The revolution may not have succeeded, however, but for a woman—Celia Sánchez .
Celia Sánchez Manduley (1920-1980) was born in Media Luna, Oriente, and at an early age became a dedicated anti-Batista revolutionary.
Later, as a leader in Castro’s 26th of July Movement , she chose the landing site for the Granma  (the boat bringing Castro and his revolutionary army from Mexico ) and set up and ran the network that smuggled munitions and supplies to Castro’s Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra  mountains.
She also saw combat at the Battle of Uvero.
Sánchez was 36 years old when she met Fidel for the first time, on February16, 1957. She became his secretary and, some say, his lover.
For many years she was the most important person in Fidel Castro’s life and held various important positions in the Castro government and launched many projects that enriched the lives of Cubans, from parks to literacy programs… even helping to develop the Cohiba  brand of cigar.
She was Fidel’s compass and kept him in touch with the people: She helped balance and minimize Fidel’s absolutist side and was one of only a handful of people who could give him news and opinions he didn’t want to hear.
Her death from cancer in January 1980 profoundly shook Castro and removed from his life the only person with whom he could truly relax.
Now a new book by my friend Nancy Stout casts a spotlight on this remarkable “missing actor” of the Cuban Revolution.
The product of ten years original research, One Day in December—Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution  draws on interviews with Sánchez’s friends, family, and comrades in the Rebel Army, along with countless letters and documents.
Nancy Stout was originally barred from the official archives (ironically, it was Sánchez who collected the documents that would form the archives of the Revolution) but, in a remarkable twist, was granted access by Fidel Castro himself.
Says a press release by publisher Monthly Review: “This is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary woman who exemplified the very best values of the Cuban Revolution: selfless dedication to the people, courage in the face of grave danger, and the desire to transform society.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author, poet, and activist Alice Walker  wrote the foreword.
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