Flowers / Regina Coyula

In the history of the Cuban Revolution, there was a woman who had Fidel’s total confidence, the custodian of documents from the insurrection and the early years after the revolution took power. She did not want military ranks and, in spite of her power and influence, always stayed discreetly in the background. Upon her death in 1980, she became Celia Sánchez, the most autochthonous flower of the Revolution. And it has been thus until these last few days of August, when the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Federation of Cuban Women was celebrated. For this reason, there has been much talk about Vilma Espín, its founder and president, who also had a résumé that started in her native Santiago with Frank País between 1955 and 1956, and who passed away last year. And Vilma, who had never been referred to by any designations, became the most universal flower of the Revolution.

Autochthonous is what is native to a country; universal, to state the obvious, refers to the whole universe. It’s impossible to forget that Celia was Fidel’s right hand and Vilma was Raúl’s wife, and to use the same designation, changing only one word, leaves Celia at a local, domestic level, whereas Vilma acquires an ecumenical connotation.

The desire to give an almost mythical aura to the Revolution’s historic figures reminds me of the old social pages that referred to the “highly-educated, beautiful and genteel señorita“, now transformed to the “insightful, fierce and loyal compañera“.

I thought of the paucity of ideas, so common in the media the government uses for its propaganda; and then I wondered if this might be the expression of a movement that aims to put itself on good terms with Raúl, given Fidel’s condition. In any case, there is no fixed time for the ridiculous.

Translated by: Espirituana

September 3, 2010