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Cuba celebrates the life of revolutionary hero Tamara Bunke

A NEW exhibition celebrating the life of Cuban revolutionary Tamara Bunke opened in Villa Clara province today to mark the 81st anniversary of her birth.

The opening of the show is part of a series of commemorations that have been held across the year marking key dates in Cuba’s revolutionary history.

Last month saw the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the life of Che Guevara in the art gallery of the Félix Varela centre at the Central University of Las Villas, in Santa Clara.

The city, in the Villa Clara province of Cuba, was the scene of the final, decisive battle in December 1958, which effectively sealed the fate of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

The taking of the city cemented the role of Che Guevara as a hero of the Cuban revolution and his remains are buried in the city’s Che Guevara Mausoleum.

Director of the mausoleum Noris Cardenas said the show which opened today was part of the ongoing commemorations marking the 30th anniversary of its opening. 

Argentinian-born Haydee Tamara Bunke Bider – better know as Tania – played a prominent role in the Cuban government following the revolution and was involved in the country’s literacy campaign before going on to work at the Ministry of Education.

She first met Che Guevara in East Germany in 1960 after being assigned to him as an interpreter, and inspired by the revolution she moved to Cuba the following year.

After taking on voluntary roles she was selected for special training and operated as a spy in Bolivia, as Che Guevara hoped to spread the revolution.

She was tasked with gathering information on the Bolivian ruling classes and the strength of the country’s military ahead of a planned guerilla offensive. 

Ms Bunke became close to future Bolivian president and air force commander Rene Barrientos, but her cover was soon blown by deserters from the Cuban revolutionary forces operating in Bolivia.

With her identity revealed, Ms Bunke left to join Che Guevara’s small guerilla force in the south of the country, becoming the only woman to fight with the unit.

She was shot dead by CIA-backed forces as her column was ambushed on August 31 1967. On hearing the news of her death, Fidel Castro hailed her a hero of the Cuban Revolution.

Ms Bunke’s remains are buried in the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara alongside others killed in the Bolivian campaign, including Che Guevara himself.

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