By Arnold August
On the evening of November 25 I was expecting an email from a journalist and colleague based in Washington D.C. This innocuous communication was regarding a radio interview that I did with him immediately after the U.S. elections that I was covering with TeleSUR in the American capital. After the responses for which I was waiting, he wrote: “I just heard the sad new that Fidel has passed.” Even though I had continuously thought about this inevitable event in the last few years, to see it in writing was an indescribable shock. However, just to make sure, I checked Cuban TV and TeleSUR, …and there it was. My immediate reaction was unrealistic denial. No, this cannot be true! While before November 25, it was possible to think about Fidel eventually passing away, however once it actually did happen it was no longer within the realm of reality. It was a like a bad nightmare. It took me about 15 hours through the night of the 25/26 to this afternoon today in order to actually digest the unacceptable.
While this was sinking in last night and early today, my reaction was increasingly one of anger. This chagrin was directed to the science of biology that took away from the Cuban people and the peoples of the world the most outstanding leader and revolutionary of the twentieth century and into this century as well. It did not seem just that the laws of biology would physically take him away as they do anyone else, friends and foes alike. However, these laws do in fact apply universally. This indignation is not all a result of any spiritual or religious feelings that by-pass reality, as I am an atheist. It is purely political and moral, but I am not ashamed to publicly express my inner-feeling.
This exasperation results from the intense work that I have been carrying out in the last close to two years on Cuba-U.S. relations since December 17, 2014. I had carefully studied the six texts and statement by Fidel Castro since that date that relate in full or in part to the relations between the two neighbours. I firmly believe that these writings are the most valuable, indefensible guide for the Cuban people and government in its relations with the powerful neighbour to the north.
In fact, given the increasingly complicated situation arising in Cuba-U.S., just this past week I was hoping for another reflection by Fidel. This will never come about.
However, all his words since December 17, 2016 on this issue constitute the paradigm for Cuba-U.S. relations now and well into this century. These principles and thoughts are indelibly linked to Cuba’s future.
Arnold August, a Canadian journalist and lecturer, is the author of Democracy in Cuba and the 1997–98 Elections and, more recently, Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion. Cuba’s neighbours under consideration are, on the one hand, the U.S. and, on the other hand, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. Twitter @Arnold_August and Face Book