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Our Heritage - Haydée Santamaría
Haydée Santamaría is a fundamental leader of the Cuban Revolution. She and Melba Hernandez were the two women who participated in the assault on the Moncada Army Barracks on July 26, 1953. Led by Fidel Castro, the assault was a military failure, but it is credited as the spark that lit the flame of the Cuban Revolution. Haydée survived prison and was a founder of the 26th of July Movement, which led the Cuban Revolution to victory in 1959. She founded and directed, “La Casa de las Américas”, which became the most important cultural institution in Latin America. Haydée was also an original member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.
"I AM NOT GOING TO SAY that we went to Moncada to make a socialist revolution. It is not so. We went there with the idea of making a change, so that better men might govern and so that men would not steal, but not exactly to make that change. Once there, I felt the change to be urgent. But if we went there without intending to make a radical change, it was to make some change, and it was to tell our people, our country: "There are those who die for the flag," for the same flag we have today, for the flag we love today.
We knew little about profound changes; we could not determine what the change would be when it came; but we knew that Fidel would determine what it would be like, and that we would make it what our people wanted it to be.
And we knew that our flag would continue to be our flag.
We went to Moncada as disciples of Martí. Today we are Marxists, but we have not abandoned Martí, for there is no contradiction."
From "Moncada: Memories of the attack that launched the Cuban Revolution"(Lyle Smart Inc, 1980)
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