Vilma Espin is dead – UPDATED

raul castro’s wife, Vilma Espin is dead at the age of 77. May her husband and brother in-law join her soon.
H/T to Fantomas
UPDATE: Our resident historian, Dr. Antonio de la Cova adds his two cents to the background of the “first lady of Cuba”.

Anita Snow[job] correctly stated that Vilma Espin “trained as a chemical engineer.” What she omitted from her article, which is not politically correct in Cuba, is that Espin’s degree was from an American university in Boston. Her interest in chemical engineering developed as a result of her father José Espín Vivar being an executive of Bacardi Rum Company in Santiago de Cuba. Her sister Nilsa was a member of the Cuban Socialist Youth delegation that included Raúl Castro, who in February 1953 traveled to Eastern European Communist countries. In consequence, when Nilsa later applied for a U.S. visa to study at the same university with her sister, it was denied. In the 1960s, Nilsa “committed suicide” in the office of Raúl Castro, with his gun. That same day, in Pinar del Río, her husband also “committed suicide.”

39 thoughts on “Vilma Espin is dead – UPDATED”

  1. Presiento otra muerte importante pronto, lo presiento, HUELE A MUERTE EN LA HABANA y las auras tiñosas se preparan para el festin…
    me informan que el mausoleo en el pico turquino ya esta listo

  2. Anita Snow[job] correctly stated that Vilma Espin “trained as a chemical engineer.” What she omitted from her article, which is not politically correct in Cuba, is that Espin’s degree was from an American university in Boston. Her interest in chemical engineering developed as a result of her father José Espín Vivar being an executive of Bacardi Rum Company in Santiago de Cuba. Her sister Nilsa was a member of the Cuban Socialist Youth delegation that included Raúl Castro, who in February 1953 traveled to Eastern European Communist countries. In consequence, when Nilsa later applied for a U.S. visa to study at the same university with her sister, it was denied. In the 1960s, Nilsa “committed suicide” in the office of Raúl Castro, with his gun. That same day, in Pinar del Río, her husband also “committed suicide.”

  3. yeah Raul’d be the Widow. Wouldn’t this be an opportune moment to substitute her corpse for el coma-andante’s and have it closed casket pa que nadie sepa. Then they could make up an excuse that Fidel had been kidnapped by los yanquis. i don’t know.

  4. You people, PLEASE have some respect! I am in mourning over the death of my good friend Vilma Espin. Boo hoo.

  5. Do you think Hilary Clinton will send flowers? Maybe she’ll send her condolences to raul?
    Among the thousands of classified KGB files provided by former KGB activist Vasili Mitrokhin (defected to Britain in 1992) to Christopher Andrew, a Cambridge history professor and co-author of the book, “The World Was Going Our Way,” were documents related to Americans who traveled to Cuba beginning in 1969 as part of the pro-Castro Venceremos Brigade. One of these Americans was Hilary Clinton. Hilary Roddam, as she was called when she went to Cuba, became close friends with Vilma Espín. They saw each other occasionally during the many conferences they both attended. They both hugged and kissed each other (on the cheek) during the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (Sept. 8, 1995), and then again on the Ninth Conference of Spouses of Heads of State and Government of the Americas during the “Women of the Americas: Agents of Change in Ottawa, Canada (October 1999). I’m sure Hilary will miss her.
    Raulita is sure to follow SOON! One can only hope his liver will finally burst.

  6. With deep regret and sympathy, I have asked Uva de Aragán to set up at our Center for Cubanologo Studies at FIU a book of condolences for Vilma Espin for the public to sign. We will then deliver it to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C.

  7. Lisandro, thanks for being so thoughtful. I have already telephoned Raul Castro with my condolences, who said to thank you for your solidarity. I will stop by FIU tomorrow to sign your book.

  8. Congratulations, Lisandro. That’s a great idea. I am going to start tomorrow a condolences book for Vilma Espin here in Pittsburgh.

  9. Mujeres y revolucion…
    LA MUJER CUBANA LLEVA 48 AÑOS SUFRIENDO DE UNA DICTADURA. ES UNA MUJER QUE NO TIENE LIBERTAD . QUE NO SE PUEDE CASAR E IR A VIVIR A UNA CASA DECENTE PARA FORMAR UNA FAMILIA. UNA MUJER QUE NO PUEDE VESTIR O CALZAR LO QUE QUIERE…UNA MUJER QUE VE A SUS PEQUEÑOS SIN LECHE DESPUES DE LOS 7 AÑOS. UNA MUJER QUE TIENE QUE HACER TRABAJO VOLUNTARIO OBLIGADA… SE HA MUERTO UNA GRAN PERRA MUJER EN CUBA QUE NO HIZO ABSOLUTAMENTE NADA EN CUBA POR ELLAS. LLEVATELA FUEGO..CREMALA BIEN

  10. Coño, Henry, le abriste el blog a todos los dialogueros castristas. I had never seen so many in one blog. What the hell is this? Lisandro formando un peo, Carmelo una cagada, y Bernardo, well, its obvious what he is by his last name.
    Their weeping for Vilma Espin reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and The Carpenter”:
    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.
    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.

  11. Anita Snow, or Anita Nieve (no Blanca), refers to Raul as “President” with a capital P, while refers to Batista’s regime as “dictatorship”. Double-standards again..

  12. In reaction to this news of Vilma’s demise, I don’t know why I keep on having visions of the Munchkins in the “Wizard of Oz” singing, “Din Dong, the Witch is Dead, the Witch is Dead!”

  13. This is but one more thing to plague Raul’s life. It is going to get worse for you Raul. We want to get our hands on you so badly. We want your actions judged then righteously punished. Soon you will swing, Raul. Soon you will swing…

  14. Ray,
    I was also singing that song last night after I heard the news. What do you think we will sing after raul’s and fidel’s death announcements?

  15. Well, Mrs. Clinton should certainly send flowers. I remember how she was all kissy-huggy publicly with Vil-ma at that gathering of (nominal) “first ladies” a few years back (which won’t stop her from trying to get all kissy-huggy with Cuban-American voters if she gets the Dem nomination, and some of them, sadly, will play along).
    Of course, on a purely technical level, the “first lady” of the Cuban dictatorship is Fidel’s hideous hag, Dalia, but I guess she looked too much like an old weatherbeaten hooker to be sent to an official function. At any rate, one vile cockroach down, legions to go.

  16. I bet Florida International University is in deep mourning and looto this morning over the passing of another communist friend. I say this not in jest but seriously. we all know about FIU and its tendencies. If anyone doesn’t like what I say, too bad.

  17. You know, I always have a hard time – morally/ethically when a reviled individual dies. On the one hand, with regards to Espin – I want to say
    “Great! Couldn’t be happier – I’ve been praying for your death just like I’m praying for the deaths of your husband and brother-in-law.”
    But, from a religious or moral standpoint – I just can’t do that. I’m glad she’s gone, as she was just as inhumane as the rest of them but, I guess I’ll never “pray for someone’s death,” no matter how evil. I realize this sounds quite strange and I don’t know why I’m rambling on about it – it was just something I was thinking about when I read the news this morning.
    At the very least, one of the “guilty” is now gone and perhaps this will speed the passing of the others. I don’t believe in revenge. I believe in progress. Perhaps Espin’s passing will be yet another contributing factor to progress in Cuba.
    I had some serious family issues last night, and I guess perhaps that’s why I’m being so darned introspective this morning.
    Best to all,
    -Anatasio

  18. Vilma was one of those rich, privileged girls who fall for the “radical chic” mystique. So was her sister, Nilsa, who ended up quite badly. Vilma, however, was made of stronger stuff, probably stronger than her husband, who has long needed help from the bottle.
    Vilma’s background and status were such that she could have had no real clue as to what life was like or about for ordinary Cuban women, neither before nor after 1959. That didn’t stop the regime from always officially putting her forward as “representing” ordinary Cuban women. This was not, of course, based on reality but on her position with respect to the Castro brothers, and her impeccable political reliability and orthodoxy. In other words, standard operating procedure.

  19. Does anybody have a good source on Vilma’s betrayal of Frank Pais, and in the back of my mind there is a vague memory of reading about her accusing as a rapist somebody she wanted to get rid off.

  20. No great loss — only worm gain.
    Like my momma says, “Un comunista menos…”
    Can’t believe the mia herald has her picture up and prominent on their main webpage; que partida de asquerosos.

  21. Anastasio,
    I don’t want revenge either, but I do want JUSTICE. Vilma Espín was never brought to justice for all the crimes she committed. I hope that all those who died because of her were there to greet her at the “Pearly Gates” to give her a big SEND OFF to HELL.

  22. Larry: Enrique Canto Bory, quien era tesorero del Movimiento 26 de Julio en Santiago de Cuba en el verano de 1957, cuando matan a Frank País, relata en sus memorias, “Mi Vida,” página 247: “Gloria Cuadras me comunicó que cuando ella se enteró de que la policía estaba registrando el barrio por donde estaba escondido Frank, avisó a Vilma para que las dos fueran a tratar de salvarle la vida. Vilma le aseguró que en esa casa no estaba escondido Frank, aunque luego dijo que el día anterior a su muerte había ido a visitar a Frank llamada por éste…pienso yo, y muchos como yo, que era alguien del movimiento que quería la eliminación física de Frank. Para muchos, Frank era el ídolo que le hacía sombra a Fidel.”

  23. Señor de laCova….
    De casualidad este señor Enrique Canto Bory era el consul de España en Santiago…. Hermano del dueño de la Francia…Definitivamente todo parece indicar que es a traves de Vilma que se descubre la localizacion de Frank … y su subsiguiente muerte

  24. Henry,
    Don’t be sorry, just make room on the “dance floor” for the rest of us. It will be very crowded for sure.

  25. Henry,
    Sorry I read it too fast (too much Cuban coffee).
    I am also NOT SORRY THAT SHE KICKED THE BUCKET, and I’m looking forward to the dancethon on their graves!

  26. Larry and AbajoFidel:
    Here is a biographical note about Enrique Canto Bory from my book “The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution.”
    Enrique Canto Bory (Dec. 24, 1909-Jan. 2, 1982), a Phalangist admirer of the Spanish monarchy and dictator Francisco Franco, had lived in Spain during 1918-33, where he attended Jesuit schools and dabbled in journalism. Upon returning to his native Santiago de Cuba, he worked as a clerk in his family’s department store and organized the Catholic Youth (JC) in Oriente province. Canto was also elected vice president of the Colonia Española Association in Santiago de Cuba. He provided safe houses, funds, and other assistance to underground activists of the 26 of July Movement during 1955-57. Canto served as National Treasurer of the movement during May-August 1957, having to go into exile in Spain when his role was discovered by the police. After the fall of the Batista regime, Canto assumed control of the Cuban Embassy in Madrid during January-Sept. 1959. Upon returning to Cuba, he was regarded as adverse to Communism because of his Catholic activism and denied a government post. On April 6, 1962, Canto was sentenced in Santiago de Cuba to twenty years in prison for being a member of a counterrevolutionary organization along with attorneys Carlos Peña-Justiz, José Valls Tamayo, Francisco Mendieta Tamayo, and thirty other people. His department store and bank account were confiscated by the government. Canto was released after two years and due to his Spanish citizenship became chancellor of the Spanish consulate in Santiago de Cuba. After applying for permission to migrate, he was arrested on Nov. 22, 1973 and released on April 1, 1974 and sent to Madrid. He went to live with a brother in Carolina, Puerto Rico, where he succumbed to cancer on Jan. 2, 1982.

  27. A comment deleted on another Blog, vis-a-vis our terrible response to Espin’s death. I deleted it myself. Frankly, my words were too heartfelt and honest to be on a rag like that.
    * * *
    “[. . .]
    “[L]et me put an end to all of this mumbo-jumbo. When I write “all liberals/leftists are morons” or “all liberals/leftists are dumber than a bag of hammers” or “all liberals/leftists are breathtakingly stupid” I am making a political statement. I am insulting a group of like-minded individuals, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds who espouse a political philosophy. I don’t care if they are white, Cuban, Black, Asian or Martian. I am describing my distaste for their political beliefs. I do not single out effete, white, Broward County liberals for my attack. (If the shoe fits…)
    “The problem with you Rick, and why I have called you a racist (and why you still are one despite the humorously Nixonian title of this post [“I am not a racist”]) is that you always single out “Cuban” hardliners. You never post about Anglos who share my belief (and there are many), you never single out Blacks who may share my beliefs (and there are some), or any other ethnic group who agree with us. No. You single Cubans out, one ethnic group with a specific set of beliefs. Beliefs, by the way, that were born out death, suffering and incalculable loss. I know you cannot relate because you are a spoiled asshole who has never faced a situation like we did. But when you have a grandmother who cried over the loss of her country, or a grandfather who regretted losing everything he had built over seventy years of hard work, when they ask you to rebury them in a homeland that they loved with all their heart, when your mother bemoans the loss of the country of her youth, then you can appreciate why some of us are “hardliners” and revel at the death of an evil bitch like Vilma Espin. I do not regret one letter of what I wrote. Not one. I hope Satan is using her as fuel for his hellish cookout. Am I glad she died? You betcha. Will I be glad when fidel dies? Goddamn right. I do not have to apologize to anyone for how I feel, especially you.
    “Rick, you are way too soft to understand us. Just stop trying. Stick to posting about South Beach or traffic or a restaurant opening or some other irrelevancy. We will continue to point out evil to whoever will listen. All that evil needs to triumph, a wise man once said, was for good men to do nothing.
    “You go on doing nothing. You are very good at it.”

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