Chelo fled Cuba in search of freedom in 1961. Born in a small village near Havana in 1921, she married Adolfo Llano in 1944. The couple resided in Artemisa, the cradle of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. They came in contact with some of its most prominent leaders and endured the cruel communist tyranny, which ended their prosperity and cut short their bliss. The Llanos left the island empty-handed. Chelo’s steel-forged nerves and resourcefulness steered her family to success in their new world. It would have been easier to be a fake revolutionary like Fidel Castro—who used deception and wielded a gun to suppress the free will of his people—than be a real fighter and do what she did day after day. Her life stood out as a monument to Cuban tenacity. History books did not record the events because she had lacked political ambitions and had not tortured or killed anyone. Yet, her anonymity would have been an irreparable loss.
When does a memoir become, not only an individual’s tale, but a testimony of historical events? When the narration weaves dramatic personal stories within a country’s history, and when each historical event as it evolved impacted on people lives and destinies. Louis Villalba’s “Cuban Seeds” tells an astonishing tale centered on Chelo, a politically quiet and a towering figure, and the Llanos family, whose struggles against a Communist dictatorship and yearnings for freedom led them to America in 1961. This book is highly recommended. LatinoBooks.Net