He returned from his trip to Europe on Friday. He was away for only four days. Flying west, he arrived at Caracas at 11 at night, at sunrise in Madrid, the point of departure. The call from Venezuela came in early on Saturday. I was told he wanted to speak to me over the phone that day. I replied that I could speak to him at 1:45 in the afternoon.
I had enough time to jot down 25 points, of the sort one can speak of over an international phone line, knowing the enemy is listening in, some of which had been tackled by the Venezuelan president himself before the press.
Chavez was calm, pensive and satisfied with his tour. We shared views on the prices of foodstuffs, oil and raw materials, needed investments, the dollar’s devaluation, inflation, recession, imperialist swindles and plundering, mistakes made by our adversaries, the risk of nuclear war, the system’s insurmountable problems and other issues which require no secrecy. Nevertheless, I use this means of communication only exceptionally.
We exchanged comments and news. He didn’t say one word about the wonderful message he wrote on the occasion of the 26th of July celebrations, in which he analyzed my denunciation entitled “Machiavelli’s Strategy”. I received it that same Saturday at night. Chaves is the embodiment of Bolivar’s ideas. Our one-hour conversation, back in the days of the Liberator, would have spanned months and his 4-day European tour at least 2 years.
Yesterday, I listened to his remarks on the Alo Presidente program. His investment program is impressive. Never before, quite possibly, has more attention been paid to the most deeply felt wishes and pressing needs of people. We’re already seeing some results.
When I turned on the television at night, Chavez was in the midst of a crowd that was cheering on the female softball team playing the final game of the cup against Cuba. The Venezuelan team won, one to zero. And, to top it all, this was a “no hit, no run” match. The eyes of the young and handsome Venezuelan pitcher almost popped out of her head when the magnitude of her feat dawned on her following the last out. In the middle of the exuberant team that was leaping with joy on the infield next to the box, Chavez was hugging and kissing the players. Were we not internationalist in spirit, this would have been reason to be depressed. But, after thinking about it a few seconds, I was happy for him and Venezuela. What a man! How can he keep at it like that after so much effort?
Today is his birthday. Raul and I sent him a painting which shows Che emerging from the earth, as envisaged by a painter from Cuba’s westernmost province. It is a striking piece.
I shall have this reflection reach him early tomorrow.
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 28, 2008