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Melba Hernandez receives Honorary Doctorate
Melba Hernandez, heroine of the revolutionary struggle against the Batista dictatorship, was given an honorary doctorate in International Relations on Monday in recognition for her contribution to Cubas diplomacy, and her exemplary life, spirit of struggle and patriotism.

Cuban parliament President Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada spoke at the ceremony honoring Hernandez, 86, at the University of Havana.

Alarcon recalled Melbas leadership of the Cuban Committee for Solidarity with Vietnam and later her years as ambassador. "Melba embodied the friendship and support of our people for the combatants of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos who were facing a US military aggression," he noted.

Alarcon also recalled the hard years of the struggle against the Batista dictatorship and the role of Cuban women in it. "On the one hand they fought alongside the young male revolutionaries and faced the same risks. But they also had to face the prejudice of a society where women suffered all types of discrimination, including the possibility to obtain a university education."

In the first line of that battle was Melba along with Haydee Santamaria, Celia Sanchez, Vilma Espin and so many others, said Alarcon. "One of the reasons why Cuban women today hold important posts and make up the majority of university students is because they had these heroines who opened the door."

Melba symbolizes the best of the combatants of the clandestine struggle, of the Sierra Maestra and Escambray Mountains, of the long years of defending principles of internationalism and solidarity, said Alarcon.

Deeply moved by the ceremony, Melba Hernandez said that life gave her the privilege of being part of the Centennial Generation. "The merit isnt mine, I owe it to our commander Fidel, Abel Santamaria and Raul, who encouraged me a lot and gave me the space to join the struggle. I accept this recognition on behalf of my fallen comrades and my beloved people," said Melba Hernandez.

Source: By Orfilio Pelaez, Granma

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