Monday, June 18, 2007

Cuba's Unofficial First Lady dies.

Huh. Who knew? Per al Reuters:

Vilma Espin, sister-in-law of convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro and one of the most powerful women in Cuba's political leadership, died on Monday in Havana. She was 77.
State-run Cuban television said Espin died from complications from a long-standing illness, but did not give further details.

A key figure in advancing equality for women in Communist Cuba, Espin was married to Castro's younger brother Raul, who took over as acting president in July 2006 after the elder Castro underwent emergency intestinal surgery and was sidelined from power.

Espin, who was rumored to be ill for more than a year, was Cuba's unofficial first lady because Fidel Castro has always kept his private life out of the public limelight and his wife Dalia Soto del Valle has never played any official role.

Espin is the most important symbol of the Cuban revolution to die since Celia Sanchez, one of Castro's closest confidants, passed away in 1980.