An Ode to a Flower: Celia Sánchez Manduley

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Celia Esther de los Desamparados Sánchez Manduley, or simply Celia, was born on May 9, 1920 in the central Isabel, in the municipality of Media Luna.

She was the daughter of Acacia Manduley Alsina and Doctor Manuel Sánchez Silveira, a father who greatly influenced his daughter’s personality due to his advanced liberal ideas.

The history of Cuba will never forget Celia for her transcendental role in the liberation struggle of our country against the Batista regime. Her actions began underground from her beloved town of Manzanillo and because of her actions and confidence she answered to the orders of Frank País García, her main leader.

Norma, Lilian, Carmen, Caridad and Aly were the pseudonyms used by Celia in the underground and guerrilla. This woman would occupy the first ranks as a soldier in the Rebel Army and later in the Mariana Grajales women’s battalion, which among other functions would have the responsibility of safeguarding Fidel Castro‘s security in the Sierra Maestra.

Celia’s life was intense before and after the Triumph of the Revolution. After 1959 important tasks were part of this tireless fighter. The creation of the Office of Historical Affairs of the Council of State, an institution that keeps the historical memory of our Revolution and of which she is its founder.

Secretary of the Council of State, deputy to the Parliament, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and of the National Directorate of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), were other responsibilities carried by this woman who was always accompanied by her smile, delicacy and butterfly flower.

Celia is and will always be an example for Cuban women. She proved that from femininity it is possible to achieve and fight for any goal. She, our most autochthonous flower, on her 101st birthday is remembered in the simplest and most straightforward way, far from all ostentation, which she rejected with total reluctance.

As the intellectual Amando Hart rightly claimed, she was great in her heroic abnegation, in her wholehearted loyalty, in her love for the work of the Revolution, in her passionate interest for the others.

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