Different from the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Vilma Espin Guilloys is the only Cuban woman that has participated in government affairs in Cuba. She has been described as the most powerful woman in the Cuban Revolution. Little information has been published in the international press about her life. Early reports indicated that her health has declined since 2000.
She was member of the Cuban aristocratic in the 1940s and 1950s. Her father was vice-director of the Bacardi Run Company. She speaks Spanish and English very well. Her mother’s French ancestry. Vilma enjoy reading and watching sports. Like member of Castro’s family, she lives in luxurious residences. She is famous because is wife of Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz. Currently Raul Castro is acting president of Cuba. Furthermore, he is first Vice-President of the Council of State, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, Vice-Secretary of the Politburu and the Central Committee of Communist Party of Cuba.
After completing her education as chemical engineering in her country, she went to the United States to attend at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the best engineering schools in the United States. During the civil war she returned to La Havana. Vilma had known Raul Castro when she was leader of the Cuban Women’s Movement. In 1959, guerrilla forces captured Havana city, the Cuba’s capital. Batista regime was deposed by Fidel Castro.
During the Cold War, Fidel Alejandro Ruz is as dictatorial as his predecessor. The country’s politics is gradually dominated by Castro Ruz family. The new dictator maintained control over the population thought his secret police organization. Castro regime became notorious for human rights violation and anti-American politics. Since 1961, the Island emerged as the first Socialist State in Latin America. After Vilma Espin made herself President of the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC) and she assumed full control of the Cuban woman.
Like Maria Lucia Hiriart de Pinochet (former First Lady of Chile: 1973-1990), Alicia Raquel Hartridge de Videla (ex- First Lady of Argentina: 1976-1981) and Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez Marcos (ex- First Lady of Philippines: 1965-1986), Vilma Espin cooperated with one of the six worst dictatorships in the World. After Cuba became Socialist Republic, Soviet Bloc economic and military aid to Revolution Cuba’s increased. Ms. Espin immediately began a number of reforms, including human development programs and sporting projects. She built many schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, and stadiums. But she support human rights abuses by national government.
During the 1960s and 1970s Cuban intellectuals, as Lezama Lima, Heberto Padilla, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and Reynaldo arenas, called for more freedom of expression and many women renewed their efforts to gain recognition for human rights. Certainly, strict control of the lives of the families emerged. Under her leadership, the abortion was declared legal and the “Marxist Education” has received emphasis in the schools, Institutes, academies and universities.
Ms Espin has carried out major diplomatic missions on behalf of the Cuban dictatorship. She was selected by Soviet World to become anti-American activist in the United Nations World Conferences on Women ( Mexico-75, Denmark-80 and Kenya-85).After Cuban government broke off diplomatic relations with Chile, Vilma Espin became an outspoken critic of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. Certainly, she won popularity in the Socialist Universe. From 1960 to 1990, she went to the USSR, East Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other nations. As First Lady of the Cuban revolution, she established good relations with the Third World states.
In 1976, she introduced “The Family Code”, a project about the social equality between men and women in the Island. Ironically, internationals reports which Cuba has the lowest proportion of ministers and congresswoman in its government, exceeded by Liberia, Seychelles and Mozambique.
She is an outspoken critic of capitalist society, but the prostitution is growing in the Island. For many opportunities, Cuba has been compared to Thailand. the prostitution contributes more income to Cuba’s economy.
Vilma Espin de Castro has been called “the facto First Lady of Cuban revolution because she is not Fidel’s wife. Certainly, Dalia Soto del Valle is the real First lady of the Cuban Revolution because she is married with Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz since the 1980s.
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