Cuba: Veteran revolutionary Melba Hernandez passes away

March 11, 2014

The Cuban Communist Party said heroine Melba Hernandez, a member of the party’s Central Committee and parliamentary deputy passed away March 9, from complications linked to Diabetes Mellitus, a disease she had suffered from during years.

Hernandez was born July 28, 1921, in the town of Cruces, in the former Las Villas province, today’s Villa Clara in the centre of the country. Hernandez graduated as a lawyer in 1943 at the University of Havana.

She was among the first women to have joined the revolutionary movement headed by Fidel Castro and she actively fought the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship. She took part in the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada garrison, in eastern Santiago de Cuba and witnessed the murder of many of her compatriots.

Hernandez joined the Rebel Army in the Third Guerrilla Front, under the command of Juan Almeida Bosque. After the victory of the Cuban Revolution, she was assigned important responsibilities, such as president of the Cuban Committee in Solidarity with South Vietnam, and later similar committee in solidarity with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. She was also ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and director of the Centre for Studies on Asia and Oceania.

She received countless decorations and national and international distinctions, including Labour Heroine of the Republic of Cuba. As she requested, her body will be cremated and her ashes will be taken to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, along the mortal remains of her comrades who assaulted the Mocada garrison.

[Reprinted from the Cuban News Agency.]

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