Sergio and I had the privilege of being at the command post located on the right of the Almendares estuary at dawn of April 15, forty six years ago, when US B-26 bombers with Cuban insignias, piloted by mercenaries, attacked the air bases of Ciudad Libertad, San Antonio de los Baños and the Santiago de Cuba civil airport.
It was a pre-emptive attack on this dark corner of the world.
I would phone Sergio from any town near the central highway as I headed for the Bay of Pigs on April 17.
In the midst of the battle waged by our infantry and our tanks there, from the command post, he informed me that the enemy was launching an attack to the west of the capital. It was rather a diversion the United States had ordered to protect the invaders at Girón, which they call the Bay of Pigs.
Together with Camilo, Sergio, you had set off for Pinar del Rio, as part of the invading column. I didn’t know yet that a war has been won when the enemy’s operations forces have been destroyed. At the time, I looked to Cuba’s history for guidance, unaware that, in our isolated island, an Ayacucho-like battle was not possible. I put Camilo’s and Che’s forces in jeopardy, when we could have used them to hasten the fall of the tyranny.
You and I were also together at the command post during the Missile Crisis of 1962, when we were on the brink of a nuclear war.
We have lived exceptional moments which repeat themselves posing ever greater threats to humanity. Your lessons and the example you set shall live on.
I pay tribute to your memory.
Fidel Castro Ruz
November 16, 2007