María Josefa Calafat Moya
“From one day to the next one, we went to the bank and they had intervened [our accounts]. We couldn't get the money, we couldn't [open] the safe because mom had money from her savings in dollars. So, she was keeping them in the safe and everything went locked. But when I got married, my mother bought me a large set of sheets, tablecloths and other precious things. I started selling these things because we did not have anything else what to do, and my mother had nothing else which they would leave her, just 600 pesos a month for the two large apartment buildings she had. That was all they gave her, which was the maximum they gave.”
“I believe that sexism will always exist as long as the world exists, and, with forgiveness of all women, because the women also have a little guilt that they [men] are like that. It's true, unfortunately. The Cuban was always a macho. Depending on the age, you notice that the older men are machos, but the young men are not so much. I didn't feel it. Sure, my husband was not a macho, but I spoiled him. It was a thing that I found natural. Like this were the times. And now, they [women] are into the feminism. Look, a woman can never be the same as a man. I don’t want to be the same as them.”
“There was a part of the people that didn't… That they always realized that it was communism. But he disguised it so well, as everyone does, that no one thought it was communism. Until one day he got on television and said that he was a communist - Marxist, that if he had said that before, no one would have supported him. It could not be more obvious. So, we began to prepare to leave in 1961, but we lacked passports and that it is a real procedure, everyone knows the mess that is the paperwork and we also had to hand over the house. They did an inventory of everything we had in the house. We couldn’t touch anything until we left, and we had to leave everything to them.”
“No, with Batista, if you didn't form the Revolution, as they said, you could lead your normal life. In other words, we lived in Tarará, and in a house close to mine, the one that overlooked the bottom of mine, there was Ventura, who was a horrible criminal, a police chief who whoever fell into his police station, knew that he would me martyred, especially the youth who were a bit of the left or revolutionary. If you didn't get into making revolutions, you had no problem at all. I had no problem, and neither did my husband. That is why I believe that the people, especially rich people, supported Fidel, even if they later denied it, because if the poor, the rich and the middle-class did not support him, Fidel Castro would not have triumphed. They all helped him.”
Full recordings are available only for logged users.
“Before the triumph of the Revolution, Cuba was a wonderful place to live.”
María Josefa Calafat Moya, daughter of Cuban parents, was born in Madrid, Spain, on June 13, 1931. In 1935, her parents decided to move to Cuba when she was four years old. They both had businesses in Cuba, including a farm in La Julia (formerly the Oriente province) and an apartment building in Havana owned by her mother. When the Cuban Revolution triumphed, on January 1, 1959, the government of Fidel Castro confiscated all properties and bank accounts belonging to María Josefa’s family. For this and other reasons, María moved with her husband and their three children back to Spain, where they arrived in October 1962. She became the secretary to the Minister of Finance, Alberto Monreal Duque, until the end of his term in 1973. She was a member and president of the now-closed Cuban Center in Spain. Today, María Josefa Calafat lives in Madrid, Spain, and has 5 children.