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Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary

She Led by Transgression

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Taking part in the Cuban Revolution’s first armed action in 1953, enduring the torture and killings of her brother and fiancé, assuming a leadership role in the underground movement, and smuggling weapons into Cuba, Haydée Santamaría was the only woman to participate in every phase of the Revolution. Virtually unknown outside of Cuba, Santamaría was a trusted member of Fidel Castro’s inner circle and friend of Che Guevara. Following the Revolution’s victory Santamaría founded and ran the cultural and arts institution Casa de las Americas, which attracted cutting-edge artists, exposed Cubans to some of the world’s greatest creative minds, and protected queer, black, and feminist artists from state repression. Santamaría’s suicide in 1980 caused confusion and discomfort throughout Cuba; despite her commitment to the Revolution, communist orthodoxy’s disapproval of suicide prevented the Cuban leadership from mourning and celebrating her in the Plaza of the Revolution. In this impressionistic portrait of her friend Haydée Santamaría, Margaret Randall shows how one woman can help change the course of history.

From Publishers Weekly

May 25, 2015 – Randall (Che on My Mind) revisits the life and accomplishments of her close friend Hayd e Santamar a, viewing her as a symbol of both the achievements and the limitations of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution. Santamar a, one of just two women who participated in the rebels' 1953 attack on the Moncada army barracks, was in Randall's view the epitome of the "spirit of politics as a set of human relationships" that characterized the early years of the Cuban revolution. She fought against gender and racial discrimination, aiming to carry revolutionary ideology into all aspects of Cuban life at a time when many of her fellow Communists "considered feminism a dirty word." Her greatest accomplishment was the founding and stewardship of Havana's Casa de las Am ricas, an institution that promotes Cuban art and artists. But despite Santamar a's achievements at the Casa and her prestige as a participant in every phase of the revolution, her suicide in 1980 diminished her reputation within Cuba, as it was considered a self-centered and counterrevolutionary act. Randall is clear that this book is an "impressionist portrait," not a biography, and readers unsympathetic to the Castro regime may see Randall as insufficiently critical of its authoritarianism, but Santamar a's story is one which should be told, and Randall does so vividly and insightfully.
Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary
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  • $23.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jul 20, 2015
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Seller: Duke University Press
  • Print Length: 248 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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