Some days ago I mentioned his name as an example of a Communist militant, whose struggle gave his life some meaning. For eight years he even held the highest posts within his Party.  He shared Allende’s faith in Chile and the beautiful vision that, rather sooner than later, the great avenues would again be opened “down which free men could march towards the construction of a better society”.
Neruda’s biography and several other interesting and courageous books were his intellectual and political contribution to the new generations.
I talked to him at length the last time we met early in 2005.  He came to Cuba as a guest of honor of the Casa de las Américas literary award celebration, and also to launch a new book at the International Book Fair.
Two days ago, on Thursday evening, we received news of his passing away at 7:30 p.m.  On that same evening and almost at the same time the literary award winners were announced.  Volodia was so modest and so decent that he seemed to be awaiting that news before leaving.
I will not say he has died; he has left to live in ideas.  He joined the ranks of those who struggle and will continue to struggle for those dreams.
Fidel Castro Ruz
February 2, 2008
3:07 p.m.