Armando Hart (1930‒2017) was born in Havana. Armando Hart Dávalos entered the University of Havana in 1947, where, as a member of the Orthodox Party Youth and the Federation of University Students, he became involved in political struggles against the corruption of the Authentic Party regime and its subservience to...
Armando Hart (1930‒2017) was born in Havana. Armando Hart Dávalos entered the University of Havana in 1947, where, as a member of the Orthodox Party Youth and the Federation of University Students, he became involved in political struggles against the corruption of the Authentic Party regime and its subservience to Washington.
Following Fulgencio Batista’s US-backed coup in March 1952, he joined the Revolutionary National Movement (MNR) led by Rafael García Bárcena and became one of its leading cadres. When García Bárcena was arrested in April 1953 on charges of conspiracy, Hart gained national prominence as the defense attorney for the MNR leader.
Subsequently, Hart worked to reorganize the MNR on a national level. Arrested in October 1954 for planning actions of sabotage, he was released the following month.
In June 1955 Hart was a founding member of the July 26 Movement and its National Directorate. He played a central role in organizing the new movement and in preparing to launch the revolutionary war against the Batista regime in 1956.
He participated in the November 30, 1956, Santiago de Cuba uprising timed to coincide with the Granma landing, and was one of the national organizers of the July 26 Movement’s urban underground, known as the Llano [plains]. The underground gave vital support to the Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra and carried out propaganda and sabotage actions against the regime, leading the Civic Resistance Movement as well as opposition fronts of workers and students.
Arrested and jailed in April 1957, he escaped in July and was named national coordinator of the July 26 Movement following the July 30 murder of Frank País. In mid-November 1957 he went to the Sierra Maestra for political consultation with Fidel Castro and other leaders of the Rebel Army. As he was leaving in January 1958 to resume his regular activities in the Llano, he and two other July 26 Movement leaders were captured and imprisoned. His life was spared due to the swift action and publicity campaign of the July 26 Movement. He spent all of 1958 in jail. In the second half of the year he was sent to the Isle of Pines prison, where hundreds of political prisoners were incarcerated.
When Batista fled Cuba in the early morning of January 1, 1959, the prison authorities refused to release the political prisoners. Hart and other leaders of the July 26 Movement organized the political prisoners to seize the compound and then take control of the entire Isle of Pines.
Arriving in Havana January 2, Hart was named minister of education in the revolutionary government a few days later, and held that responsibility until 1965. He directed the mass literacy campaign of 1961, which taught a million Cubans to read and write, eliminating illiteracy in countryside and city across the island.
In 1961 Armando Hart became a member of the National Directorate of the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI) and was part of the national leadership of the United Party of the Socialist Revolution (PURS) that replaced the ORI. When the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) was formed in 1965, Hart became a member of its Central Committee. He was the party’s organization secretary in 1965–70, and in 1970–76 was its first secretary in Oriente province. He has been a member of the Communist Party Central Committee since 1965 and was a member of its Political Bureau from 1965 through 1991.
When the Ministry of Culture was created in 1976, Hart became minister, remaining in that post until 1997, when he became the founding director of the Martí Program. Since 1997 he has also been president of the José Martí Cultural Society. He was a deputy to the National Assembly and a member of the Council of State.
He is author of numerous essays, articles, books, and pamphlets on culture and cultural policy, history, and social development. These include La cultura en el proceso de integración de América Latina [Culture in the fight for Latin American unification]; Del trabajo cultural [On cultural work]; Cambiar las reglas del juego [Changing the rules of the game]; Cultura en Revolución [Culture in revolution]; Cubanía, cultura y política [Cubanhood, culture, and politics]; Mi visión del Che desde los ’90 [My vision of Che in the 1990s]; Perfiles [Characteristics]; Poner en orden las ideas [Putting ideas in order]; Una pelea cubana contra viejos y nuevos demonios [A Cuban fight against old and new demons]; Cuba e Iberoamérica [Cuba and Latin America]; Hacia una dimensión cultural del desarrollo [Toward a cultural dimension of development]; Cuba, raíces del presente [Cuba: roots of the present]; José Antonio Saco, Félix Varela y Antonio Maceo: ética, cultura y política [José Antonio Saco, Félix Varela, and Antonio Maceo: ethics, culture, and politics]; La cultura de hacer política [The culture of doing politics]; Discursos y artículos; Indagaciones desde la epopeya [Investigations since the feat]; Una interpretación de la historia de Cuba desde el 2001 [An interpretation from 2001 of Cuba’s history]; Cultura, ética y política [Ethics, culture, and politics]; Martí y Marx, raíces de la Revolución cubana [Martí and Marx: roots of the Cuban Revolution]; Cómo llegamos a las ideas socialistas [How we came to socialist ideas].
For his writings and work he has received numerous awards and distinctions, both in Cuba and internationally.