The Celia Sanchez Revolution

Also Known As The Cuban Revolution
{Updated: Saturday, July 26th, 2014}
Republished by request!!
{May 27th, 2021}
        Americans are not supposed to comprehend that a doctor's daughter named Celia Sanchez was the most important player in the Cuban Revolution. Such knowledge would not compute with the narrative dictated since 1959 by two generations of key elements that fled the victorious Cuban Revolution and resettled in the U. S., primarily nearby Miami. The U. S. support of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba in the 1950s remained firm when it was transferred to U. S. soil. The Cuban Revolution's triumph and its ongoing survival remains one of history's and modernity's most compelling and unbelievable components. Not to know Celia Sanchez is to not know either the Cuban Revolution or today's Cuba. And few Americans know either. Therefore, what follows are a few pertinent facts.
     A young school teacher named Frank Pais and a young doctor's daughter named Celia Sanchez were the two most vital anti-Batista recruiters and organizers in the crucial early days of the revolution that actually began with the urban underground in 1953. Soon, Batista had put huge bounties on the heads of Frank Pais and Celia Sanchez. The bounty on Frank led to the capture and brutal murder of his 17-year-old brother Jesus. Then Frank himself was captured and brutally murdered. But the largest bounty was on Celia's head. However, the Cuban Revolution stayed alive because Celia stayed alive. Cuba's best historian, Pedro Alvarez Tabio, correctly concluded: "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." American's are not supposed to comprehend that quotation although Cuba's revolutionary insiders, including Fidel Castro, clearly comprehend it.
     Celia Sanchez was not only the Cuban Revolution's most important recruiter and organizer, she was also its bravest and most determined guerrilla fighter in the Sierra Maestro Mountains during the crucial three years when Fidel Castro was either in prison or in Mexico. Without Celia there would have been no revolution for Fidel to join.
       Even after macho men such as the Castro brothers joined her revolution at the beginning of 1957, it was still Celia Sanchez, with the total concurrence of Fidel Castro, who made the key rebel decisions. That's why, as above, the pertinent updates and data were routinely analyzed, first and foremost, by Celia Sanchez.
       At nights in their tent in the Sierra Maestra Mountains during the revolutionary war, this was a typical scene -- Celia holding a candle so she and Fidel could read. Later, Fidel told historian Pedro Alvarez Tabio, "I could read books but it was necessary for Celia to read war material. Then in the darkness we would talk." 
    After the triumph of the revolution, Celia remained the prime decision-maker in Cuba, still with the total concurrence of Fidel Castro. Thus, as shown here, Celia is the one who began each day analyzing the reports and data while all Fidel had to do to start his day was to kick off his slippers and relax in his rocking chair while Celia studied updates. They spent most, but not all, of their nights at Celia's 11th Street Apartment.
     Celia Sanchez, not Fidel Castro, made the most definitive quotations that defined Revolutionary Cuba. The above quotation is an example: "We rebels...get far too much credit for winning the revolution. Our enemies deserve most of the credit, for being greedy cowards and idiots." Americans need to know this quotation.
     What Celia meant by depicting the Batistainos as "greedy cowards and idiots" relates to the photo above. It was this: With the support of the U. S., the strongest nation in the world, Batista and the Mafia could have continued raping and robbing Cuba at will. However, in an effort to quell dissent on the island, Celia and the rest of the female population were astounded that children were murdered as a warning to Cubans not to resist. But it produced massively brave street marches, like the one above, and it created in the female half of Cuba's population a do-or-die effort to get rid of the Batistianos. Without that resolve by Celia Sanchez, Haydee Santamaria, Vilma Espin, Tete Puebla, Melba Montgomery, Marta Rojas and the rest of the female population on the island, there is no way a U.S.-backed dictatorship could possibly have been overthrow by a popular domestic revolution. The march shown above and Celia's quotation about "greedy cowards and idiots" define that fact.
     Celia Sanchez, either by verbal or written command, dictated what post-Batista Cuba evolved into. It was Celia and Vilma Espin who quickly devised the powerful Cuban Federaion of Women. It was Celia and Haydee Santamaria who concocted the still active block-by-block Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, something they began discussing in late 1957 when they were the two most determined guerrilla fighters in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains. In 1959 those block-by-block committees came to fruition as did the Federation of Cuban Women. Also, verbally and in writing {above}, Celia Sanchez laid down the most important quotation relating to Revolutionary Cuba: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." Fidel Castro turns 88 in 2014 but he is still alive and, even more incredibly, so is Celia Sanchez's daunting proclamation.
      In addition to her bold statements and actions regarding the Batistianos, Celia Sanchez quietly but massively used telephone diplomacy on behalf of her beloved Cuba. She knew, beginning in January of 1959, that Cuba needed the nearby United States, the strongest and richest nation in the world, to be "Cuba's best friend and best trading partner." Thus, in January, February and March of 1959 she was constantly on the phone with the U.S. State Department and with America's Society of Newspaper Editors to arrange for a Cuban delegation, led by Fidel Castro and her, to visit the United States. She knew that, in both Cuba and the U. S., Fidel was wildly popular. The U. S. State Department promised her that Fidel could meet with President Eisenhower. If so, Fidel was primed to promise Eisenhower that Cuba would hold a democratic election that fall and that none of the top revolutionary leaders "nor their proxies" would be candidates and, further, the U. S. could monitor all aspects of the election to make sure it was totally honest. However, what became quickly known to Celia and is now known to history is this: Right-wingers in the U. S. government -- led by Vice President Richard Nixon, CIA Director Allen Dulles, and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles -- concocted a double-cross and arranged for President Eisenhower to be out of town so Nixon would be the one to meet Fidel. 
          Nixon famously startled Fidel by telling him that the U. S. and the Cuban exiles would re-capture Cuba within a matter of weeks. That exchange and this photo in April of 1959 -- a mere four months after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution -- is now history. And it paved the way for such historic events as the Bay of Pigs attack in April of 1961; Celia Sanchez's personal courting of the Soviet Union {especially her admirer Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan who had nicknamed her "Spanish Eyes" after an earlier trip to Havana}the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 that remains the closest the world has ever come to a total nuclear holocaust; the U. S. embargo against Cuba that has been in effect from 1962 till the present day; etc.
      Celia Sanchez had led Fidel Castro to the U. S. on that 12-day visit in April of 1959 to assure and guarantee the U. S. that Cuba would be a democracy with a fall election that the U. S. could minutely monitor. Nixon's outrageous boast to Fidel caught Celia off guard but by the time {above} when she had led Fidel back to Cuba, it was her interpretation of Nixon and the U. S. that counted. And her resolve was this: Whatever she had to do, whatever Fidel had to do, and whatever Cuba had to do, Nixon, the Dulles brothers and the Batistianos would never regain control of Cuba. More than anyone else, including Fidel, she backed up that resolve with unmatched fervor. 
        It is interesting to note that, as with most other key elements in U.S.-Cuban relations since the 1950s, Americans have mostly been propagandized by the narrative spewed out by self-serving Cuban exiles and their sycophants. That's why Americans to this day do not comprehend the significance of this photo, which was taken by Andrew St. George and is owned and copyrighted by Yale University. It shows Celia Sanchez in the hallway of a New York hotel in April of 1959 after she was heartbroken that the United States allowed what she later called "a thug like Nixon to speak for it." Back in Cuba, Celia told Haydee Santamaria, "It was do-or-die for us in the Sierra Maestra, Yeye, and now it's do-or-die for us in Cuba." 
{"Yeye" was Celia's nickname for Haydee}.
     In addition to using the telephone to set up the ill-fated visit to the U. S. in April of 1959, Celia continually used the telephone and cables with important friends and leaders, such as Anastas Mikoyan, whenever she thought it would help Cuba. In the early 1960s Celia talked often with her dear friend Lisa Howard, the beautiful American anchor at ABC-TV News. Lisa helped Celia get in contact with President John Kennedy, whose viciousness against Cuba in the early days of his presidency had been carryover programs -- such as the Bay of Pigs attack and assassinations against Fidel -- from the preceding Eisenhower administration in which the U. S. policy regarding Cuba was dictated by the likes of Nixon and the Dulles brothers. But by the third year of his presidency, 1963, Kennedy had screamed at his top aides such epithets as, "I wish I could blow the CIA and the Cuban exiles to smithereens!" Lisa Howard, a high-profile journalist, arranged for Celia and Kennedy to exchange phone calls and cables in the summer and fall of 1963. Kennedy told her that his top priority was to "normalize relations with Cuba." His top aides including Pierre Salinger and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. confirmed later that Kennedy's top priority in November of 1963 when he returned from Dallas was to normalize relations with Cuba. And the popular young President would have been powerful enough to have accomplished that, if he had not returned from Dallas in a coffin on November 22, 1963. Both he and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, knew that -- after the Bay of Pigs disaster -- both of them were targets of certain CIA, Mafia, and Cuban-exile elements, especially the Mafia wing led by Carlos Marcello. On July 4th, 1965, even the gorgeous Lisa Howard died mysteriously, and from that day to this day no other American has come close to normalizing relations between the U. S. and Cuba.
       Lisa Howard {above} and Celia Sanchez were heartbroken the instant they learned of President John Kennedy's assassination. It told them that the bad guys would still be in control of America's Cuban policies.
      Celia Sanchez, the petite doctor's daughter, became a chain-smoker beginning when she was a guerrilla fighter in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. She remained a chain-smoker the rest of her life, till she died of lung cancer at age 59 on January 11, 1980. As vividly depicted in Georgie Anne Geyer's seminal Fidel Castro biography, Celia's death was the saddest period of Fidel Castro's long life. He immediately resigned as Cuba's leader. Three nights later his brother Raul walked into a darkened room where Fidel, all alone, sat on a cot with his head still bowed. Raul walked over, sat beside him, and spoke just one sentence: "You should know, Fidel, that the last thing Celia would want is for someone other than you to be the leader of Cuba." Those well-crafted words helped Fidel slowly begin his return to the helm as Cuba's leader. 
    This image shows Celia Sanchez the last time the Cuban people saw her on television. She had requested that appearance to tell them: "I know you are sad for me, but don't be. I have accomplished much of what I tried to do for all of you and, therefore, I am not sad. Somewhere over the rainbow, after the last storm has passed over Cuba, we will meet again. I wish only the best for you till then."
      A truthful appraisal of "The Celia Sanchez Revolution," also known as the Cuban Revolution, would acknowledge and confirm that Celia Sanchez stands the tallest, even above the far more celebrated, and much easier vilified, Fidel Castro.
     It was a female-powered revolution and the two most important guerrilla fighters were the two pictured above -- Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria. Long before Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, etc., ever showed up in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, it was Celia and Haydee who kept the revolution a viable, if implausible, factor.
        Americans to this day are not supposed to comprehend that two female warriors -- Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria -- were more significant in the revolution and in the first two decades of Revolutionary Cuba than Fidel Castro. However, Fidel himself comprehended that fact. The photo above shows Fidel flanked by Celia and Haydee at a period in Revolutionary Cuba in which these two women were more influential decision-makers than Fidel, who never failed to back up those decisions. It is also significant to understand this fact: Shortly after Celia Sanchez died of cancer at age 59 on January 11, 1980, a grief-stricken Haydee Santamaria committed suicide. But for the rest of his life, Fidel Castro has tried to follow the dictates of the two women that were the two most important revolutionary players.
      The Celia Sanchez legacy is best reflected in books like this one.
    Like Fidel Castro, whose father was a millionaire, Celia Sanchez was born rich. Her father, Dr. Manuel Sanchez, owned three farms and was once President of the Cuban Medical Association although he worked in small, isolated Cuban towns such as Media Luna and Pilon. The image above of Celia reading to children depicts how Cubans today remember her -- the greatest proponent of peasant children and the greatest opponent of anyone who would try to harm them.
      Celia Sanchez's incalculable love of peasant children found fruition as she and her father cared for them, free of charge, as best they could. In 1952 and 1953 Celia learned that the Batista-Mafia dictatorship was kidnapping peasant girls as young as ten to use as lures to entice rich pedophiles to gamble in the Mafia-run casinos. That knowledge spurred Celia to begin working in the anti-Batista urban underground, but only as a minor player. Then word came to her from Havana all the way to the eastern end of the island that a ten-year-old peasant girl named Maria Ochoa had been brutally murdered by a protected pedophile gambler. That turned out to be the biggest mistake Batista, the Mafia and the United States ever made on the island of Cuba. The fate of Maria Ochoa transformed Celia Sanchez from a minor player in the anti-Batista urban underground into the most important female guerrilla fighter and revolutionary leader in history. And that fact is why -- from 1959 until today -- the Batistianos, the Mafia and the nearby superpower United States have had no control over Cuba although, of course, such things as the decades-old embargo have severely restricted much of what Celia Sanchez intended for Revolutionary Cuba.
     History, documented by photos like this, reveals what Celia knew: That peasant families in Batista's Cuba lived in abject poverty while the Batistianos, the Mafia and U. S. businessmen -- backed by a strong military -- robbed the island at will.
    From 1959 till today Cuban children, despite the U. S. embargo and other factors that have direly affected Cuba's economy, all Cuban children, such as the ones above, have been guaranteed free educations through college, free health care for life, and free shelter and food. Also, the block-by-block Committees for the Defense of the Revolution have made Cuban children among the world's safest. Those parameters were dictated by Celia Sanchez, Haydee Santamaria, and Vilma Espin way back in 1959, the first year of revolutionary rule on the island.
In 2014 Cuban schoolgirls are a high priority.
      Since 1959 -- thanks to Celia Sanchez, Haydee Santamaria and Vilma Espin -- rosy-cheeked Cuban girls have fared much better than little girls in Batista's Cuba.
The BBC said Cuban girls today are "happy."
      Vilma Espin, Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria -- from left to right above -- are no longer alive. But their revolution -- The Celia Sanchez revolution -- is still alive.
The most beautiful statues in Cuba today honor Celia.
The most beautiful billboards in Cuba today honor Celia.
Celia's life, more than any other, redefined Cuba forever.
          On May 9th, Celia's birthday, Cubans today sit around in front of her native home in Media Luna and discuss what she meant to them.
    And truth be known, Celia Sanchez means everything to Cubans today. By the same token, she has had a profound effect on America's post-World War II democracy. That's because The Celia Sanchez Revolution, also known as The Cuban Revolution, says more about the United States than it says about Cuba. After all, Cuba is an island and the United States is the world's superpower. Yet, the doctor's daughter from Media Luna saw a dire need to boot the United States off the island of Cuba when there was not a chance in a million she could do it. After she did it, she wanted the U. S. back on the island but only if that did not mean a return of the Batistianos and the Mafia. Vice President Nixon in April of 1959 convinced her that a return of the U. S. would also mean a return of the Batistianos and the Mafia. And that is precisely why to this day the U. S. has not been able to return as the dominant force on the island of Cuba. So, it's still Celia Sanchez's island, not America's.



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