September 10, 2008
In commemoration of Celia Hart (1963-2008)
The Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of Celia Hart Santamaria and her brother in a car accident on September 7 in Havana. We join in expressing our sincere condolences to their family and comrades.
Celia Hart's untimely death is a major loss for Trotskyism, socialist feminism and revolutionary internationalism. She was a physicist, writer and feminist who, in recent years, devoted herself to promoting the ideas of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.
FSP and RW had developed an active political dialog with Celia based on her strong feminism and other shared views and goals. In paying tribute to her, FSP representative Steve Strauss said, "She was a beautiful, poetic revolutionary who would be beaming from ear to ear if she could see us carrying on the most important task in the world. I never met a more awesome spirit. She hated capitalism because she loved humanity and nature and the universe."
Strauss had met with Celia in Havana in May and learned that her father had introduced her to Trotsky's biography and writings in 1985 when she returned from college in East Germany, discouraged by her experience with the stifling Stalinist bureaucracy there.
Celia said that reading Trotsky's works renewed her faith in socialism and in prospects for the liberation movements of Latin America. They also gave her insights into some weaknesses of the Cuban revolution, including its failure to lead in building a revolutionary international that could foster Leninist parties capable of seizing power by the working class. Although she was expelled from the Cuban Communist Party in 2005 for these views, many within the CP liked her work, including Fidel Castro himself, and encouraged her to continue it outside the party. Her untimely death is a severe loss to the longterm project of constructing a Trotskyist party in post-Fidel Cuba.
Celia's voice will also be missed in the international feminist movement. In our discussions, she expressed strong agreement with Radical Women and the FSP about the need for an independent women's movement and revolutionary female leaders. She noted that her mother, Haidee Santamaría, was one of two women to take part in the 1953 assault on the Moncada Barracks.
Celia was very excited about the upcoming Radical Women National Conference, "The Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism." She had planned to send greetings to this gathering though she could not attend due to U.S. travel restrictions.
Celia Hart's optimism, her theoretical and political writings, and her dedication will serve to inspire the work of the conference and the ongoing collective struggle for world revolution.
Radical Women, U.S.
625 Larkin Street, #202
San Francisco, CA 94109
Freedom Socialist Party, U.S.
4710 University Ave. NE #100
Seattle, WA 98105