Saturday, May 26, 2018

A 90th Birthday for Marta Rojas

    A great Cuban has celebrated a great birthday on the island. Marta Rojas turned 90-years-old a few days ago. She was born on May 17th, 1928, in Santiago de Cuba. As a revolutionary, a journalist, and an author, she is nonpareil as a Cuban treasure.
      The photo above shows Marta Rojas with Fidel Castro in the very early days of Revolutionary Cuba. Note her smile and his expression on that happy Cuban day.
          In December of 1959 it was Marta Rojas, as shown above, who introduced Fidel Castro for his very first television address to the Cuban people as their new leader.
    When I was in Cuba in 2004, with permission from the fiercely counter-revolutionary George W. Bush administration, to research Cuba's incomparable revolutionary heroine Celia Sanchez, the notable journalist Tracey Eaton told me that Marta Rojas knew more about Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro, and the Cuban Revolution than any person on the planet. He also told me she was "one of the sweetest humans on the planet." Through Tracey I got to know Marta and all of Tracey's glowing introductory remarks were true. Graciously, she helped me with my biography of Celia Sanchez via email exchanges after I returned to Wyoming. As the planet's greatest expert on Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro, and their remarkable Revolution, Marta told me in a 2005 email, "Since Celia died of cancer in 1980, Fidel has ruled Cuba only as he precisely believes she would want him to rule it." To this day, in my firm opinion, that is the most definitive sentence that has ever described the historic relationship between two of history's greatest revolutionary figures.
     The photo above shows Marta Rojas at age three on a hot day in Santiago de Cuba in 1931. The umbrella protected her from the tropical sun. Of all the people still alive today, no one worked more closely with Celia Sanchez and Fidel Castro as Marta did, and no living soul knows as much about Celia and Fidel as Marta does.
       As indicated above, two generations of Cubans have very wisely listened to Marta Rojas on issues related to either the Cuban Revolution or Revolutionary Cuba.
     Now at age 90, Marta Rojas, shown here on the right holding the microphone, still knows much more about the Revolution and today's Cuba than anyone else.
      And speaking of definitive quotations, The Woman believes that Celia Sanchez herself best defined the Cuban Revolution: "We rebels...get far too much credit for winnng the revolution. Our enemies deserve most of the credit, for being greedy cowards and idiots." Of course, since 1959 the Cuban narrative in the United States compels Americans to disagree with Celia Sanchez but, from its start in 1952 until whenever it might end, history's greatest female guerrilla fighter and revolutionary leader knew far more about that unique event than all of America's counter-revolutionaries -- Celia's "enemies" -- ever thought about knowing. And that's why Celia Sanchez won and that's why her imprint to this day helps explain the startling longevity, against overwhelming odds, of history's most redoubtable revolution.

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