The history of Cuba is forever joined to the figure of Fidel Castro, the man who led the most important social revolution in Latin America. Cubans, and many from around the world, have stories, an encounter, a longing, an impression linked to the life of the leader of the Revolution.
To share this wealth of stories from everyday life, in the people’s words, Granma has established the email account: firstname.lastname@example.org, and continues to provide the opportunity to comment on articles on the webpage.
Published below is a selection of these:
My grandmother and Fidel: The story of a photo
Fidel Castro is one of those real, magical beings, who remains preserved in the memory of people who met him or came across him in his comings and goings. In 90 years, the Giant of the Sierra continues to invite us, generations of Cubans to challenge history, loved by his own and vilified by his enemies. Fidel is a gift to us. Fidel is Cuba. This is the story of a family photo. An unknown instant in history. Hanging in the corner of a cracked wall.
It happened on a July night in 1978. The 11th World Festival of Youth and Students was being held in Havana. Foreign delegations of participants were invited to be received in the streets of the city. My grandmother, Elda María Chediak Chediak, descendent of Lebanese immigrants (whose Arab blood also flows in the veins of Cubans) and the modest president of her Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, made a great effort to welcome the delgates from Chile, exiled by the fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet. They were celebrating with the neighbors when, all of a sudden, like a gust of wind, a voice was heard.
“Fidel’s coming!” As soon as the jeep stopped, the bearded man in olive green got out and greeted all present. A photographer, a photo. Fidel, almost with his back to the camera, was conversing with Isabel Allende Bussi, daughter of Salvador Allende and a member of the Chilean delegation. At her side, the profile of my grandmother Elda. It was just a few minutes and an instant captured.
Javier Román García. Spain
My country of origin is Spain, I am a yopung revolutionary who was been inspired by the Cuban Revoluition, since his first political steps, and especially by Fidel. So I have always described myself as a Fidelista when my teachers questioned by rebellion, asking me to what tendency I was inclined, always expecting words like left or right. My example is Fidel, the same leader who transformed an island colonized and humiliated by my pitiful compatriots and U.S. imperialists, as a symbol of hope, change, solidarity, and dignity in the world. Fidel is synonymous with struggle, humanity, homeland; Fidel is synonymous with Cuba and Cuba is synonymous with smile. Fidel is the constructor of an honorable, happy country, that depends on no one, with sovereignty and non-intervention as great strengths…I believe that Fidel Castro is an undefeated man, since neither the oligarchy or the great empire could defeat him. Not even his death can do him in, because whether or not his body walks or not on the island’s soil, his ideas will be more alive and more
revolutionary than ever, be they in the head of a Spanish student like me or in the daily life of an African people, like the Angolan. Thank you, Fidel, from all Spanish revolutionaries!
Ángel Luis López – Fidel greets a Cuban fortunate to see him up close
In 1972, my sixth grade class at the Ideario Martiano Elementary School, in the Havana municipality of Cerro, was chosen to provide the honor guard for José Martí on January 28. While we were there, Fidel came by, and even though they had told us we could not move and that Fidel was going to come by, I disobeyed and saluted him, and he very kindly said to me, “Pionero, why were you distracted from your duty, take your guard position, there is nothing more important than honoring José Martí. In 2000, I participated in one of the first open tribunals for the rescue of the boy Elián González; I was the first to speak of those chosen from the building trades from the entire country. When we finished, he approached us and greeted us all, I didn’t get anxious and waited until he got to me, and there I recalled what had happened in 1972, and he said, “but here you are being very disciplined, that’s why we must struggle to bring this other boy home, and you are doing a good job, your speech was strong and you have a powerful voice, surely they heard you well, you should send the work to Foreign Relations.