General Data on Vilma Espin
Vilma Lucila Espin Guillois was born in the Santiago de Cuba City on April 7th, 1930. As a student she always excelled for her dedication to the study and particularly her dedication to mathematics, physics and chemistry. She later excelled in the practice of volleyball and participated in cultural activities such as the University Choir. Vilma Espin graduated in Cuba of Industrial Chemical Engineering on July 14th, 1954. That same year she traveled to the United States to pursue graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the end of her stay she received the instruction to go to Mexico City to fulfill revolutionary tasks. There she established strong ties with Fidel and Raul Castro. She participated in the armed uprising of Santiago de Cuba on November 30th, 1956 and in February of 1957 for security reasons she had to hide and go under pseudonyms Alice, Luz, Monica, Deborah and Mariela. She was Provincial Coordinator of the revolutionary movement in the East until June 1958. She was member of the National Directorate of the 26-7Revolutionary Movement. The persecution of the repressive forces of the dictatorship forced her to join the rebel army in the “Frank Pais” Second Eastern Front.
Vilma Espin and her political work after the revolutionary triumph
She was very intense in the revolutionary activity after the revolutionary triumph. She stands out among other things for being the founder of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC by the Spanish Acronyms), on August 23rd, 1960. This organization facilitated the organization of first aid courses and promoted the incorporation of women into the National Revolutionary Militias. She also established dressmaking courses and integrated the National Literacy Commission. Later she mentored the association of housewives to educational monitoring plan to achieve the sixth and ninth grades and promoted the creation of overcoming classrooms for adults. She directed and led, in 1961, the creation of the Ana Betancourt School for Rural, and the Night Domestic Schools. In 1962 she created the “Fe del Valle”. Cadre School. She presided from 1969 to 1976 the Institute for Children, an organization that unified the management of children’s institutions in the country. She was technical director of the Ministry of Food Industry (MINAL by the Spanish acronyms). From there she stimulated scientific and technical research and in 1972 led to the creation of the National Working Group on Sex Education (GNTES by the Spanish acronyms), which was formalized in 1977 and assistant from 1981 to the Standing Committee for the Care of Children, Youth and equal Rights of Women of the National Assembly of People’s Power. She founded and chaired since 1987 the Commission on Prevention and Social Attention attached to the Council of Ministers. She joined the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) since 1965 and received ratification in subsequent conferences. She chaired the Working Committee that under her leadership drafted the Theses on the Full Exercise of Women’s Equality, scoring conceptual and programmatic guidelines on the subject. In 1980 she was elected as an alternate member of the Political Bureau and promoted in the Third Congress of the organization as a full member until 1991. On December 2nd, 1976 at the the National Assembly of People’s Power she was elected deputy and member of the State Council. She received many awards, titles, national and international orders, among which stand out the honorary title “Heroine of the Republic of Cuba”, the “Lenin Peace” Order and the “Mariana Grajales” Award. Vilma died in Havana on June 18th, 2007. Her remains rest in the Frank Pais II Eastern Front Fighters Mausoleum in Mayari Arriba, northwest of the Sierra Maestra Mountains.