Fidel's Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
¤ Fidel defied the monster and got away with it all these years, something cherished by billions in a hundred countries. He even brought a warmongering US president to his land, sporting his fine talk. For the first time, the perennial enemy pretends to be a friend hoping to stab Cuba in the back.
Fidel, Cuba and Me
In 1980, I fell in love with a Danish woman, Grethe Porsgaard, and moved to her country. On my way to assist the rebellion in El Salvador, in 1987, we traveled to Cuba. This was my first visit to Cuba and my first book had just come out when I met Fidel.
“Fidel Castro, October 12, 1987”—that is what Fidel wrote on my book, Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans living and working in the new Nicaragua.
I had given him a copy after he spoke about the legacy of Che Guevara 20 years after his murder in Bolivia. We were hundreds of Cubans, a few solidarity foreigners and journalists gathered before a newly built hospital in the Cuban province of Matanza.
Cuba’s Ministry of Culture had invited me to work for a book publishing house, Editorial José Martí, which had published my book, Backfire: The CIA’s Biggest Burn. concerning double agents in the CIA loyal to Cuba. This was the first of six books I wrote on Cuba. Between 1988 and 1996, I worked for this publisher and for Prensa Latina, the foreign news agency, which Che had founded.
I briefly met Fidel on four occasions. In my sleep, I was often entangled in a murderous nightmare with him. I stand in a crowd close to where Fidel is speaking. My wary eyes catch an assassination attempt on our leader’s life. I cast myself over him and take the bullet.
Yet despite the myriad plots and attempts on his life over the years, Fidel died peacefully, once again defying the monster. This epitaph was written at the encouragement of my friend and colleague Dave Lindorff. Before me is the Danish TV-Radio news story about his death. In the nation’s main broadcast medium the story of Fidel’s legacy is a four-word clause within one sentence: he “survived 600 murder attempts”.
There is no reference to who tried to murder him, nor to the illegality or immorality of that campaign. Readers and listeners must simply know that it was the world’s loudest “human rights advocate”, the United States of America. There was no condemnation; no call for bringing the nation’s leaders before any international tribunal of war crimes. And I’m sure that the mass media don’t know or don’t want to remember that the International Court of Justice in the Hague found the US guilty of war crimes against Nicaragua, in 1986 — just as a point of reference.
What we did get to read, however, was what President Barak Obama had to say about Fidel: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him....We offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”