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We Have Lost Our Best Friend

The best friend the Cuban people have had throughout their history died on the afternoon of March 5. A call via satellite communicated the bitter news. The significance of the phrase used was unmistakable.

Although we were aware of the critical state of his health, the news hit us hard. I recalled the times he joked with me, saying that when both of us had concluded our revolutionary task, he would invite me to walk by the Arauca River in Venezuelan territory, which made him remember the rest that he never had.

The honor befell us to have shared with the Bolivarian leader the same ideas of social justice and support for the exploited. The poor are the poor in any part of the world.

“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her: she has in me a son,” proclaimed National Hero José Martí, the leader of our independence, a traveler who, without cleansing himself of the dust of the journey, asked for the location of the statue of Bolívar.

Martí knew the beast because he lived in its entrails. Is it possible to ignore the profound words he voiced in an inconclusive letter to his friend Manuel Mercado the day before he died in battle? “…I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and duty – for I understand that duty and have the intention of carrying it out – the duty of preventing the United States from extending through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from falling, with that additional strength, upon our lands of America. All that I have done thus far, and will do, is for this purpose. I have had to work silently and somewhat indirectly because, there are certain things which, in order to attain them, have to remain concealed….”

At that time, 66 years had passed since the Liberator Simón Bolívar wrote, “…the United States would seem to be destined by fate to plague the Americas with miseries in the name of freedom.”

On January 23, 1959, 22 days after the revolutionary triumph in Cuba, I visited Venezuela to thank its people and the government which assumed power after the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship, for the dispatch of 150 rifles at the end of 1958. I said at that time:

“…Venezuela is the homeland of the Liberator, where the idea of the union of the peoples of America was conceived. Therefore, Venezuela must be the country to lead the union of the peoples of America; as Cubans, we support our brothers and sisters in Venezuela.

“I have spoken of these ideas not because I am moved by any kind of personal ambition, or even the ambition of glory, because, at the end of the day, ambitions of glory remain a vanity, and as Martí said, ‘All the glory of the world fits into a kernel of corn.’

“And so, upon coming here to talk in this way to the people of Venezuela, I do so thinking honorably and deeply, that if we want to save America, if we want to save the freedom of each one of our societies that, at the end of the day, are part of one great society, which is the society of Latin America; if it is that we want to save the revolution of Cuba, the revolution of Venezuela and the revolution of all the countries on our continent, we have to come closer to each other and we have to solidly support each other, because alone and divided, we will fail.”

That is what I said on that day and today, 54 years later, I endorse it!

I must only include on that list the other nations of the world which, for more than half a century, have been victims of exploitation and plunder. That was the struggle of Hugo Chávez.

Not even he himself suspected how great he was.

¡Until victory forever (Hasta la victoria siempre), unforgettable friend!

Signature of Fidel Raul Castro

Fidel Castro Ruz

“Fidel Castro is dying” by Fidel Castro

In the following message, Fidel Castro ridicules the most recent “Fidel Castro is dying” lies of the global imperialist media. He also explains his decision to cease publishing his “Reflections” – a modest assessment that there are other more important matters to occupy the Cuban press. Nonetheless, monthlyreview.org shall maintain the complete “Reflections” blog as an historically unparalleled instance of honest comment on world events as they occurred, by the leading political figure of our time.

The Universe and its Expansion

I respect all religions even though I do not profess them. Human beings, from the most ignorant to the wisest, are looking for an explanation for their own existence.

Science is continuously trying to explain the laws that govern the universe. At this moment you can see it is expanding, a process that began approximately 13.7 billion years ago.

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 19, 2012

3:50 p.m.

The Unimaginable

The things that the yogi can do with the human body escape our imagination. They are right there, before our eyes, in the images that reach us immediately from a long distance through the TV program Pasaje a lo Desconocido (Passage to the Unknown).

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 18, 2012

2:40 p.m.

Deng Xiaoping

He professed to be a wise man, and in fact he was. But he made a little mistake.

“Cuba must be punished”, he said one day. Our country had never even pronounced his name.

It was an absolutely unwarranted offence.

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 14, 2012

1:40 p.m.

Alberto Juantorena

His prestige is gaining strength as an example of Cuba´s great sporting figures. His age and health portray him as the ideal prototype to preside over the Cuban Olympic Committee.

Such predictions seem to be right!

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 13, 2012

1:55 p.m.

Teofilo Stevenson

Stevenson has left us. The news arrived yesterday after 4:00 p.m. No other amateur boxer shone so much in the history of that sport. He could have achieved another two Olympic titles had it not  been for certain duties that the principles of internationalism imposed on the Revolution. No money in the world would have been enough to bribe Stevenson.

Glory be to his memory forever!

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 12, 2012

3:15 p.m.

Conduct Hard to Forget

Erich Honecker was the most revolutionary German I had ever known. Every man lives his own time. These are infinitely changing times if they are compared to any former time. I had the privilege of observing his conduct when he was bitterly paying the debt contracted by the one who had sold his soul to the devil for a few swigs of Vodka.

An Honest Clarification

Some days ago, on May 28, the violent battle waged at El Uvero was commemorated with well deserved references. An elemental duty forces me to clarify the facts.

During those weeks, Manuel Piñeiro, “Red Beard”, as the leopard, who never changes its spots, as the saying goes, managed to send to Santiago de Cuba a truckload of weapons that had a connection to the attack against the Presidential Palace by the Revolutionary Directorate. Somehow he had managed to take hold of them. Frank País, who was the national actions chief of our “26 of July Movement”, sent a significant part of that cargo to the troublesome zone of the Sierra Maestra, where our incipient Rebel Army was rising alive from its ashes.

That learning period had been extremely tough. Step by step we started to gain our first victories, through which we were able to increase our strength in weapons and men without suffering any casualty. We were also forced to cope with the dangerous treason perpetrated by Eutimio Guerra, who had been a rebel peasant until the moment when he yielded to the bountiful offers made by the enemy. Despite all obstacles and with the support of the men and means sent by Frank we began to create the first guerrilla detachment with a vanguard that was headed by Camilo; a rearguard that was commanded by Efigenio Ameijeiras; the centre forces made up by small platoons and the General Command. We already had a group of seasoned fighters who had conveniently adapted to the conditions of the theatre of operations when we received a significant cache of weapons that were rescued by “Red Beard” and had been conveyed to us hidden inside some barrels filled with thick grease.

Was it correct, from the military and revolutionary points of view, to attack the entrenched and well armed garrison close to the seashore, in the same place used to ship the timber extracted from that area? Why did we do so?

It so happened that at that time, on the month of May, the “Corynthia” expedition had already landed, headed by Calixto Sánchez White. A strong feeling of solidarity made us launch the attack against the military garrison at El Uvero.

In full honesty I should say that the decision adopted, leaving out the merit of the solidarity it entailed wasn’t in the least correct. Our role, which prevailed over any other goal, just as had been the case throughout our entire revolutionary life, was not in accordance with that decision.

I remember the first gunshot I made with the telescopic sight rifle that I had, aiming to the radio communication equipment of the garrison. After that shot, tens of bullets were fired against the enemy command post. That was why the adversary did not know that its garrison was under attack. Thus, at least for three hours neither bombs nor shells were shot against us, something that usually happened, without exception, hardly 20 minutes after the beginning of every battle. Without the presence of these factors, it was quite likely that this decision, which was only inspired by solidarity, would have reduced our troops of almost one hundred veterans, in which case we would have had to go through the same hazardous journey all over again, something that would have been for us the best case scenario.

It was under such circumstances that Almeida was shot in the chest; he was spared from a far more serious wound thanks to something made of metal that he was carrying in his pocket, as he remembered. Guillermo García, wearing a helmet he found for himself in the first combat, waged a hard-fought battle with the defender of a fort made of thick logs. Che, who was shooting with a machine gun that usually got jammed, left his position in order to engage those who were fighting Almeida. And Raúl moved on with his small platoon to fight the soldiers who entrenched themselves among the piles of logs that were ready for shipment. All this happened before the fighter bombers came into the scene. Julio Díaz, a courageous fighter who was shooting with a tripod, could not advance any further. He was lying by my side with a deadly gunshot in his forehead.

Is there a better understanding now about what happened on May 28, 1957, 55 years ago?

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 1st, 2012

4:36 p.m.

The Horrible Things that the Empire Offers Us

A piece of news released by AP, the most important US news agency, dated today in Monterrey, Mexico, explains it with irrefutable clarity. This is not the first, and certainly it won´t be the last, about a reality that puts paid to the mountain of lies with which the United States intends to justify the inhuman destiny it reserves for the peoples of our America.

What does the news say?

“MONTERREY, Mexico (AP).- Forty-nine decapitated and mutilated corpses were found abandoned in a pool of blood in a highway connecting the Mexican metropolis of Monterrey to the US border in what seems to be the latest in an escalation war between drug cartels.

“The corpses of 43 men and 6 women were found at about 4 a.m. Sunday in the town of San Juan on a non-toll highway that leads to the border city of Reynosa. A white stone arch welcoming visitors was spray-painted with black letters: “100% Zeta.”

“At a news conference in Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene stated that along with the decomposing bodies, a ‘narcomanta’ had been found at the scene, in which authorship is attributed to the group “Los Zetas.”

“The victims could have been killed as long as two days ago, so authorities believe they were not murdered on the spot. ‘Identifying them will be a difficult task because all of them were beheaded and hacked off their hands and feet’, the official said.

“The state Attorney-General, Adrián de la Garza, said that no reports of local missing people had been received in recent days, so the victims could be persons from other Mexican states or even US-bound Central American immigrants.”

“Mexican drug cartels have been waging and ever bloodier war seeking to take control over trafficking routes as well as the local drugs market and extortion, whose victims include US-bound immigrants.”

“So far in May, 18 bodies were found in a tourist area near Guadalajara; 23 people were found decapitated or hung from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, where violence among cartels has escalated. This year alone, cadavers have been found in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Morelos, Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

“He stated that there were no clues indicating that the new wave of violence is linked to the presidential elections to take place this July. ‘It has the dynamic of a war between cartels’, he said.”

For its part, the Internet portal ‘BBC World’ reported as follows:

“The scene of decapitated and mutilated bodies in Nuevo León, where 49 bodies were dumped on the road this Sunday, shocked many for the extreme barbarity displayed by the killers. Even in Mexico, where after five years of intense war among drug cartels it seemed like they had seen it all.”

Not a few countries of Our America have been affected by these problems.

In our homeland, the problems described here do not exist: would this be the reason why the empire is trying to make it surrender by starvation and hostility? Half a century has not been enough, and I very much doubt that the empire can wait for another half a century before it sinks deep in its own mire, sooner than later.

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Fidel Castro Ruz

May 14, 2012

4:36 p.m.

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