Ana Betancourt de Mora: A
history, a woman, a city
David Najarro Pujol
of a babe is always a foremost event in any family. That's why the
Betancourt-Agramonte felt such an immeasurable happiness on December
14th, 1832; when Ana Betancourt was born. She was the sixth daughter of
Diego A. Betancourt Gutiérrez and Ángela Agramonte Aróstegui.
Betancourt Agramonte spent her childhood and adolescence in Santa Maria
del Puerto del Príncipe today
Camagüey, Cuba, in a conventional
environment of a Criolla wealthy family. She received a training in
religion, sewing, embroidery, music and home economy.
She stood out for her
vivaciousness and exquisiteness.
years later the life of the young woman began to change dramatically
when she got married on August 17, 1854, with Ignacio Mora de la Pera,
an educated man of modern ideas.
had helped Ana to free herself from ignorance in which the woman of
those days lived and to get rid of the backwardness of the local
education. He taught her foreign languages, grammar and history; he
wanted not only a passionate wife, but also an intelligent and
not go to college, but she had gained a lot of knowledge next to her
husband, but also she had felt in her own flesh the exploitation and
discrimination against women.
her house in Camagüey into a center of conspiracy against the Spanish
colonialists, till she left hometown on December 4, 1868 to meet her
husband, and share the hardships of the liberating forest.
Mora was one of the first patriots who up rose against the Spanish
slavery and colonialist system, after the uprising of the Camagüeyans
occurred in Las Clavellinas, near Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe,
on November 4, 1868.
to historian Manuel Pena Benavides, when Ana joined the struggle, she
was not a youngster: she was near to turn 36 years old and the
conditions in which the rebels lived in the forest and the swamp were
very difficult for a lady who belonged to the upper class. So,
March, 1869 she was already living in Guáimaro, together with his
husband who got sick".
about the celebration of the Constituent Assembly of the Republic of
Cuba in Arms. It was a secret meeting, but the most important insurgents
knew what would happen.
14, 1869 — a few days after the Constituent Assembly — in a meeting held
in an alley on the Square of Guáimaro, the Camagüeyan patriot, requests
to grant equality, political and economic rights for the women.
dark and calm corner of a house, the Cuban woman was waiting patient and
resigned the sublime hour in which a just Revolution breaks her yoke,
and unties her wings. Everything was a slave in Cuba: the cradle, the
race, the sex. You want to destroy the slavery of the cradle, fighting
up till death if it is necessary.
slavery of races does not exist any more, you have emancipated the
time to free the woman comes, the Cubans who have thrown down the
slavery of the cradle and the slavery of the color will also dedicate
their generous soul to conquest the rights of those who today are their
sisters of charity, those who tomorrow will be, like yesterday, their
Benavides Pena assures that although Ana Betancourt did not participate
in the meeting of the patriots, in another stage she did claimed the
rights of the woman. In the Constituent Assembly of Guáimaro only 15
elected deputies took part; neither Ana nor her husband were delegates
to the convention.
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the Father of the Homeland, told this
precursor of the social and political rights of the women in Cuba:
Cuban historian write on this decisive day of our political life, will
mention how you, going ahead of your time asked for the emancipation of
Constituent Assembly, Ana Betancourt decides to stay in Guáimaro, but
the Spanish army is determined to take control of the city, then the
people prefer to burn all the buildings and the houses before leaving
them in hands of the soldiers.
with her husband who was seriously sick, Ana leaves the city and goes
away to live to a rebel camp, but on July 9, 1871, they were taken by
surprise by the hostile forces. She was captured by the enemy and is
separated from her husband, to whom she requests with tenderness but
— For me
and for you, fights for freedom.
November 3, 1868, the authorities decide to deport this worth woman to
Spain, where she spend all kinds of deprivations and pains, till she
receives the tragic news that her husband Ignacio Mora has died.
stopped fighting for the independence of Cuba and helped in Madrid, to
every Cuban patriot who was deported.
José Martí, received letters from him and admired him. Of him she wrote:
his vibrant words, he transmitted his feelings to the soul of his
February 7, 1901, when she was preparing her return to Cuba, she dies in
Madrid, Spain, from a fulminating bronchopneumonia at the age of 69. Her
remains were in that European country until 1968. Thanks to certain
moves done by Celia Sánchez Manduley, they were set in the pantheon of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces, in the Cemetery Colón in Havana.
moment the idea of moving her remains to Guáimaro, for being in the
Camagüeyan city where Ana Betancourt delivered the famous speech, was
10, 1979 where the Cuban nation celebrated the 110th anniversary of the
Constitution of Guáimaro, Manuel Pena Benavides told Blas Roca Calderío,
in that time President of the Parliament, the need to erect a mausoleum
to perpetuate the memory of Ana Betancourt. Three years later, on April
10, 1982, the mausoleum was inaugurated.
Maria del Carmen Portuondo, sees the mausoleum as a universal symbol of
the women's aspirations:
"To have a
mausoleum dedicated to Ana Betancourt is wonderful. The visits to the
museum of the Constitution end up precisely in this place, that is a
beautiful monumental complex. All the visitors: children, adolescents,
young people, adults, both national and foreign, are interested in the
monument that recalls the birth and death of Ana Betancourt".
tradition: all the people that just get married set a wreath to the
city cradle of the Cuban constitution, relatives of Five antiterrorist
fighters imprisoned in the United States claimed their immediate
million of women in the world demand, that "a new revolution breaks
their yoke of oppression and unties their wings... ", the Camagüeyana
Ana Betancourt de Mora, emerges as a woman who went ahead her society; a
combatant of her time and of all the times.