Cuba's Precious Children

Speak Well of the Revolution!!
         The graphic above used Cuban schoolchildren in a poster denouncing the U. S. embargo against Cuba, an obscenity that has existed since 1962 much to the detriment of the United States worldwide image and, conversely, much to the enhancement of Cuba's worldwide image for merely being able to survive the longest and cruelest economic embargo ever imposed by a strong country against a weak country. But Revolutionary Cuba has done more than just survive; against all odds, it has somehow managed to provide a much safer and richer lifestyle for its children than existed during the vile U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship that ruled the island from 1952 till 1959. The photo used in the above graphic is merely one indication of that fact, especially when contrasted with Batista-era photos of Cuban children that will be included as documentations in this essay. But back on Oct. 26-2016 the overwhelmingly emphatic 191-to-0 vote in which the entire world unanimously condemned the U. S. embargo of Cuba stands, of course, as the most emphatic denunciation of the U. S. embargo of Cuba, an embargo maintained decade-after-decade by a mere handful of miscreants in the 535-member U. S. Congress. A powerful propaganda and intimidation campaign vilifying Revolutionary Cuba since 1959 while sanitizing the Batista rule of Cuba and the Batistiano dictation in the U. S. Congress is now bent on convincing sufficiently intimidated or supposedly ignorant Americans that the number zero is larger than the number 191. In Banana Republics, of course, sufficient propaganda and intimidation worked wonderfully. The 191-0 UN vote reflects the fact that the world is surprised it works today in the U. S.
      This photo was taken by Alexander Caronado and is used courtesy of Havana Times.org. It was one of hundreds of entries in that blog's just-concluded and very impressive 8th Photo Contest pertaining to life in Cuba. This photo shows children in Santiago de Cuba, the old capital city on the island's southeastern tip. As you can see, these children are hilariously happy. They don't have much in regards to material things, and the U. S. embargo has embedded that fact into their lives. But in Revolutionary Cuba since 1959 children are guaranteed good and totally free health care for life; good and totally free educations through college; food and shelter if needed; and...in stark contrast to Batista's Cuba...their island is remarkably safe when it comes to crime or even when devastating hurricanes hit the island 90 miles from Florida.
      This is another sweet photo provided by Havana Times.org editor Circles Robinson and used in his aforementioned Photo Contest. This shows a little Cuban girl making some important point to a little boy. Dany del Pino took this very beautiful photo that captures a private, unscripted Cuban moment.
       Also courtesy of Circles Robinson, I love this photo of a happy little Cuban girl sitting carefree and confident on the steps of her home. To protect Cuban children that they felt were not protected or prioritized during the Batistiano-Mafiosi rule, Revolutionary heroines Celia Sanchez and Vilma Espin, starting in January of 1959, devised the block-by-block creation of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution composed of everyday Cubans on those particular blocks. It has worked amazingly well to protect and prioritize Cuban children like this little girl. Making a country safe for children is very important.
       This great photo was taken by Caridad, a photo-journalist for Havana Times.org. It shows another gorgeous and confident Cuban schoolgirl sitting on the back of the lion that is an indelible edifice in the Prado section of Havana. Cuban schoolchildren in their distinctive white-and-red uniforms are ubiquitous across the island and, not surprisingly, the favorite subjects of tourists with cameras. So, Cuban children...even ones as young as the girl sitting atop the lion...become quite accustomed to posing.
     A lucky artist might get a Cuban angel to pose for a portrait.
 A still-sleepy and closely watched Cuban schoolgirl.
        I mentioned that Cuba's great Revolutionary heroines Celia Sanchez and Vilma Espin after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution created the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution to protect Cuban children block-by-block. These two women also created several unique and still-powerful Committees empowering Cuban women, major changes that corrected the major victims of Batista's Cuba -- the women and the children. The great photo above shows Celia, the studious one, and Vilma, the carefree one, in 1957 when they were prime guerrilla fighters during the Revolutionary War but also major decision-makers during the war. This seminal photo, by the way, was taken by Dickey Chapelle, the greatest female war photographer who became very close friends of Celia and Vilma during Cuba's Revolutionary War.
       Dickey Chapelle also took this photo. It shows a youngish Fidel Castro spotting for one of his guerrilla fighters who is shouldering a bazooka that was getting ready to fire at an approaching Batista tank. 
 Dickey Chapelle, a war photographer for Look Magazine at age 23.
     The great photographer Dickey Chapelle was killed on a Vietnam battlefield on November 4, 1965. Deeply admired for her bravery and talent, she was loved by the soldiers and guerrilla fighters she photographed. The above AP photo shows American soldiers stunned by Dickey Chapelle's tragic death.
        I mentioned Vilma Espin and Celia Sanchez as two of Cuba's greatest guerrilla fighters during the Revolutionary War as shown when they were photographed by Dickey Chapelle. The photo above was taken in Revolutionary Cuba soon after the 1959 triumph over the Batista dictatorship. Vilma had just given birth to a baby and Celia was visiting them. Vilma had married Raul Castro within days after the Jan. 1-1959 revolutionary victory and she became the mother to all four of his children. Beginning in 1957 right after he joined her Revolutionary War in the Sierra Maestra foothills of eastern Cuba, Fidel Castro worshipped the ground Celia Sanchez worked on, and at age 90 he still worships that Cuban ground to this very day.
        In Revolutionary Cuba the four most powerful leaders were pictured above. Left to right they are Vilma Espin, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Celia Sanchez. Fidel Castro -- on the day this photo was taken and today at age 90 -- rated the power and importance of these four in this exact order: #1 Celia; #2 Fidel; #3 Vilma; and #4 Raul. Now please remember that Americans are not supposed to know such facts because -- since the Batistianos and Mafiosi fled Cuba in their getaway planes and ships in the wee hours of January 1, 1959 -- the Cuban narrative in the U. S. has been dictated by anti-Castro Cuban exiles, which is now deep into a second generation as Fidel has aged to 90 and Raul to 85. Celia died of cancer on January 11, 1980; Vilma died of cancer on June 18, 2008. While all Cuban insiders know the history, power and achievements of Celia Sanchez and Vilma Espin, Americans are not supposed to know about them. That's so the lucrative vilifying of the macho Castro brothers can help sanitize what the Batista-Mafia dictatorship did in Cuba and what the Batistianos and Mafiosi have done since fleeing to U. S. soil, namely Miami. Of course, for machismo reasons...I reckon...it is better to maintain that burly macho men, certainly not beautiful women, were the prime reasons their greedy asses...pardon my language...got booted off the island.
        This photo shows a typical peasant family in Batista's Cuba during the years from 1952 till 1959 when the Batistianos, the Mafiosi and rich American businessmen were busy robbing the island blind. Families like this were not given a second thought, unless word of their treatment reached the United States where the tax dollars of U. S. citizens were supporting the army that supported the Batista-Mafia dictatorship.
      By 1953 a great New York Times reporter named Herbert L. Matthews was using America's most powerful newspaper to tell the U. S. people and the world what was happening in Cuba -- the extreme poverty among the peasants, the extreme thievery by the vile rulers and U. S. businessmen, and -- most shameful of all -- the murders of Cuban children, apparently as a warning to Cubans not to resist. The most famous of those murders involved little Willie Soler and his four schoolmates; their bodies were left in a vacant warehouse for their relatives to find. Today, if you manage to visit Cuba despite the U. S. embargo that still forbids such visits for everyday Americans, you can see a major children's hospital named for...William Soler. Herbert L. Matthews also chronicled for Americans street marches conducted by brave Cuban mothers, as shown above, about the murders of their children such as little Willie Soler. Contrast the previous two black-and-white photos with the earlier photos of modern-day Cuban children and you might comprehend the changes in Cuba wrought by heroic Cuban women like the mother shown marching above and, of course, like Celia Sanchez and Vilma Espin, the guerrilla fighters turned decision-makers.
       This is the front entrance to the William Soler Pediatrics Hospital in modern Havana. Now you know how and why this hospital got its name. For its entire existence, it has been hurt by the U. S. embargo that prevents it from getting some needed medical equipment and some medicines. A new poll shows that 63% of the Cuban-Americans even in Miami favor ending the embargo. Yet, the 8 Cuban-American anti-Castro zealots in the 535-member U. S. Congress -- especially Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Bob Menendez -- insist that the embargo remain in place. Amazingly, the U. S. democracy is not strong enough to over-rule them despite the U. S. government's agreement with the 191-to-0 vote in the United Nations denouncing the embargo. Meanwhile, Rubio, Cruz and Menendez -- fixtures in the U. S. Senate at least till they run for President -- never have to answer questions about the 191-to-0 UN vote, the 63% of Cuban-Americans who want the embargo ended, or about the fact that -- despite their self-serving belligerence -- poor little Cuba has one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates, lower than that in the United States and especially lower than that in Florida, New Jersey and Texas where Senators Rubio, Menendez and Cruz hail from.
         This photo shows a dedicated and highly trained doctor tending to a baby at the William Soler Pediatrics Hospital in Havana. This doctor and this precious Cuban baby are hurt by the U. S. embargo of Cuba...and the rich and powerful U. S. Senators Rubio, Menendez and Cruz don't seem to give a damn.
        This photo shows Samantha Power, the very decent United States Representative to the United Nations. She is shown here speaking at the UN back on Oct. 26-2016 explaining why she refused to vote to support the United States embargo of Cuba, and by abstaining she allowed the unanimous worldwide 191-to-0 denunciation of the embargo to go on the record. If you care enough about the embargo's affront to the United States and to democracy, go online and dial up Samantha Power's entire UN speech or read the transcript that is also available online and on the State Department's .gov website. Miss Power used one sentence to mention "the differences" the U. S. has with Cuba and she used many sentences to praise Cuba for what it does for women and children on the island and for what it does to help poor people like Africans when Ebola hit and Haitians when hurricanes hit. Of course, it seems that not enough Americans appear interested in what Samantha Power says but they listen to what Rubio, Menendez and Cruz say when they use the halls of Congress or the U. S. media to rant about how awful Revolutionary Cuba is while, of course, implying that Batista's Cuban hellhole was a Utopian paradise for the Cuban people.
U. S. Senators Cruz, Menendez & Rubio.
       I mentioned Herbert L. Matthews as the great New York Times reporter who had the guts to tell Americans about what was happening in Batista's Cuba. Other than that, Matthews -- who died at age 77 in 1977 -- is famed for a major historic episode during Cuba's Revolutionary War. In 1957 the vile U.S.-backed dictator Batista informed the Cuban people and his supporters in Washington that Fidel Castro had been killed by Cuban soldiers. It was a lie that Cubans and Washington believed but it didn't sit well with the most important Cuban rebel, Celia Sanchez. Celia had the biggest bounty on her head because Batista knew she was the main recruiter of rebels, weapons, money and supplies -- the necessary ingredients to sustain the revolution. Celia knew and cultivated the fact that Fidel was the hero to all the Cuban peasants, the people she depended on for support. She knew that if the peasants believed Fidel was dead, her war against Batista would be severely hurt. The brilliant and bold Celia thus devised a scheme. She knew she had many U. S. military and journalistic supporters, such as Matthews. So she bravely and astutely arranged to personally meet Matthews at a rail-head near the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains. She then used a mule and horse to take Matthews across rocky streams and through dense foliage and dangerous swamps up into the mountains. That's where Fidel waited at a base-camp. Matthews had a camera, as Celia insisted. She used his camera to take a photo of Matthews interviewing a live Fidel. That photo and the front-page article by Matthews in the New York Times disproved Batista's lie about Fidel being dead, one of many instances in which Celia Sanchez simply out-smarted the Batistianos.
   This is the photo with Matthews that proved Fidel was alive. 
 Dead men don't light cigars.
Celia Sanchez Manduley.
         Yes, it was her Cuban Revolution. In fact, today it is still her Revolutionary Cuba. Study two of her most famous quotations and you might agree: {1} "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives;" and {2} "We rebels get too much credit for winning the revolution. Most of the credit should go to our enemies because of their greed, stupidity and cowardice." And while you study those two historic quotations, you might begin to understand why Senators Rubio, Cruz and Menendez hope that you have never heard of the petite doctor's daughter Celia Sanchez but they'll tell you all about how mean the macho 90-year-old Fidel Castro is...so, you'll know such self-serving facts as zero is a larger number than 191, "so forget the UN vote and leave our embargo alone when we are so close to recapturing Cuba."
Celia Sanchez loved Cuba's children.
What do Rubio, Cruz, & Menendez love?

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