As a follow up to my print entitled “Sin Las Mujeres No Hay Revolución”, a portrait of Cuba revolutionary Vilma Espin, I have created this portrait of “La Paloma” Celia Sanchez. These pieces are intended to celebrate the women whose contributions to the Cuban revolution are immeasurable but whose names and faces are much less recognizable than those of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Fidel and Raul Castro.
In a letter to her father Celia Sanchez explained why she joined revolutionary efforts:
“Every day I see how much Cuba needed this revolution. We conceived of a revolutionary consciousness and we have attained it. You know this country has always been enamored of caudillos and this is how Fidel was made. I was always afraid that he would be killed, and that besides losing a great asset, that people would abandon us in the Revolution; these fears are now history, and now the people have a real sense of their own feelings and the revolution is above all else.” (Letter dated September 26, 1957, from Julia Sweig, Inside the Cuban Revolution, p.59, Harvard University 2002)
Celia was a highly skilled organizer and network builder and “she joined the clandestine 26th of July Movement and went on to choose the landing site of the Granma and fight with the rebels in the Sierra Maestra. She was responsible for developing the Cuban cigar brand Cohiba, state parks as well as establishing literacy programs. Even years after Sanchez passed, according to one source it was said that “since Celia Sanchez died of cancer in 1980, Fidel has continued to rule Cuba only as he precisely believes Celia would want him to rule it.”