Remembering Cuba's Fe del Valle: Another CIA Victim

CIA-sponsored terrorist actions against Cuba intensified in 1961, executed by that agency's puppets on the island.

Several of hundred bandits in the central Escambray mountain region murdered teachers and volunteer literacy educators with the objective of sowing terror throughout the countryside.

Likewise, in the cities, the situation also turned violent, with dynamite explosions and fires occurring as sabotage of all types became an everyday event.

In April of that year, no one doubted that the objectives of those escalating crimes centered on the creation of conditions to carry out an armed attack from abroad. This had been in preparation for several
months in southern Florida and other minion Central American nations.

Particularly active in this attempt at subversion were the former wealthy and other anti-social elements who had lost their privileges as a result of measures benefiting the overwhelming majority of the Cuban

Due to its aristocratic cliental, the El Encanto shopping center --located in the heart of Havana-- was a venue which had become emblematic of the economic system in danger of extinction. This is why
CIA-backed terrorists had there eyes on it.

And since the store had been placed in the hands of the working people, counter-revolutionary elements sponsored by Washington directed all their hatred against the facility.

During the first week of April, a small explosive went off in front of its main door; soon after, a telephone call announced that "this would not be the only explosion."

On the April 13th, at approximately 7:00 pm, a fire began on the fifth floor and raced rapidly through the air conditioning duct work. An hour later, the enormous walls of the building collapsed as huge flames
burst from above. The extreme heat made the area an infernal.

"When the El Encanto was a store for the rich," said President Fidel Castro, "and when the earnings did not benefit anyone, when the store belonged to a rich man, there were no problems in the El Encanto. When
all these large industries fell into the hands of the people, it's then that the CIA came along."

Buried by a mountain of smoky rubble there laid the burned the remains of a worker named Fe del Valle - "Lula" as she was affectionately called.

When the fire began, Lula was in the militia guard post on the fifth floor and actively participated in extinguishing the fire.

After finding that useless, Lula tried to save some of the merchandise from the fire so as to avoid major loses.

Her death provoked popular indignation, especially since this had to do with a woman identified with the Revolution; someone who gave her all for social justice.

After the store was nationalized, Fe del Valle rapidly became the organizer of all of the department store's activities.

After offering her experience in the management of the store, Lula became one of the founders of the National Revolutionary Militias and the organizer of the center's Federation of Cuban Women delegation.

Just before her death, she was organizing the construction of a day care center on the roof of the building. This was to serve the children of the store's 1,000 employees - workers who were predominantly woman.

Only 35 hours after the start of the fire, Cuban blood was shed once again when military airports were attacked by US B-26 bombers. Barely 80 hours had passed since the death of Fe del Valle when an organized mercenary force armed and financed by the CIA disembarked at the Bay of

A bloody chain of provocations and attacks of all type had been dealt, executed by the CIA & Co. Over the past 45 years, these acts have caused the deaths of over 3,400 Cubans and seriously wounded another