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Espín de Castro, Vilma (1930–2007)

Vilma Espín de Castro (b. 1930, d. 2007), Cuban revolutionary and feminist. Vilma Espín was part of the underground resistance that fought to overthrow Fulgencio Batista and offered intelligence assistance to Fidel Castro's 26 July 1952 attack on the Moncada Barracks. She studied chemical engineering at the University of Oriente, graduating in 1954, and then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She left her studies to join Castro's movement in the Sierra Maestra mountains in 1956, where she married Raúl Castro. After the overthrow of Batista's government, Espín rode into Havana with the triumphant revolutionary army. She became president of the new Federation of Cuban Women in 1960. In 1969 she became director of industrial development in the Ministry of Food Industries, and in 1971 she was named president of the Institute of Child Care. Espín joined the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party in 1965. She became a member of the Council of State in 1976 and of the Politburo of the Communist Party in 1986. She was removed as a member of the Central Committee in 1989. Although it was never officially confirmed, most sources indicate that she and Raul divorced, but they still appeared together at formal functions, and Vilma Espín maintained an active public role in Cuba. She died on 18 June 2007, at age seventy-seven.

See alsoBatista y Zaldívar, Fulgencio; Castro Ruz, Fidel; Castro Ruz, Raúl; Cuba, Organizations: Federation of Cuban Women (FMC); Cuba, Political Parties: Communist Party; Cuba, Revolutions: Cuban Revolution.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Additional Bibliography

Luciak, Ilja A. Gender and Democracy in Cuba. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.

                                        K. Lynn Stoner

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Espín de Castro, Vilma (1930–2007)

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