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 1960's, 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] The Celia Sánchez Memorial in Manzanillo 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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