Words of Love for the Celia Hart I Knew, in memoriam
Manuel Talens – Rebelión, Cubadebate and Tlaxcala
There are some kinds of news that one prefers not to believe, they are so very painful. A dear friend informed me by email of the death of Celia Hart in a terrible car accident which took place in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana, at Third Avenue and 46th Street. She was in a car with her brother Abel, who was also killed. What an awful fate for this legendary family, so tied to the Cuban Revolution, whose appointments with death are anything but quiet!
Several years ago, I wrote briefly about my fortuitous meeting with Celia Hart in Havana’s convention center. That’s when we planned an interview that we would later publish in Rebelión, in which she showed how she was, indomitable and rebellious, as real revolutionaries ought to be. That was also the beginning of a good friendship that carried on intermittently through cyberspace, in line with our writings. She was, without a doubt, a generous woman, who enjoyed flattering the egos of her writer friends with words charged with that beautiful tropical casualness that only exists in Cuba, and was also sufficiently humble to not take too seriously the valuable contribution of her own pen.
Trotskyist to the bone, she lived without resentment against the fact that many of her friends were not, for the important thing, she said, is that the Revolution go on. We who loved her loved her very much, with that kind of love, different from all the others, whose alloy contained the indestructible metal of Cubanity.
I’m going to miss her, now that I will never receive more of her happy messages, nor read her writings. Together with the news, I received a photograph of her. It’s not the one I’ve chosen to accompany these words of love which I now dedicate in the form of a posthumous tribute, but one I keep in my desk. In it she can be seen smiling, with those honey-colored eyes of hers and her air that brought to mind a Caribbean Lauren Bacall. That’s how I should like everyone to remember her, happy, full of life.
I salute you, rebellious Celia; the struggle continues.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.