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Vilma Espín Guillois
1930 - 2007
Cuban revolutionary leader and feminist. Founder and Eternal
President of the Cuban Federation of Women
Excerpt from opening of the fifth Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), 1990.
Are not women who suffer most severely the consequences of the economic crisis that hits the dispossessed majorities with fury, also affecting other social classes of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean?
Women suffer with all drama the impact of inflation, the high cost of living, lack of food, schools, medical services for their children: poverty, hunger, despair; they are the ones who work in inhuman underemployment that offers them miserable pay, who are employed in the maquiladora industries, who receive lower salaries than any place, who are first thrown out on the streets when unemployment is imposed.
Tens of thousands of women are forced to go into prostitution so that their families can survive. Can a more terrible situation be conceived in the twentieth century than that of those unhappy Dominicans suffocated in a container on a ship when they were transferred as vulgar merchandise on their way to become prostitutes on another Caribbean island?
Today, women are part of the current reality, of the economic, political and social problems facing our countries; in the woman of this continent there is the will to act and respond to the call of this epoch.”
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