily jammed the signals. Moreover, the quality of the productions are basically laughable, except for the fact that the laugh for decades has been on the U. S. taxpayers who have been stuck with sending hundreds-of-millions of hard-earned dollars to Miami to fund Radio-TV Marti! While the Statue of Liberty, national parks, death benefits for soldiers, Center for Disease Control inspectors, and other federal agencies suffered massively from the Government Shutdown, Radio-TV Marti was totally exempted because the anti-Castro propaganda, which Cuba easily blocks, was considered "essential" to America's national security -- or so Americans since 1959 have been proselytized to believe or accept.
        Like monarchs, the Bush political dynasty followed the George H. W. Bush years with George W. Bush's two-term Presidency, Jeb Bush's two-terms as Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush's ongoing desire for the Presidency, Jeb Bush's son's fresh desire for the Presidency, etc., etc. Jeb Bush began his political {and real estate} career in Florida by being the Campaign Manager for anti-Castro zealot Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's successful bid for election to the U. S. Congress in 1989, with mutual Bush-Exile benefits in its wake.
        Bush matriarch Barbara Bush, the popular wife of 82-year-old George H. W. Bush, seems to have tired of the Bush political dynasty/monarchy, as have many long-time conservative Republicans like me. When asked about her son Jeb's anticipated bid to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2016, Barbara Bush said, "We've had enough Bushes." She's right! And the prime proof of that is the archaic U. S. Cuban policy that has insulted America and its democracy for decades! Radio-TV Marti is merely one example.
       Jose Marti, for whom Radio-TV Marti is named, died in 1895 fighting the Spanish for Cuban independence prior to the 1898 Spanish-American War that resulted in a U. S. victory that merely transferred foreign domination from Spain to the U. S., at least until the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959. Cubans on the island still revere Marti for his efforts and, as indicated above, they as well as many impartial observers resent Marti's name attached to what many believe is a political money-making scheme merely designed to keep millions of tax dollars perpetually flowing in the Washington-to-Miami pipeline. 
      The democracy-loving Center for Democracy in the Americas includes a Cuba Central blog that weekly bemoans the U. S. treatment of Cuba, regularly pointing out that every Caribbean and Latin American nation strongly objects to the U. S. government permitting two generations of only the most virulent Cuban exiles to dictate America's Cuban policy. Fittingly, the Cuba Central segment of the current Center for Democracy in the Americas blog scathingly criticizes the U. S. for Radio-TV Marti, including the self-serving funding of the wasteful enterprise continuing while many worthwhile and beneficial projects were curtailed during the Government Shutdown. Cuba Central concluded: "We can't say what exactly the Martis are doing to protect our national security or what earned its employees their exemption from the shutdown. Of course, Cubans couldn't tell you either. The broadcasts are all jammed. They can't hear them. They haven't heard the stations since they were first founded in the 1980s, and the money spent on their broadcasts is being wasted." Every unbiased observer agrees with that assessment, starting with an ABC News report more than a decade ago entitled "The Broadcasts to Nowhere" that pointed out "hundreds of millions of tax dollars" were being wasted to satisfy the whims of a few politically connected Cuban exiles in Miami. The insightful, respected Center for Democracy in the Americas stated: "The decision to keep the Martis running amused at least one senior Congressional staffer who told the Cable, 'If the Martis shut down, we risk forfeiting our .001% of market-share on the island we've spent decades and hundreds of millions of dollars cultivating.'"
      The Miami New Times this week also chastised the U. S. for continuing to lavishly fund Radio-TV Marti during the Shutdown. Kyle Munzenrieder of the Miami New Times wrote: "Our tax dollars are paying for news reports that Cubans can't hear about how our government can't pay for services that we actually need."
       The Denver Post's Penelope Purdy {abovepenned the all-time best quotation related to the U.S.-Cuban cauldron: "The U. S. Cuban policy for all these decades has been conducted with the IQ of a salamander." 
        The cover of Time Magazine during the first week of the October-2013 Government Shutdown reminded its readers that "Majority Rule" is no longer a hallmark of the American democracy, an evolution that perhaps had its origin during the transition of the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba to American soil after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. It's been a somewhat different democracy since.
       All of which helps explain why Cuba's inscrutable revolutionary heroine Celia Sanchez presciently foretold the destiny of the Cuban Revolution, and the U.S.-Cuban conundrum, with this quotation dating back to 1959: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." But as the prime architect of Batista's demise, she probably didn't expect Fidel to live 87 years and she probably realized that eventually Cuba would succumb once again to some imperial foreign power.
       I thought this National Geographic map was quite interesting. It depicts an airplane flight from Miami -- the capital of the Cuban Government-in-Exile -- to Havana -- the modern capital of Cuba -- to Santiago de Cuba -- the first capital of Cuba -- and then a bus trip to the historic city of Baracoa before returning to Santiago de Cuba for the flight back to Miami. If you use the 100-mile scale in the upper-right you can gauge the distance of such a flight as well as the motor route to Baracoa. I've been to all four cities.
       Jose Abreu {above} will be the next young Cuban to become an instant multi-millionaire in America. The bidding war has reached $70 million and is now whittled down to three teams -- the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, and Chicago White Sox who are still in the running. On defense, Jose is a first baseman.
          Jose Abreu is a powerful right-handed hitter. He is 26-years-old, stands 6-foot-3, and weighs 250 pounds. In the above at bat he blasted a home run for Cuba against China in this year's World Baseball Classic where he hit .360 with 3 homers and 9 runs-batted-in in just 6 games. Abreu is considered a better hitter right now than Yasiel Puig, the 22-year-old Cuban who is perhaps the most talked about player in baseball as the sensation for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Baseball is played at a very high level in Cuba as the recent avalanche of defections to the Major Leagues attest. And no Cuban had ever matched the season Abreu had in Cuba's top league in 2010-2011. That season Abreu hit .453 with 33 homers and 93 runs-batted-in in just 66 games. By next week, Jose will have an American bank account worth millions.
Update: Jose Abreu agrees to the Chicago White Sox offer!


How 1950s Cuba Punctured America's Democracy

And Why It Has Not Recovered
Updated: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2013
When World War II ended in 1945 this sailor and the world celebrated.
      America and its allies had prevented vile dictatorships in Germany, Japan, and Italy from conquering the world. Ironically, the U. S. gained its most powerful ally, the Soviet Union, only after Germany's dictator Hitler double-crossed his ally, the Soviet Union's Stalin, who then used his massive army and about 26 million Russian lives to help defeat Germany, Italy, and Japan -- mightily helping the U. S. win the war!
The outcome of WW2 not only saved the world from domination by vile dictators but re-calibrated it.
       The U. S. {left in blue} emerged from World War II as the strongest, richest, and most beloved nation in the history of the world. But it didn't trust its war-time ally, the massive Soviet Union {in red} and its violent, paranoid dictator Joseph Stalin, especially after Stalin's massive spy operation, the KGB, secured nuclear secrets. Thus, from 1945 till the 1990s the two post-war superpowers engaged in a Cold War that greatly affected the entire world. One of the consequences resulted in the U. S., the nation that had the capacity to do the most good in the world, creating a dreaded counter-balance to Stalin's notorious KGB.
In 1947 the reconfigured world witnessed the birth of America's Central Intelligence Agency.
President Harry Truman in 1947 signed the National Security Act, creating the CIA. 
It's located in Langley, Virginia, a few miles across the Potomac River from the White House.
Like the KGB, the CIA soon evolved into a secretive power within the bowels of a superpower.
   Another indelible product of World War II was the almighty American Military Industrial Complex. Dwight David Eisenhower was a brilliant, decent man. He was the top general on the winning side, the man who made the decisive decisions. Then he spent two terms, eight years, as the President of the United States. With that background and that insight, Ike on January 17, 1961, made his farewell television address as President. The main purpose of that speech was to warn the American people that the biggest threat to the U. S. democracy was the Military Industrial Complex that during and after World War II had created an alarming number of millionaires and billionaires. Thus, Ike warned that wars and the threat of wars would be fabricated to convince the American taxpayers and voters that their last dime should be spent on armaments to protect the nation. Of course, the Military Industrial Complex had the money to pay lobbyists and buy-off politicians to further their goals. In his famous speech, Ike said, "We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow." He warmed, with impeccable insight, that the biggest threat to that democracy was America's own Military Industrial Complex. He said, "We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations."
Those words, that dire warning, were destined to go unheeded.
         Dwight D. Eisenhower also warned Americans that, "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."  That sage warning, that simple advice, also went unheeded. World War II and post-World War II, particularly the 15 years with Eisenhower the American catalyst, were watershed moments for the United States and the new world order that the United States dominated. When great, decent, democracy-loving Americans like Eisenhower were this country's primary defenders and policy-makers, the United States democracy was the envy of the world as the greatest form of government ever devised by mankind. But a man as great and insightful as Eisenhower recognized how fragile and vulnerable democracy was. He also knew that the strongest and richest nation in the history of the world -- stronger and richer than the rest of the world combined -- was most fragile and most vulnerable when confronting interior, not exterior, demons. It was Eisenhower who monumentally laid out for the American people how best to protect their precious democracy -- namely, by reigning in the vast Military Industrial Complex and its unending array of subsidiary components, including politicians, who profit from wars and the threat of wars. As I type this essay, my USA Today today {Sept. 30, 2013} informs me on its front page that the U. S. sells/exports 30% of the world's war weapons with Russia next at 26% followed by Germany 8%, France 6%, and China 5%. If Eisenhower were alive to read today's USA Today, he would probably shed a tear regarding the post-World War II generations of Americans who, unlike his generation, did not have the decency, the courage, or the patriotism to defend democracy against...the Military Industrial Complex.
Next to World War II, the Cuban Revolution is the most telling watershed moment for the U. S. democracy.
         In the early 1950s -- when the ashes of World War II were finally cooling off and "the world was safe for democracy" -- the United States teamed with Lucky Luciano {above left} and Meyer Lansky {center}, America's two most powerful Mafia thugs, to support the brutal-thieving military dictatorship in Cuba led by Fulgencio Batista {upper right}. Luciano, in fact, had been put in prison for fifty years by the state of New York prior to World War II but the U. S. government over-ruled New York and freed their Mafia friend, which resulted in untold suffering for many Cubans and Americans. So, why did the U. S. team with the Mafia to support a brutal dictator on the nearby island of Cuba? Two reasons: #1: The American people didn't care; and, #2: it enabled rich American businessmen to partake in the rape and robbery of a helpless small country. At least, the whole world back in the 1950s believed Cuba was a helpless small country.
        But to the utter amazement of the entire world, Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959 defeated the U. S. - backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship! While the superpower U. S. during the 1950s was also supporting brutal dictatorships in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and other Caribbean and Latin American nations, the triumph of the Cuban Revolution sent a resounding message across the entire region: Perhaps we too can gain sovereignty and independence and not have to live forever under foreign domination! For sure, no other small nation replicated the success of the Cuban Revolution, although many tried. However, beyond doubt, the Cuban Revolution inspired waves of democracy that began to sweep over the region in the 1970s and 1980s, replacing brutal U.S.-backed dictatorships that included murderous dictators like Augusto Pinochet in Chile who had replaced a popular democratically elected government in a bloody coup championed by U. S. President Richard Nixon and his prime adviser Henry Kissinger. To this day it is politically incorrect in the U. S. to suggest that the Cuban Revolution, not the U. S. democracy, inspired the influx of democratic rule throughout Latin America. But those interested in the truth should ask unbiased and unafriad souls who would know, such as.................................
         ............Dilma Rousseff, Prisoner #3023 after she had tried to replicate the Cuban Revolution and overthrow a brutal U.S. - backed dictatorship in her country, Brazil. She was captured and then unmercifully tortured in a military prison for three years. That was in the early 1970s. But Dilma survived and today she credits the Cuban Revolution with inspiring her to become a guerrilla fighter and, after that didn't turn out too well, to become a politician. With Cuba as her example, Dilma never let go of her belief that even a dictatorship supported by the world's superpower did not have to rule Brazil forever.
Today Dilma Rousseff is the democratically elected President of Brazil, the Latin American superpower!
         And today President Rousseff of Brazil chides the United States of America for being home to "The Banana Republic of Miami," her way of pointing out the second most significant consequence of the Cuban Revolution: The fleeing Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba quickly reconstituted itself on U. S. soil!
Which reminds me of an important book published this week.
It reveals how the U. S. support for dictatorships harms future generations of Americans.
Gary Bass {above} is a great historian and professor at Princeton University.
      Gary Bass's new book, published this week by Knopf, is entitled: "The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide." An earlier Random House book by Gary Bass is entitled: "India's Secret War in East Pakistan: How Two Madmen Brought the World to the Brink of a Third Great War." This week {Sept. 29-2013Gary Bass authored a long editorial in the New York Times entitled "Nixon and Kissinger's Forgotten Shame." He began that editorial with these words: "Bangladesh is in fresh turmoil. On Sept. 17, 2013, its Supreme Court decided that Abdul Quader Mollah, a leading Islamist politician, should be hanged for war crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. This may sound remote or irrelevant to Americans, but the unrest has much to do with the United States. Some of Bangladesh's current problems stem from its traumatic birth in 1971 -- when President Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser, vigorously supported the killers and tormentors of a generation of Bangladeshis." And in that long editorial this week in the New York Times, Gary Bass goes on to explain how the actions of President Nixon and Henry Kissinger back in 1971 have so massively harmed democracy as well as generations of people in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and America. In doing so, Gary Bass is suggesting that Americans should, in defense of their democracy and decency, hold their officials accountable.  
Gary Bass, in his new book, details the consequences of the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971.
       In Latin America to this day many observers and players believe Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger for years ran roughshod over democracy without being held accountable by the American people.
        Great investigative journalists like Peter Kornbluh {above} are the best friends a democracy can have. It may take them decades but eventually they unearth details on governmental acts that democracy-lovers had a right to know from the beginning, such as the Nixon-Kissinger penchant for overthrowing democratically elected governments in Latin America to install U.S.-friendly dictators. Peter posts his findings on the informative National Security Archive website for all the world to see. For example, on September 11, 2013, Peter's Briefing Book #437 was entitled "KISSINGER AND CHILE; THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD ON REGIME CHANGE." Peter wrote: "Henry Kissinger urged President Richard Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile...the coup against Allende occurred on this date 40 years ago {Sept. 11-1973}. The posted records spotlight Kissinger's role as the principal policy architect of U. S. efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. The documents were never shown to the special Senate Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in the 1970s. 'These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger's singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile,' said Peter Kornbluh who directs the Chile Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. 'They are the evidence of his accountability for the events of forty years ago.'"
         Peter Kornbluh is also the Director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project, of course. As with his aforementioned posting on Kissinger's dominant role in the 1973 Allende coup in Chile, the shame is that it takes even a superb journalist like Peter forty years to document the facts, four decades in which Kissinger has been glorified, sanitized, and lionized by the mainstream U. S. media. Therefore, while much of the data revealed and posted by Peter Kornbluh have long been known to the people in maligned countries like Chile, the American people for all these years have been conveniently lied to via the conveniently anti-democracy vehicle known as classified information, meaning information Americans are not supposed to know lest they might object to their heralded democracy overthrowing decent democratically elected governments, such as Allende's in Chile in 1973, to install a brutal, thieving but U. S. - friendly dictator like Pinochet. Forty years ago America's democracy-loving Senator Frank Church and the American people themselves needed to know what Henry Kissinger/Richard Nixon did in Chile and elsewhere but now, forty years later, even as an historical lesson, few Americans even care. 
But many others throughout Latin America do remember and do care!
      Today Latin America has two democratically elected female Presidents -- Cristina Kirchner of Argentina {left} and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil {right}. Both Kirchner and Rousseff believe that Nixon and Kissinger were responsible for the bloody coup in 1973 that overthrew the democratically elected President of Chile {Salvador Allende} to install, for 17 years, the very brutal U.S.-friendly dictator Augusto Pinochet.
      In fact, Michelle Bachelet was the democratically elected President of Chile during U. S. President Barack Obama's first term. After a very popular term as Chile's leader, Ms. Bachelet retired to devote her life to being a doctor and humanitarian. However, she is running for re-election next month and will win a second term. Needless to say, during the above session with President Bachelet, President Obama was embarrassed. He is well aware that her beloved father was one of the many innocent people killed during the unspeakable terror dispensed by the U.S.-installed and U.S.-backed Pinochet dictatorship.
    {Chile does not allow successive presidential terms; Bachelet worked at the UN in NY between terms}
         Michelle Bachelet -- the former and future democratically elected President of Chile -- is a great admirer of 87-year-old Fidel Castro...as are Latin America's other two female Presidents -- Kirchner and Rousseff. Americans are not supposed to comprehend why that is so. But as Dwight Eisenhower's Farewell Address in 1961 and Gary Bass's new book in 2013 point out, it is perhaps time that Americans respect their democracy enough to hold their leaders accountable when those leaders defame their democracy.

          Richard Nixon was President Eisenhower's Vice President in April of 1959 when he defamed democracy the day he shook Fidel Castro's hand {above}. Celia Sanchez, the prime dynamo and decision-maker in Revolutionary Cuba, had flown the newly celebrated Fidel to the U. S. less than four months after they had been guerrilla fighters in the Revolutionary War that ousted the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship. The pragmatic Celia, for Cuba's sake, wanted friendly relations with its superpower neighbor and she had instructed Fidel to assure the U. S. that Cuba was willing to do whatever was necessary to bring that about. But Nixon, using Cuba as a political punching bag on his way to the presidency, shocked Fidel by bragging that the United States and the Cuban exiles would re-capture Cuba within three months.
        Back on Cuban soil in April of 1961 after what she considered the double-cross by Richard Nixon in Washington, Celia Sanchez told Fidel Castro: "Dammit, we tried. Now at least we know where we stand, thanks to Nixon. Ours was a do-or-die fight against Batista and now we are in another do-or-die fight. As long as we live, you 'n I, we will do what we have to do." Within days in 1959 the U. S. government sanctioned repeated CIA/Cuban-exile/Mafia assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. But it was not until after the Bay of Pigs attack in April of 1961 that Celia instructed Fidel to declare Cuba a Marxist-Socialist state. And after that she was willing to align Cuba with the Soviet Union as a counter-balance to the United States and, among other things, it was Celia's friendship with Deputy Premier Anatas Mikoyan that initiated nuclear missiles on Cuban soil in 1962 as part of Celia's determination "to do what we have to do." In 1959 after she and Fidel had returned from their 12-day visit to the U. S., Celia first uttered and wrote her daunting proclamation that still has resonance today: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." Decades ago no one believed her; those doubters didn't know Celia. 
      After he got out of Batista's prison in 1955 when Celia and young school-teacher Frank Pais were keeping the revolution alive, Fidel left the island at Celia's behest to recruit funds and fighters in the U. S. and Mexico. When he finally hooked up with Celia's guerrilla unit in December of 1956 in the Sierra Maestra after barely surviving the ill-fated trip from Mexico, when only 17 of the 82 men aboard the old yacht Granma survived a blistering ambush by Batista's soldiers, Fidel wanted Celia by his side day and night because his dependence on her was inviolable. In the photo above Celia is holding a candle in their tent in the Sierra Maestra so they could read. Fidel is reading a book; Celia is reading and studying a map that contained jotted notes about the approximate location of a fresh army Batista had sent to destroy them.
Celia Sanchez, as above with fellow guerrilla fighter Vilma Espin, was always the studious one.
        After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Celia remained the studious one, enabling Fidel to relax in his rocking chair with his slippers off. So this photo in Revolutionary Cuba is quite appropriate. Celia was the decision-maker and Fidel's primary role was to support, whether he agreed with her or not, whatever decision she rendered. Roberto Salas, their long-time associate and world-class photographer, said in his book "A Pictorial History of the Cuban Revolution": "Celia made all the decisions for Cuba, the big ones and the small ones." Cuban insiders knew that; American outsiders are not supposed to either know or admit that. But in 2013, many unbiased observers believe the U. S. democracy is strong enough to finally acknowledge that it was the petite female Celia, not the macho Fidel, that led the Cuban Revolution against Batista and then led Revolutionary Cuba against the reconstituted U.S.-based Batistianos. When she died of cancer at age 59, Celia believed that her Cuban Revolution had bettered the lives of the island's children. And, of course, she believed the Batistianos would not regain control of Cuba at least as long as Fidel lived. To this day, he has lived almost 34 years beyond her death. The Batistianos have not regained control of Cuba. Thus, both her resolve and proclamation still live as a testament to her uniqueness.
Celia Sanchez
May 9, 1920 - January 11, 1980 

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