Vilma Espín: love and courage

Vilma Espín, the Rose in the Cuban garden

Vilma Espín Guillois, was born on April 7, 1930, in the city of Santiago de Cuba where she studied since elementary school; she also learned singing, ballet and was the captain of the volleyball team at the University.

Besides being a clandestine fighter and guerrilla fighter, she dedicated most of her life to the emancipation of women, to the defense and integral development of children. She was an outstanding revolutionary fighter, linked to the conspiratorial activities against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. She became a daring clandestine fighter under the pseudonym of Deborah and under the orders of the young Santiago de Cuba leader Frank País García, she fought in the uprising of Santiago de Cuba on November 30, 1956. As a member of the National Directorate of the 26th of July Movement, she was appointed Provincial Coordinator of the organization in the province of Oriente, a task she performed with particular ability and bravery.

She was the young graduate of Chemical Engineering at the University of Oriente who devoted her youth and enthusiasm to the fulfillment of important and risky missions in the clandestine struggle.

She joined the Rebel Army in the II Eastern Front, founded by the then Commander Raúl Castro Ruz with whom she married at the Triumph of the Revolution, a union from which four children were born.

After the Triumph of the Revolution, she assumed a leading role in society; she chaired since its creation the National Commission for Prevention and Social Attention, and the Commission for Children, Youth and Women’s Equal Rights of the National Assembly of People’s Power. She was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and of the Council of State. She received the title of Heroine of the Republic of Cuba and the Order of Playa Girón.

On August 23, 1960 she founded the Federation of Cuban Women, which she presided over until her death in Havana on June 18, 2007. The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, wrote about her: “Vilma’s example is more necessary today than ever. She devoted her whole life to fight for women when in Cuba most of them were discriminated as human beings as in the rest of the world”.

With beauty and joy always in her face, her sweetness and great human sensitivity, Vilma is one of those Cuban women of great revolutionary and political merits.

Mirtha Carrazana Tabares

About Mirtha Carrazana Tabares

Mirtha Carrazana periodista y directora de Radio Grito de Baire

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