Hasta Siempre ! Fidel
The first time I had a chance to meet , to shake hands , to ask several questions and to listen to Fidel was in Havana in 1976 when he was elected president of Cuba.
He did not give me an interview. But advised to listen to his 3 hour speech on the founding of the National Assembly at the Revolution square, with other 500 000 Cubans, in which he explaned the role of the common people in the revoluition and the role of the revolution in the life of the common people.
He did not give me an interview /at that time he was working only with Barbara Walters/ but helped me /”with Granma”/ to meet with almost all members of the Politbiuro and of the government /incl. Raul and Ramon/.
At the beginning of the 80-ies I had the chance to meet Fidel second time- in Moscow , at the congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and to listen to his one and a half hour speech. Other 600 mln people in the socialist countries were listening as well. /By the way, Fidel was looking much better than Brezhnev at the tribune./
Last time I met and shook hands with Fidel was in 1986 in Harare - Zimbabwe, at the conference of the Nonaligned countries , where, as leader of the movement of more than 150 countries, he gave a 2 hour speech. Other 3 billion people over the world were listening as well.
Fidel was the last great , titanic politician of the great XX century. He was loved by millions. And hated by few who more than 600 times tried to eliminate him. But he survived and "burried" 11 US-presidents.
His life was a mirror of our times with a simple sentence :” a revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.”
In 2008, when the National Assembly prepared to reconfirm Fidel as Cuba ‘s leader, he declined and posted a letter on which he said : “ I do not bid you farewell. My only wish is to fight as a soldier of ideas.”
After my first visit to Cuba in 1976 I wrote a small and quite naive / I was thinking/ book “Cuba: El futuro es nuestro”-/Cuba: The future is ours./
Today I found it and had a look again. It didn't look so naive. And the title was no mistake.
Hasta Siempre, Comandante!