Last December 30, Heidi Santamaria, our heroine of Moncada, celebrated her centenary. We cannot let her die. Recognition of its heroic scale is an act of historical justice. This implies a reassertion of the necessary paradigms at the level of consciousness in order to continue to defend our project of human emancipation. They cannot be frozen on marble statues. Their greatness lies in the fact that they were able to achieve this from their fragile human condition, shared by all of us.
Gaide experienced horror and the most excruciating pain when, in Moncada, she was shown the remains of her dear brother’s gouged eye. And he knew how to get up to fight and work.
You must protect life is an extensive collection of texts by Heidi Santamaria, compiled by Jaime Gómez Triana and Ana Niria Albo Diaz, recently co-published by Casa de las Américas and Uneac.
For those of us who have had the privilege of knowing Yeye, reading these pages makes our hands shudder and burn. We again listen to his voice in order to meet his living word, the bearer of essential authenticity, as is found in interviews, conversations and conferences and in the correspondence collected in this volume in strict chronological order.
The events of a great story are intertwined with bright flashes of personal confession. Other readers will discover the man, as well as the basic keys to a culture of dialogue and the art of politics.
Heidi Santamaria was born in the Constantia factory, currently Abel Santamaria. Endowed with exceptional intuition, sensitivity and intelligence, in this limited environment, she was able to overcome only elementary school. Yet from an early age, under the guidance of her brother Abel, she began to learn about life, society and culture.
Far from abstract generalizations, the training began with the gradual discovery of hidden contradictions in its immediate context, the role of the manufacturers, the conditions in which the most helpless survived, and the alienated awareness of one’s own family, relatively privileged due to the fact that employment throughout the year and adhered to mindset of the exploiters. Being critical of her parents never destroyed the deep love that bound her to them.
When Abel and Heide moved to Havana, the teacher’s work continued with increasing intensity. The apartment for 25 years O became a space where, under the leadership and constant presence of Fidel, ideas, projects and concrete actions were forged in order to overthrow tyranny and build a dream country.
Heide developed a habit of reading that she never gave up. Marty forever became his companion both in the torment and loneliness of prison, and in the fruitful creative work undertaken after the victory of the Revolution. As it should be in all true learning, the process overlapped with the knowledge gathered by printed writing and the challenges imposed by the pulsating reality of life, because reading is an active dialogical practice. For the pages of the book to make sense, the reader must ask questions that spring from his innermost being and his circumstances.
In this coexistence, in the midst of all sorts of dangers, Abel sowed in a spirit endowed with sensitivity, intuition and innate intelligence, values among which were incorruptible fidelity to the cause, confidence in the transforming power of love and the way approaching the complexity of human beings, taking into account individual traits, never without exposing the abstract division into good and bad.
Assuming the subtlety of Heide, this way of contemplating the other would later be revealed in the contrasting portraits of Abel and Frank Pais. This will also show up in her personal correspondence, which will reach a wide range of recipients, from world-famous intellectuals to ordinary citizens and some of the counter-revolutionaries who were in prison and addressed her.
After the victory of the Revolution, Heidi Santamaria assumed responsibility for the creation, development and strengthening of the Casa de las Américas, one of our cultural institutions that has received high international recognition and left its mark on the history of our culture.
Until then, dedicated to fighting in the Sierra and on the plains, she did not have the opportunity to frequent the artistic environment. But through struggle, he acquired the necessary knowledge. Convinced that, as Fidel declared, having arrived in Havana in the midst of the euphoria of the victorious people, the most difficult is yet to come.
With this vision, Heide realized the urgent need to strengthen cultural ties between the countries of Latin America. He has formed a large team of diverse cultural backgrounds deeply committed to the liberation project Our America.
He had the cooperation, advice, and critiques of Latin American intellectuals who remained for a time working in what became his House. We should remember, among many others, Manuel Galich, Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Mario Benedetti, as well as Roque Dalton, Haroldo Conti and Rodolfo Walsh.
Heide’s unifying force, her charisma, came from the incorporation into everyday life and political activity of the values once embedded in her spirit, from the close union between incorruptible dedication to the cause and her way of establishing a dialogue with various interlocutors.
One hundred years after her birth, on a planet that has changed a lot, Heidi’s teachings are still needed. Let’s listen to her voice and learn from her.
Source: Juventud Rebelde