Rich Haney | CeliaSanchez.org
I believe the greatest untold story concerning the historic Cuban Revolution is the major role played by Cuban women in both the Revolutionary War that ousted the Batista dictatorship and, since 1959, in Revolutionary Cuba.
Celia Sanchez was not only the most out-raged anti-Batista Cuban but she emerged as the “most important” rebel leader and the “greatest” guerrilla fighter, to quote a man who would know—Fidel Castro.
Another man who would know is Roberto Salas, the famed photographer/journalist who was/is an intimate of both Celia Sanchez and Fidel Castro. Salas, in his book A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION, stated: “Celia 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.”
No living soul knows more about Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro, the Cuban Revolution, and Revolutionary Cuba than the legendary revolutionary/journalist/author Marta Rojas, also an intimate of both Celia and Fidel. Marta told me in 2005: “Since Celia died of cancer in 1980, Fidel has ruled Cuba only as he precisely believes she would want him to rule it.”
Considering the massive effect the Cuban Revolution has had on world and current events, far out of proportion to the island’s size, I believe Americans in particular should know the vital and often dominant role Cuban women such as Celia Sanchez, Haydee Santamaria, Vilma Espin, Tete Puebla, etc., played in the Cuban Revolution.
Further, in stark contrast to pre-1959, a second generation of Cuban women—led by Josefina Vidal—are major players in the ongoing quest to determine whether Havana (and not Miami or Washington) rules Cuba. Vidal is Cuba’s Minister of North American Affairs and she makes the major decisions on the island regarding Cuba’s relations with the U. S. and the Cuban exiles.
A Celia Sanchez disciple, Vidal’s decisions are never over-ruled by the Castro brothers or anyone else; thus, I believe Americans in particular should get to know the current Josefina Vidal generation of Cuban women as well as the Celia Sanchez generation of Cuban women.
I have studied the Cuban Revolution day-and-night for over two decades; I have been to Cuba and I have met Fidel Castro, once his aides determined that seventeen Celia Sanchez-to-Nora Peters letters (written from 1953 to 1979) that I took with me were indeed the actual hand-writing of Celia Sanchez, the one person that Fidel Castro has worshipped above all others, as pointed out by, among many others, Castro’s seminal U. S. biographer Georgie Anne Geyer.
My first biography of Celia Sanchez was published by Algora Publishing of NYC in 2005.