• “A woman labors to fight her own way in the world, and yet, she can often do things that a man cannot.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “The way to keep a secret, is not to tell it to anybody.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “War fare inevitably breeds corruption”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “I was, despite my Spanish ancestry, an American, heart and soul.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “What a fearful thing this human slaughtering was.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “My career has differed from that of most women.  Some things I have done have shocked persons for whom I have every respect.”

    Loreta Velazquez

Johnny Diaz Blog

“… she was a woman way ahead of her time. .. Loreta’s story is an intriguing yet complicated one about US-Cuban history, race and sexuality.”

Aug. 6th, 2006

Beantown Cubanito (Blog)


By: Johnny Diaz

AUGUST 6, 2006


2 sides

Her name was Loreta Janeta Velazquez and she was a woman way ahead of her time. During the Civil War, she donned a beard and mustache, got her hands on a male uniform and fought as Lt. Harry Buford for the Confederate Army. Yes, she was a cross-dressing Latina soldier but most of all, she was una Cubana, from Havana! Loreta’s story is an intriguing yet complicated one about US-Cuban history, race and sexuality. This lady definitely had balls!

I wrote a story in today’s Globe about a Boston filmmaker who is producing a documentary on Loreta and her life in the Civil War. The filmmaker, Maria Agui Carter, spent two years documenting and researching Loreta’s life in New Orleans where she lived as a young woman and learned English and French after leaving Cuba where she spoke Spanish. Carter wanted to produce her film, titled REBEL, because she feels that other Hispanics should know about some of their own heroes in American History.

It’s a fascinating story because Loreta also wrote a 600-page memoir detailing her life on the battlefield as Harry Buford. The book is called The Woman In Battle, The Civil War Narrative of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Cuban Woman and Confederate Soldier. I have a copy of the book and have been reading it. What a Cuban rebel belle!

To read my article on Loreta, go here or to watch a trailer of the documentary, which comes out this Spring on PBS, go here. The actress playing Loreta is Romi Dias, whom I met last week at the Orchard House in Concord for the reenactment scenes.

Aug. 6, 2006 Cuban Being

Posted by WHO’S JOHNNY? at 3:17 PM



One hour version of REBEL as broadcast on National PBS for personal use.


One hour teacher’s version of REBEL with audio/visual screening license.


75 min. feature Director’s Cut is available for theatrical and community screenings. Contact info@iguanafilms.com.