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      Armando Hart Dávalos

      By Thomas Davies

      Armando Hart Dávalos, one of the fundamental organizers, thinkers and leaders of the Cuban Revolution of 1959 passed away on November 26, 2017. He leaves behind an incredible legacy that changed the face of Cuba and the world forever. He was 87.

      Hart was born June 13, 1930 in Havana. As a young lawyer in the early 1950's, he took a firm position in opposition to the U.S. backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. He was imprisoned and tortured on several occasions during this period.

      Undaunted, he was a founder of the revolutionary July 26 Movement and was part of the original leadership alongside Fidel Castro. He was the primary organizer of the urban underground movement in Cuba, which worked in support of the Rebel Army in the jungle. Every day was marked by acts of astounding heroism and bravery, as the young Cubans worked under constant threat of murder and torture by Batista's forces. He served as National Coordinator of the July 26 Movement, before being arrested and tortured again in 1958. He remained imprisoned until the dictatorship was defeated in 1959.

      Armando Hart was trusted as Cuba's first post-revolution Education Minister, and served until 1965. His first accomplishment was organizing the incredible recruitment of as many as 100,000 student volunteers who spread out to every corner of Cuba to eradicate illiteracy on the island in a single year. He was also Cuba's Minster of Culture from 1976 to 1997.

      He was a member of the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee from its foundation in 1965 until 1991, a member of the Council of State from 1976 until 2008 and a deputy to the National Assembly of People's Power, from its constitution until his death. His extensive intellectual work, deeply rooted in the ideas of Marx, Marti and Fidel, is considered among the best of Cuban revolutionary thought.

      Armando was the president of the José Martí Cultural Society and in 2010 he was awarded the Order of José Martí, the Council of State’s highest honor.

      Fire This Time salutes this incredible human being who embodied some of the best qualities of what Che Guevara described as “the New Man.” He dedicated his life to doing whatever was necessary to advance the struggle of poor, working and oppressed people, and succeeded in doing so.

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