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    Fidel Castro's Secretary and Mistress Recounts the Final Days of the Revolution in Cuba -- a Personal, Revealing Album with Photo Inscribed by the Dictator An exceptionally historic document: a photograph album titled "Academia De Ciencias De Cuba -- Fotografias" housing a typed manuscript with tipped-in photographs, including an inscribed photograph of the dictator, Fidel Castro. Written and assembled by Celia Sanchez Manduley, "Secretaria En La Sierra De Fidel Castro Ruz," the album includes a 60-page article/book treatment entitled Relatos Sobre Los Ultimos Dias De Diciembre de 1958. (Versiones Taquigraficase-Consejo De Estado.) This unpublished work, Celia: Her Story -- The Woman Behind Fidel Castro, was written as a proposal for a memoir by Castro's mistress, purportedly by whom Fidel fathered a child. Known as the "Sister of the Revolution," during the war she lived in Manzanillo and helped organize support for the army that was building in the Sierra Maestra. After the Revolution, she was a top confident of Fidel and a leader in the Cuban women's movement. There is now a monument dedicated to her in her hometown, overlooking the "city to the sea." In 1990, Fidel personally dedicated a children's hospital and center for social work named in her honor. The final leaf of the album includes a transmittal invoice from an exporter in Panama who facilitated the document being forwarded to the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills. It was sent in 1985, just months before Celia died. In addition to the manuscript, there are 44 photographs, including several from the Bay of Pigs invasion. The frontis-portrait of a young Castro inscribed to his lover "Para Simpre, Fidel" (yours always) was received by Manduley during the course of their romance. Other photographs include Fidel consulting with his generals in the field, at press conferences, and speaking before large crowds. There are also photographs of various Cuban defense sites. Manduley's memoirs, written in Spanish, detail the events occuring during Fidel's revolution. In addition to describing actual occurrences, they provide insight to the devotion felt by his followers. Early in the memoirs Manduley writes: "I remember that all I was told was that Fidel did not allow them to go up into the mountains because there were not enough weapons for everyone, and he asked that only the armed ones go up into the mountains; amongst them was a young woman from a family that was settled there... That girl was 16 years old and that day she went up into the mountains..." Further on she writes: "The assassination of Amando Garcia was painful for the revolutionaries, because he was practically dismembered and then thrown in that little park... Exactly a month after Armando's death we were able to avenge his death, in the manner that I will relate... Two or three minions of the dictatorship were killed there." Discordance with the United States is already evident in Manduley's accounts as she describes Castro's use of the media as a tool to influence the public: "...a television appearance he was going to make in order to respond to the meddling of the President who was at that moment President of the United States, General Eisenhower, and he hurried to give an immediate response that was well deserved, to put him on alert that he was not disposed to accept any meddling in Cuba's affairs. This is when the confrontation with Cuban politics, a confrontation with the colonialist politics of the government that presides over that powerful nation of North America..." Other passages of note include descriptions of fighting side by side with Carmen Castro in a battle to free captured comrades, and the campaign for literacy mounted as part of the revolution. One particularly gripping passage details a small victory to save sparse military equipment during a battle against the forces financed by BANFAIC: "And then we covered the tank with banana plant leaves, many leaves, you couldn't see it at all. It looked like a giant mound of leaves, and this is how we were able to save the tank, the tank was saved." Given Celia's untimely death, the project this album proposed never evolved. This is certainly the only record of her reminiscences extant in this country. Ironically, a major motion picture is now being planned to document her life and struggle for the people of Cuba. Clearly a unique, one-of-a-kind record that offers tremendous insight by both a participant and witness to history. Accompanied by COA from PSA/DNA.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2005
    13th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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