La historia de Ricardo, quien nunca se vanaglorió de salvar a Fidel (+ Foto) (2022)

La historia de Ricardo, quien nunca se vanaglorió de salvar a Fidel (+ Foto) (1)

A los 87 años, Nelia recuerda a su esposo Ricardo Santana. Foto: Cortesía de la familia/Escambray

26 de julio de 1953, Santiago de Cuba. Infierno de balas frente a los altos muros de amarillos quemados del cuartel Moncada. Durante la retirada Fidel queda solo en medio de la calle; dispara contra una ametralladora 50 ubicada en el techo de una de las naves. De pronto, el rescate salvador. Un frenazo a lo lejos, alguien ha reconocido al líder del grupo ataque; el último automóvil de los asaltantes se le acerca marcha atrás y lo recoge. A esa hora, nadie repara; mas, los tiros han hecho de los cristales de atrás un amasijo.

Solo 30 años después de estos sucesos, en un intercambio entre Fidel y el resto de los moncadistas sobrevivientes, Ricardo Santana Martínez, espirituano de nacimiento y artemiseño por adopción, reveló que él había sido el chofer que lo había rescatado ese día.

“Ricardo era sumamente humilde, y Fidel lo dijo que había sido un exceso de modestia de su parte, haber esperado tanto tiempo para hablar de esta hazaña. Así era él de sencillo”.

Quizás porque compartió con Ricardo los sobresaltos de la vida en el clandestinaje, porque lo supo en el Moncada y en el exilio, porque curó sus carnes magulladas luego de haber sido encarcelado y torturado, la octogenaria Nelia Chirino Llanes, esposa del combatiente, lo haya conocido como nadie.

“Yo tenía 16 años, cuando nos hicimos novios. Él vivía en Las Cañas y yo en Artemisa. Desde el primer momento me percaté de sus actividades revolucionarias porque él habló con mi papá, Francisco Chirino, para hacer prácticas de tiro en su finca; nunca se supo para qué, hasta que tuvo lugar el ataque al cuartel Moncada. Un mes o dos antes del asalto, Fidel estuvo allí comprobando la calidad de la preparación y haciendo otras precisiones.

“Ya cuando Ricardo se va para Santiago, hacía 14 meses éramos novios, y el día que se despidió de mí dijo que iba a hacer las prácticas a otro lugar y que, por eso, ese fin de semana, no me podía visitar”.

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La historia de Ricardo, quien nunca se vanaglorió de salvar a Fidel (+ Foto) (2)

Ricardo se despide de Nelia antes de su partida a México. Foto: Cortesía de la familia/Escambray

Comandante, aquel chofer era yo

5:45 de la madrugada del 26 de julio de 1953: Santiago despierta de súbito. No son los estallidos de los petardos habituales del carnaval lo que se escuchan, son tiros. Los combatientes, liderados por Fidel, intentan tomar la segunda fortaleza militar de Cuba. Una patrulla de recorrido hace accionar la alarma. Falla el factor sorpresa. Llega la orden de retirada; luego, el rescate.

En las páginas de la entrevistaCien horas con Fidel, concedida al politólogo Ignacio Ramonet, la evocación de aquel instante.

“Estaba solo frente a la entrada del cuartel —rememora la figura principal de la Generación del Centenario— (…) me rescata en ese momento un auto de los nuestros (…) viene en dirección a mí, llega hasta donde estoy y me recoge. Era un muchacho de Artemisa, que manejando un carro con varios compañeros dentro, entra donde estoy y me rescata (…). Yo quise siempre conversar con ese hombre para saber cómo se metió en el infierno de la balacera que había allí”.

Y ese momento excepcional lo vivió Ricardo Santana junto a su esposa Nelia el 20 de julio de 1983. Fue en el Palacio de la Revolución, recuerda esta mujer de 87 años. Se conmemoraba el XXX aniversario del asalto al Moncada. “Fidel preguntaba a cada uno de los combatientes lo que había hecho ese día, y llegó el momento de Ricardo hablar; lo primero que hizo fue pedirle permiso”, relata la también luchadora clandestina.

—Cuando usted iba caminando de espaldas por la calle…, tirando hacia el cuartel, un carro se dirigió hacia usted, dé marcha atrás, en medio de la balacera y usted subió a él, ¿lo recuerda, Comandante?

—Sí, lo recuerdo, continúa, le respondió Fidel.

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—¿Y recuerda que usted quería atacar el cuartel de El Caney y el chofer le dijo que eso era una locura, que allí sabían lo sucedido en el Moncada y de seguro nos iban a estar esperando y entonces usted le dijo unas cuantas palabras bien duras?

—Verdad que sí. ¿Y cómo tú sabes eso?

—Comandante, aquel chofer era yo.

—Yo sabía que el chofer era un artemiseño, pero no recordaba su nombre. ¿Por qué tú no habías dicho eso antes?

—Porque como usted no había hablado de eso antes, creí, Comandante, que a mí no me correspondía hacerlo.

—Pero Santana, eso es un exceso de modestia de tu parte; eso merece que se conozca.

La historia de Ricardo, quien nunca se vanaglorió de salvar a Fidel (+ Foto) (3)

Ricardo, junto a Nelia. Nació el 9 de junio de 1930, en Fomento. Foto: Cortesía de la familia/Escambray

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Después del asalto

El heroísmo callado de Ricardo fue lo que más Nelia amó de él. “Salvó a Fidel, y eso ha tenido un significado tremendo para la historia; pero nunca se vanaglorió de lo que hizo”.

Después del asalto sobrevino la venganza. Asesinar a 10 prisioneros por cada soldado muerto fue la orden dada por la tiranía batistiana. Durante días los golpes, las torturas, los lanzamientos desde la azotea, los disparos a quemarropa no cesaron.

“Todavía recuerdo el desasosiego que vivimos —precisa Nelia Chirino—. Mi papá trató de tener noticias de Ricardo a través de un médico conocido de la familia, y le pidió que llamara a Santiago y preguntara por la gente de Artemisa que habían matado allí. Un mes después fue que supimos que Ricardo estaba vivo; él y los hermanos Galán fueron a parar a la finca Casa Azul, en Santiago de Cuba.

Allá lo ayudó mucho el padre de Renato Guitart, que al final le llevó ropa de su hijo para que Ricardo pudiera venir de regreso. Yo lo volví a ver después de casi año y medio, cuando entra a la embajada de México en La Habana. El encuentro duró solo diez minutos. Vernos nuevamente, eso fue algo serio, imagínese usted.

“El día que se iba para México, fui a despedirlo. Aquí tengo la foto, debajo del espejo de mi cómoda. Él está en la máquina, con la cabeza afuera mirándonos; casi no puedo hablar de la emoción”.

Nelia se acomoda los espejuelos y las manos; las manos no se separan del resto de las fotos más amadas. “Llegó el 4 de julio de México y el 24 de septiembre nos casamos. Él empieza a trabajar en la finca de mi papá; sin embargo, todo el mundo sabía que había sido asaltante del Moncada y eso hacía todo más difícil. Aun así, vuelve a incorporarse al Movimiento 26 de Julio; pero siempre muy perseguido por la policía, hasta que un día lo cogieron preso.

“Se lo llevaron para el cuartel de Artemisa y de allí lo trasladaron para la Capitanía de Guanajay. Lo llegaron a soltar porque mi papá habló con el jefe de la Capitanía y este le dijo: ‘Lo voy a soltar bajo tu responsabilidad’; entonces Ricardo le aclaró: ‘Si es con esa condición, no me suelte’. De todas maneras, mi papá insistió y lo liberaron.

“Ese día yo estaba afuera en el carro esperándolo, y cuando salió se me cayó el mundo encima. La camisa estaba desbaratada y el cuerpo lleno de moretones. A él le amarraron las manos, y los golpes se lo dieron fundamentalmente en el estómago; inclusive, le dijeron: ‘Date a la fuga’. Si salía corriendo, le tiraban y lo mataban.

“Salimos inmediatamente de ahí y lo llevamos con el médico. Luego de esa golpiza, nunca fue el mismo; empezó a sentirse mal, y vinieron una serie de problemas de salud que le fueron trascendiendo en el transcurso de los años”.

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La historia de Ricardo, quien nunca se vanaglorió de salvar a Fidel (+ Foto) (4)

Nelia y Ricardo, acompañados de sus hijos. Foto: Cortesía de la familia/Escambray

En la clandestinidad

Como en lontananza llegan a Nelia las vivencias junto a su esposo Ricardo Santana en la clandestinidad. Ya había nacido el primero de los hijos, Ricardito, los días por venir serían más difíciles.

“Cuando sale de prisión, él se va directamente para la lucha clandestina y estuvo en Alquízar, San Antonio de los Baños. Allí, el Movimiento 26 de Julio era liderado por Antonio Ortega, y Ricardo fue designado segundo jefe.

“Aunque en esa época, tenía a mi primer niño, en todo lo que yo pude ayudar, ayudé: preparaba petardos, trasladaba a compañeros que llegaban de otras provincias, llevaba mensajes escritos, algunas veces en el dobladillo de la falda, en el ajustador. Nunca llegaron a agarrarme con nada; pero sí pasé más de un susto.

“Al triunfar la Revolución, él se encontraba muy enfermo y estábamos en una finca en Quivicán; ese día, los compañeros del Movimiento 26 de Julio fueron a verlo y de ahí, nos fuimos para Alquízar. Todo el mundo estaba alegre. Fue muy emocionante.

“Tuve la dicha infinita de tener tres hijos con él: Ricardo, René —le nombramos así porque fue el nombre de guerra de mi esposo— y Raúl Camilo, que nació justo el día de la desaparición física de Camilo.

“Ricardo fue mi único novio y mi único compañero de vida. Ha pasado tiempo después de su partida (11 de febrero de 1997); pero todavía me sigue haciendo falta”.

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FAQs

What was Fidel Castro known for? ›

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (/ˈkæstroʊ/; American Spanish: [fiˈðel aleˈxandɾo ˈkastɾo ˈrus]; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who was the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and president from 1976 to 2008.

What nationality was Fidel Castro? ›

Was Fidel Castro born in Cuba? ›

How tall is Fidel Castro? ›

Whats the meaning of Fidel? ›

Fidel is a given name from the Latin "Fidelis" meaning "faithful." The feminine derivative is Fidelia. Notable people with the name include: Fidel Dávila Arrondo (1878–1962), Spanish Army officer. Fidel Castaño, Colombian drug lord and paramilitary.

Why is the Bay of Pigs important? ›

The disaster at the Bay of Pigs had a lasting impact on the Kennedy administration. Determined to make up for the failed invasion, the administration initiated Operation Mongoose—a plan to sabotage and destabilize the Cuban government and economy, which included the possibility of assassinating Castro.

How many died in the Cuban revolution? ›

Cuban Revolution
Casualties and losses
2,000 killed Arms captured: 1 M4 Sherman tank 12 mortars 2 bazookas 12 machine guns 21 light machine guns 142 M-1 rifles 200 Cristóbal carbines1,000 killed
Thousands of civilians tortured and murdered by Batista's government; unknown number of people executed by the Rebel Army
9 more rows

Was Cuba in the Cold War? ›

With Cuba's proximity to the United States, Castro and his regime became an important Cold War ally for the Soviets. The relationship was for the most part economic, with the Soviet Union providing military, economic, and political assistance to Cuba.

What year was the Bay of Pigs? ›

When did Cuba stop being communist? ›

Batista outlawed the Cuban Communist Party in 1952. After the coup, Cuba had Latin America's highest per capita consumption rates of meat, vegetables, cereals, automobiles, telephones and radios, though about one-third of the population was considered poor and enjoyed relatively little of this consumption.

How far apart are Cuba and Florida? ›

The total straight line flight distance from Florida to Cuba is 449 miles, which is equivalent to 723 km or 390 nautical miles.

What happened in Cuban missile crisis? ›

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a tense, 13-day political and military standoff in October 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. shores. In a TV address on October 22, 1962, President John F.

Who is in power in Cuba? ›

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (Spanish: [mi. ˈɣel ˈdi. as ka. ˈnel]; born 20 April 1960) is the 25th and current president of Cuba, serving since 2019, as well as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba since 2021.

Which person was a Cuban dictator who was overthrown in 1959? ›

Fulgencio Batista
Personal details
BornRubén ZaldívarJanuary 16, 1901 Banes, Cuba
DiedAugust 6, 1973 (aged 72) Marbella, Málaga, Spanish State
Resting placeSaint Isidore Cemetery
27 more rows

Where did Che Guevara fight? ›

Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment continental revolutions across both Africa and South America, first unsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces and summarily executed.

Is Fidel a Spanish name? ›

The name Fidel is boy's name of Spanish, Latin origin meaning "faithful".

Is Fidle a word? ›

Informal. a swindle; fraud.

Is Fidel a common name? ›

According to the 2010 United States Census, Fidel is the 34427th most common surname in the United States, belonging to 658 individuals.

How much did the Bay of Pigs cost? ›

Next to Vietnam and Iraq, among others, the Bay of Pigs may seem a bump in the road fading mercifully in the rearview mirror. The entire event lasted a mere five days and cost the United States roughly $46 million, less than the average budget of a Hollywood movie these days.

Did the Bay of Pigs start the Cold War? ›

The invasion is considered part of the Cold War because the United States was trying to prevent communism from taking hold in the Americas. Fidel Castro helped to lead the Cuban Revolution in overthrowing the existing government of Cuba in 1959.

Why did USA invade Cuba? ›

Following his election in November 1960, President John F. Kennedy learned of the invasion plan, concluded that Fidel Castro was a Soviet client posing a threat to all of Latin America and, after consultations with his advisors, gave his consent for the CIA-planned clandestine invasion of Cuba to proceed.

Can I go to Cuba as an American? ›

It's perfectly legal for Americans to travel to Cuba, except for explicit tourism purposes. However, you will need to meet some requirements. Specifically, you need a Cuban Tourist Card (a.k.a Cuban Visa), travel insurance, and a self-certification under one of the 12 travel categories of authorized travel to Cuba.

Can you leave Cuba? ›

Travel and emigration. As of January 14, 2013, all Cuban government-imposed travel restrictions and controls have been abolished. Since that date, any Cuban citizen, with a valid passport, can leave the country at will, without let or hindrance from the Cuban authorities.

Why was the Bay of Pigs a failure? ›

Instead of ousting Castro, the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion gave legitimacy to his regime and only strengthened Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union, an anti-American alliance that would result in the far scarier Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Are Russians allowed in Cuba? ›

These countries have had close cooperation since the days of the Soviet Union. Russia has an embassy in Havana and a consulate-general in Santiago de Cuba. Cuba has an embassy in Moscow and an honorary consulate in Saint Petersburg. Around 55,000 people of Russian descent live in Cuba.

Does Cuba have nuclear weapons? ›

Cuba does not possess nuclear weapons, and there are no credible reports of Cuban efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Cuba is not reported to possess chemical weapons, nor are there credible reports of Cuban possession of long range ballistic missiles.

Why did the Cold War start? ›

As World War II transformed both the United States and the USSR, turning the nations into formidable world powers, competition between the two increased. Following the defeat of the Axis powers, an ideological and political rivalry between the United States and the USSR gave way to the start of the Cold War.

Why is called Bay of Pigs? ›

The Bay of Pigs (Spanish: Bahía de los Cochinos) is an inlet of the Gulf of Cazones located on the southern coast of Cuba.
...
Bay of Pigs
Native nameBahía de los Cochinos (Spanish)
EtymologyCochino meaning both "pig" and "triggerfish"
Part ofGulf of Cazones
Ocean/sea sourcesCaribbean Sea
19 more rows

What happened in Bay of Pigs in 1962? ›

The Bay of Pigs invasion begins when a CIA-financed and -trained group of Cuban refugees lands in Cuba and attempts to topple the communist government of Fidel Castro. The attack was an utter failure.

Who leaked the Bay of Pigs invasion? ›

Moreover, the CIA apparently had known of the leak to the Soviets -- and went ahead with the invasion anyway. In an effort to oust Fidel Castro, the CIA organized and trained a force of about 1,400 Cuban exiles and launched the invasion on April 17, 1961.

Why can't Americans go to Cuba? ›

The U.S. government state department placed an embargo on trade between Cuba and the United States of America in 1962. Until this day, it makes travel to Cuba harder than you might think, but not impossible.

Is Cuba a good place to live? ›

Pro: Very low violence, slow life, lots of books and diversity. Lots of beaches and good weather for the most part. Free healthcare, nice organic food, low cost of living when compared with other Latin American countries. Con: Little to no civil rights, free speech or freedom of assembly.

Can I go to Cuba? ›

Yes, Americans can travel to Cuba — there are multiple ways to do so. You can visit Cuba in a completely legal way, obtaining a visa in advance, or you can do what many Americans do — simply book a flight from another country, like Mexico. Read on for the ways to visit Cuba legally when you hold a US passport.

How long is a flight from Cuba to Florida? ›

Flying time from Cuba to Florida

The total flight duration from Cuba to Florida is 1 hour, 24 minutes.

Can you swim from Cuba to Florida? ›

On September 2, 2013, 64-year-old Diana Nyad becomes the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage for protection. Nyad completed the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West, through the jellyfish-and shark-infested waters of the Straits of Florida, in approximately 53 hours.

Can I drive to Cuba from Florida? ›

Can I drive from Florida to Cuba? Yes, the driving distance between Florida to Cuba is 495 km. It takes approximately 6h 14m to drive from Florida to Cuba.

How many nuclear weapons do Russia have? ›

Russia possesses an estimated 6,300 nuclear warheads as of 2022, the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world; the second-largest stockpile is the United States' 5,428 warheads. Russia's deployed missiles (those actually ready to be launched) number about 1,588, second to the United States' 1,644.

How long would it take for a missile to reach the U.S. from Russia? ›

New START limits all Russian deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons, including every Russian nuclear warhead that is loaded onto an intercontinental-range ballistic missile that can reach the United States in approximately 30 minutes.

Why did U.S. put missiles in Turkey? ›

The United States first deployed nuclear weapons on Turkish soil in 1959. President John F. Kennedy used them as bargaining chips to end the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, agreeing to withdraw nuclear-armed Jupiter missiles from Turkey in exchange for the removal of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba.

Was Fidel Castro popular in Cuba? ›

Cuba's stature in the world soared to new heights, and Fidel's role as the adored and revered leader among ordinary Cuban people received a renewed boost. His popularity was greater than ever. In his own mind he had done what generations of Cubans had only fantasized about: he had taken on the United States and won."

What was Fidel Castro's role in the Cuban missile crisis? ›

As the tensions of the Missile Crisis escalated, Castro wrote Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev urging him to use the missiles and to sacrifice Cuba if necessary. Unbeknownst to the Cuban leader, Khrushchev had already reached an agreement with President John F. Kennedy to withdraw the missiles, without consulting Castro.

What were Fidel Castro policies? ›

Fidel Castro proclaimed himself to be "a socialist, and Marxist–Leninist". As a Marxist–Leninist, Castro believed strongly in converting Cuba, and the wider world, from a capitalist system in which individuals own the means of production into a socialist system in which the means of production are owned by the workers.

When did Cuba stop being communist? ›

Batista outlawed the Cuban Communist Party in 1952. After the coup, Cuba had Latin America's highest per capita consumption rates of meat, vegetables, cereals, automobiles, telephones and radios, though about one-third of the population was considered poor and enjoyed relatively little of this consumption.

Can Americans travel to Cuba? ›

Americans have been allowed to visit the island under categories that remain legal, including family visits, religious activities, competitions, educational activities and professional research, and meetings.

Why was Cuba a threat to the United States? ›

Cuba's alliance with the Soviet Union was the main reason the United States viewed Castro as a security threat–a fear that was arguably vindicated during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Why was the Bay of Pigs a failure? ›

Instead of ousting Castro, the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion gave legitimacy to his regime and only strengthened Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union, an anti-American alliance that would result in the far scarier Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

What does this letter tell you about Castro's beliefs and personality? ›

What does the letter tell you about Castro's beliefs and personality? Beliefs: The United States is going to invade or take out Cuba and that the "imperialists" aggressiveness makes them extremely dangerous.

What famous quote came from the Cuban Missile Crisis? ›

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. [...]

Why did Russia put nuclear missiles in Cuba? ›

After the Bay of Pigs incident, Cuba clearly felt threatened by the United States. Castro started to look for a closer relationship with the USSR who could offer the country protection. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to agree to Cuba's request to place nuclear missiles there to deter future harassment of Cuba.

When did travel to Cuba become illegal? ›

Overview. Until 1997, contacts between tourists and Cubans were de facto outlawed by the Communist regime.

How long did the missile crisis last? ›

For thirteen days in October 1962 the world waited—seemingly on the brink of nuclear war—and hoped for a peaceful resolution to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

What is the difference between a Marxist and a communist? ›

Marxism is a social, political, and economic theory originated from Karl Marx, focusing on the struggles between capitalists and the working class. Communism is based upon the ideas of common ownership and the absence of social classes, money and the state.

Is Cuba a good place to live? ›

Pro: Very low violence, slow life, lots of books and diversity. Lots of beaches and good weather for the most part. Free healthcare, nice organic food, low cost of living when compared with other Latin American countries. Con: Little to no civil rights, free speech or freedom of assembly.

Can I go to Cuba? ›

Yes, Americans can travel to Cuba — there are multiple ways to do so. You can visit Cuba in a completely legal way, obtaining a visa in advance, or you can do what many Americans do — simply book a flight from another country, like Mexico. Read on for the ways to visit Cuba legally when you hold a US passport.

Can you leave Cuba? ›

Travel and emigration. As of January 14, 2013, all Cuban government-imposed travel restrictions and controls have been abolished. Since that date, any Cuban citizen, with a valid passport, can leave the country at will, without let or hindrance from the Cuban authorities.

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