187th Anniversary of the birth of Isabel Rubio, La Capitana de Occidente (The Captain of the West)

nacimiento de Isabel Rubio, La Capitana de Occidente

María Isabel del Rosario Rubio Día, who for her patriotism and courage would go down in history as the Captain of the West, was born on July 8, 1837 in Paso Real de Guane, Pinar del Río; a member of a wealthy family, she always opened the doors of her house to those who needed relief from their hardships, free medicine and a place at the table.

She joined the conspiracy movement in 1882 and participated in important clandestine meetings with José Martí in Key West and New York, when the conditions were being prepared to restart the war for independence in Cuba; her political and social teaching transcended the family and contributed to form the patriotic conscience in those young people who joined Antonio Maceo’s troops in the war.

Known as Isabel Rubio, in the manigua she dedicated herself to health work at the head of the ambulant military hospital, a task she assumed with great responsibility having to face the frequent attacks and persecutions to which she was subjected.

With her three grandchildren and her son Modesto, she organized a blood hospital, she cured without rest in the middle of the manigua the brave mambises who fought for the independence of Cuba; she exhausted her medicines, plus those donated by sympathizers of the libertarian cause, and when she had nothing to cure with, she searched for herbs in the fields, she tore her sheets and intimate clothes to make bandages and turned her dresses into rags.

When the invading column arrived in Pinar del Rio province, on January 20, 1896, Major General Antonio Maceo, who knew her values, visited her and gave this brave woman the rank of Captain of Health; at the end of the same year, during the second incursion of the Bronze Titan in the province of Pinar del Rio, in spite of her 58 years of age, she traveled more than 150 kilometers with her field hospital, providing her health services to the combatants.

In February 1898, in a surprise attack to the camp of Loma Gallarda, La Capitana de Occidente was wounded and the Spanish troops managed to catch her; she was taken as a prisoner of war to the hospital of San Isidro, in the capital of Pinar del Rio, with an injury that due to her late healing was gangrenous and later caused her death.

In eternal tribute to her bravery, her hometown, Paso Real de Guane, today proudly bears the name of Isabel Rubio, an outstanding patriot of western Cuba, a worthy example of women’s participation in the struggles for Cuban independence.

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Acerca de Martha Martínez Duliet

Licenciada en Educación en la especialidad de Historia y Ciencias Sociales en la Universidad de Camagüey. Labora como periodista en Radio Florida desde el año 1993 desempeñándose actualmente como editora del sitio digital de esta emisora. Contactos: Twitter: @MDuliet Facebook: Martha Martínez Duliet Blog personal: soyfloridana@wordpress.com

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