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      Our Heritage - Vilma Espín Guillois

      Cuban revolutionary leader and feminist. Founder and Eternal President of the Cuban Federation of Women -

      And all of the peoples of our America, faced with the harassment of imperialism, have stood up and demanded that their governments defend Cuba’s right to win its definitive independence.

      Independence that is spelled out in the complete abolition of latifundism, in the nationalization of factories, in the Urban Reform which recognizes the right of every man to possess the roof over his head, in growing industrialization, in the struggle against illiteracy and low cultural levels – the root of all superstitions and fanaticism; in the creation finally of a new consciousness. Everyone who visits Cuba can already feel this new consciousness in the atmosphere, this consciousness which has returned to the Cuban the dignity of a free and independent people which can now stand up erect face to face with its friends and enemies, no matter how great be their stature. Now for the first time we can speak out without having our answers dictated to us. On our feet and not on our knees, which is an unworthy posture, not to speak of being highly uncomfortable for carrying on a conversation. And we are ready to converse with the whole world, including the United States, whenever we are both standing or both seated, which is even more comfortable. But as equal to equal and without any attempt to force the agenda on us beforehand.

      Excerpt from Speech to Latin American Conference (1961)

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