Saturday, August 22, 2015
Vilma Lucila Espín Guillois (1930 – 2007) was a Cuban revolutionary, feminist, and chemical engineer.
She was married to Raúl Castro, the current Cuban President, who is the brother to former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Espín had four children and seven grandchildren. Her daughter, Mariela Castro, currently heads the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, and her son, Alejandro Castro Espín, is a Colonel in the Ministry of Interior.
She became involved with the opposition to the dictator Fulgencio Batista after returning to Cuba from studying in Cambridge. A meeting with revolutionary leader Frank País led her to become a leader of the revolutionary movement in Oriente province. Espín acted as a messenger between the movement and Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement, which had been relocated to Mexico in order to plan a future invasion. It was in Mexico that Espín met Raúl Castro. She then went on to assist the revolutionaries in the Sierra Maestra mountains after the 26th of July Movement's return to Cuba on the Granma yacht. She and Raúl married in January 1959.
Espín was often described as "Cuba's First Lady". Espín died in Havana, following a long illness.