In Cuba

Telesur, Saturday, August 13, 2016

[Below, see excerpt of 90th birthday greeting by Vladimir Putin to Fidel Castro. See also a report on Fidel’s letter to the Cuban people, warning against nuclear threats against Russia and China. “Mankind is faced today with the greatest danger in its history. We must preserve peace around the world and must not let any world power believe it has the right to kill millions of human beings.” — New Cold editor]

Every corner of Cuba is celebrating the 90th birthday of the country’s most famous man: Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro talk at Fidel's 90th birthday celebration in Havana (TeleSUR)

Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro talk at Fidel’s 90th birthday celebration in Havana (TeleSUR)

The Karl Marx Theater in Havana hosted a special gala on Saturday night, where some of Fidel’s oldest comrades, including some of those who accompanied him in the attack on the Moncada barracks, are expected to join.

Foreign dignitaries and heads of state have also traveled to Cuba to participate in the events commemorating the 90th birthday of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is among the honored guests at Saturday’s event. Venezuela and Cuba are close allies and their cooperation has been instrumental in the proliferation of socialist ideas in Latin America and the world over.

“We are experiencing a time of threats, attempts at re-colonization, and the people of the continent must be prepared with a strong sense of morality and spirit of resistance, for which we must look to the example of Fidel,” stated Vice President of Venezuela Aristobulo Isturiz on Friday while inaugurating a photo exhibit dedicated to the Cuban revolutionary.

”Through his thoughts and actions, Fidel taught us that conscience, values and principals are of the utmost importance, as they sustain the people in times of material scarcity, and the Cuban Revolution with him at the helm has been the greatest example toward which we must look.”

Participants at the World Social Forum in Montreal also celebrated his birthday with a panel dedicated to Fidel.  “Fidel celebrates 90 years of a life he has assumed as few men on this planet. His stature as champion of human development and international solidarity has made Cuba a significant player on the world stage,” said a description of the panel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among those foreign leaders sending a birthday message. “You enjoy deep respect in Russia as an outstanding statesman who devoted his entire life to serving the people of Cuba,” Putin wrote.

The Granma daily newspaper has printed a special 16-page commemorative edition to celebrate Fidel Castro’s lifetime of political work.

In honor of his birthday, the website Cuba Debate launched a special site featuring thousands of Fidel’s speeches and articles, which are available in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic [English here].

Cubans were also greeted by a special article penned by Fidel Castro and published Saturday morning as the country prepared to celebrate the socialist icon’s birthday.

In his letter, Fidel recalled early memories of his childhood in the town of Biran, where he was born.

In a display of the brilliant memory for which he is known for, Fidel wrote about a walk he took with his father at the age of 9. He also wrote about his mother and his studies that took him away from his family.

Fidel Castro concluded his letter by returning to a theme he has visited often since retiring from active political life, calling for the world to preserve peace and oppose nuclear war. “That is why we must hammer the need to preserve peace and that no power assume they have the right to kill millions of people,” wrote Fidel.

Castro went on to criticize Barack Obama, for the U.S. president’s speech in May when he visited Hiroshima, site of the world’s first atomic bombing at the end of World War II.

“The U.S. president’s speech in Japan lacked the words to apologize for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, even though they (the United States) knew the effects of the bomb,” the ex-leader said in an article published by official media.

Castro condemned as “equally criminal” the bombing of Nagasaki three days later on August 9, 1945.

Go to the Telesur weblink above to read these feature items:
Fidel Castro: A Latin American legend
In depth: Fidel at 90
Five times Fidel proved he was a true internationalist

Birthday greetings to Fidel Castro by Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to Fidel Castro on August 13, 2016, on the occasion of Fidel’s 90th birthday. An excerpt of the Russian president’s message is published on the website of the President of Russia:

“Please accept my warmest wishes on your birthday.

“You enjoy deep respect in Russia as an outstanding statesman who devoted his entire life to serving the people of Cuba. It is hard to overestimate your personal contribution to the development of friendship and cooperation between our countries. I am confident that these relations will continue to develop fruitfully in the future, contributing to regional stability and security.

“I wish you good health, longevity, vitality and prosperity.”

– Vladimir Putin

Chernobyl kids keep arriving in Cuba, by Patricia Grogg, Inter Press Service, May 7, 2009

HAVANA – Thousands of kilometres from Ukraine, where the worst nuclear accident in history occurred 23 years ago [in 1986], the sun and fresh air of a Cuban beach provide therapy for Ukrainian children, who continue to be born with problems stemming from the disaster…

Four years later, children and teenagers from the disaster area began arriving in Cuba. The first 139 were the beginning of a vast aid project that has now benefited more than 24,000 people. According to Cuban authorities, this help will continue as long as Ukraine needs it…

Find the full article at the weblink above.

Castro urges West not to subject Russia & China ‘to threats of deploying nuclear weapons’, Aug 14, 2016

Russia and China should not be “subjected to threats of deploying nuclear weapons,” former Cuban President Fidel Castro said in a letter published on his 90th birthday, urging for peace. The iconic socialist leader stressed that no world power has the right to kill millions of people.

On Saturday, Castro attended a gala held in honor of his 90th birthday, although the iconic leader didn’t speak as he sat next to his brother, President Raul Castro, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“Great powers like China and Russia can’t be subjected to threats of deploying nuclear weapons. They are people of great courage and intelligence,” Castro said in his letter, which was published on the website of the Official Body Central Committee of the Communist Party Of Cuba.

“Mankind is faced today with the greatest danger in its history,” he wrote. “We must preserve peace around the world and must not let any world power believe it has the right to kill millions of human beings,” Castro added.

The former Cuban president also took the opportunity to slam a speech US President Barack Obama made in Hiroshima during a May trip to Japan in which he failed to apologize to the Japanese people.

“I believe that the speech lacked apologetic words for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, although he knew about the effects of the bomb. The attack on Nagasaki was equally criminal,” Castro said.

Castro also recalled confrontations with the US during his 47 years in power, as well as CIA plots to assassinate him. Castro also reminisced about his childhood and youth in eastern Cuba, as well as his father’s death.

“I laughed with the Machiavellian plans several US presidents had to eliminate me in any way,” said the Cuban leader.

Castro also thanked all of his supporters for all their good wishes: “I want to express my deepest gratitude for the shows of respect, greetings and praise that I’ve received in recent days, which give me strength to reciprocate with ideas that I will send to party militants and relevant organizations,” he wrote in his letter.

Castro led Cuba from 1959 until 2008, when he was forced to step down after suffering a severe gastrointestinal illness.

Castro last spoke to the public in April, when he closed the congress of the Cuban Communist party, which is held every two decades. During his speech, the father of the Cuban revolution urged the country to remain true to its socialist ideals when adopting policies to normalize relations with the US.

The birthday

Letter to the Cuban people by Fidel Castro, August 12, 2016, translated to English and published in Granma on Aug 15, 2016   (original Spanish here)

‘I wish to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and the gifts that I have received in recent days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas that I transmit here to the militants of our Party and relevant organizations.’

Tomorrow I will turn 90 years old. I was born in a territory called Birán, in the eastern region of Cuba. It’s known by that name, although it has never appeared on a map. Given its good conduct, it was known for close friends and, of course, a stronghold of political representatives and inspectors involved in commercial or productive activity typical of the neocolonized countries of the world.

On one occasion, I accompanied my father to Pinares de Mayarí. I was eight or nine years old. How he enjoyed talking when he left the house in Birán! There he was the proprietor of the land where sugar cane, pasture and other agricultural crops were planted. But in Pinares de Mayarí, he was not a proprietor but a leaseholder, like many Spaniards, who were the owners of a continent under the rights granted by a papal bull, of whose existence none of the peoples and human beings of this continent were aware. The transmitted knowledge was already largely treasures of humanity.

The altitude rises to approximately 500 meters, with inclined, rocky slopes, where the vegetation is scarce and at times hostile. Trees and rocks obstruct transit; suddenly, at a certain height, a vast plateau begins which I estimate extends over approximately 200 square kilometers, with rich deposits of nickel, chromium, manganese and other minerals of great economic value. From that plateau dozens of trucks of pines of great size and quality were extracted daily.

Note that I have not mentioned the gold, platinum, palladium, diamonds, copper, tin, and others that at the same time have become symbols of the economic values that human society, in its present stage of development, requires.

A few years before the triumph of the Revolution, my father died. Beforehand, he suffered a lot.

Of his three sons, the second and third were absent and distant. In revolutionary activities both fulfilled their duty. I had said that I knew who could replace me if the adversary was successful in its elimination plans. I almost laughed about the Machiavellian plans of the presidents of the United States.

On January 27, 1953, after the treacherous coup by Batista in 1952, a page of the history of our Revolution was written: university students and youth organizations, alongside the people, carried out the first March of the Torches to commemorate the centenary of the birth of José Martí.

I had already reached the conviction that no organization was prepared for the fight we were organizing. There was complete disorientation from the political parties that mobilized the masses of citizens, from the left to the right and the center, sickened by the politicking that reigned in the country.

At the age of six, a teacher full of ambitions who taught in the small public school of Birán convinced my family that I should travel to Santiago de Cuba to accompany my older sister who would enter a highly prestigious convent school. Including me was a skill of that very teacher from the little school in Birán. She, splendidly treated in the house in Birán, where she ate at the same table with the family, was convinced of the necessity of my presence. Certainly, I was in better health than my brother Ramón – who passed away in recent months – and for a long time was a classmate. I do not want to be extensive, only that the years of that period of hunger were very tough for the majority of the population.

I was sent, after three years, to the Colegio La Salle in Santiago de Cuba, where I was enrolled in the first grade. Almost three years past without them ever taking me to the cinema.

Thus began my life. Maybe I will write, if I have time, about this. Excuse me for not having done so before now, it’s just I have ideas of what a child can and should be taught. I believe that a lack of education is the greatest harm that can be done.

Humankind today faces the greatest risk of its history. Specialists in these areas can do the most for the inhabitants of this planet, whose number rose from one billion at the end of 1800, to seven billion at the beginning of 2016. How many will our planet have within a few years?

The brightest scientists, who now number several thousand, are those who can answer this question and many others of great consequence.

I wish to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and the gifts that I have received in recent days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas that I transmit here to the militants of our Party and relevant organizations.

Modern technical means have allowed for scrutiny of the universe. Great powers such as China and Russia cannot be subject to threats to impose the use of nuclear weapons. They are peoples of great courage and intelligence. I believe that the speech by the President of the United States when he visited Japan lacked stature, and it lacked an apology for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, in spite of the fact that they knew the effects of the bomb. The attack on Nagasaki was equally criminal, a city that the masters of life and death chose at random. It is for that reason that we must hammer on about the necessity of preserving peace, and that no power has the right to kill millions of human beings.

Fidel Castro Ruz, August 12, 2016


EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

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