Celia Sánchez

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Celia Sanchez
Born (1920-05-09)May 9, 1920
Manzanillo, Cuba
Died January 11, 1980(1980-01-11) (aged 59)

Celia Sánchez Manduley (May 9, 1920 – January 11, 1980) was a participant of the Cuban Revolution and a close friend, and consort of Fidel Castro.[1]

She was born in Media Luna,[2] Oriente, Cuba. Sánchez joined the struggle against the Batista government following the coup of March 10, 1952. She was the founder of the 26th of July Movement in Manzanillo.[3] Together with Frank País she was one of the first women to assemble a combat squad during the revolution.[4] She made the necessary arrangements throughout the southwest coast region of Cuba for the Granma landing, and was responsible for organising reinforcements once the revolutionaries landed.[5] In 1957, she joined the guerrillas and served as messenger. Celia placed small telegrams inside a Butterfly flower, so the messages would remain secret. As a member of the general staff of the Rebel Army she supplied Che Guevara and other rebels with weapons, occasionally food and medical supplies.[6]

During the mid to late 1960s, René Vallejo, Castro's physician since 1958,[7] and Sanchez became the Cuban leader's two closest companions.[7] Sánchez was bestowed with the title of Secretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers[8] and served in the Department of Services of the Council of State until her death of lung cancer in 1980.[7]

A memorial to and mausoleum for Celia Sanchez was built in Parque Lenin, however As of November 2014 the remains of Celia Sanchez are interred in the Colon Cemetery, Havana. The Celia Sánchez Memorial in Manzanillo also honors her name.


  1. ^ Pressly, Linda (December 11, 2011). "BBC News - Celia Sanchez: Was she Castro's lover?". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved December 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ramonet, Ignacio, Fidel Castro: My Life. Penguin Books: 2007, p. 681
  3. ^ Ramonet, Ignacio, ibid, p. 681
  4. ^ Celia Sánchez, pg.76 by Richard Haney, John Van Houten Dippel, Algora, 2005
  5. ^ Ramonet, Ignacio, ibid, p. 682
  6. ^ Guevara, Ernesto, "Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War", p.312, Harper Perennial, 2006
  7. ^ a b c The Socialist Register 1989, NOTES ON THE CUBAN REVOLUTION, Saul Landau, pg. 296
  8. ^ Fidel Castro, leader of communist Cuba, pg. 53, Compass Point Books, 2006

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