Letters and Messages

Fidel's message to Katiuska Blanco

Dear Katiuska,

Today is the presentation of your book Angel, on the last day of our famous book fair. I’m writing with this fine-point pen so that I have enough space.

Given your modesty, surely you will not read out the beautiful words that you sent me, that you sent me – I repeated that by mistake – it must be the emotion. Your letter signifies for me the living testimony that springs from someone who was a distinguished journalism school graduate and a consistent internationalist in a historic struggle immediately after graduating. You know how to address the immortal value of ideas. By me reproducing your letter, you will unable to prevent its dissemination.

"Dear Comandante Fidel,

I felt the need for silence and the passage of several hours in order to write to you. I’m doing so at five o’clock in the morning today, when words are becoming a torrent, an obsession about to overflow into a waterfall. The lights of the city crowning the Plaza – red and blinking – are still lighting the landscape beyond the window pane and I am thinking of you. Even though I understand the great transcendence of your decision, by someone who is part of the history of humanity and of the permanent commotion in the streets, the houses, the beings and the air we breathe as the Lenten wind blows, I confess to you that it was not for me the most difficult moment. I saw you when, between life and death, you were only interested in keeping your word. I listened well when you said a blistering sentence to me on August 1, 2006. You spoke to me with courage and confidence of the last shots fired at time and, even so, you saw yourself as a guerrilla rifle, as a soldier fighting in the eternal battle for the world from your heroic trench that is our beloved Cuba. From you, as always and even more so since then, I only expect grandeur and new dawns.

"All of your life has passed as images into my memory. I am confident in your wisdom and that you have regained strength and that is comforting. I know that you are, like your first day, at the service of what José Martí called this mambi effort to be free and just in the face of the empire. I am convinced of your strategic vision so I see you not as a soldier but as the commander of ideas and so my heart sings, with Violeta Parra, "Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto…." (Thanks to the life which has given me so much).
"I have also thought a great deal of Minister Raúl, in all that he has experienced over the last years and in that phrase of his: "Fidel is my brother of the soul". In affairs of the Revolution, positions don’t matter, nor do appointments, he will continue to be a violin in the beautiful and noble way that Engels was.

"With all my fervor I embrace you and, with me, so do the children of the house and my companion.
"I have confidence that your voice will be heard.

"February 21, 2008."

I will add, dear Katiuska, that today I exercised my right to vote as a member of the National Assembly. I was offered the necessary accommodations given the prerogatives of that body. I beg the forgiveness of all for including words about myself born of the generosity of their irreproachable and sincere author. I did so because I had no other form of showing the natural reaction in Cuba, as in other parts of the world, to my announcement that I would not aspire to, or accept, any position on the Council of State. I was moved by feelings of gratitude for a letter of such poetic beauty. When I made use of my right to vote, today February 24, as a legislator, I did not vote against any of the candidates proposed by the nomination commission. The defence against the empire appears to be airtight. I am not thinking of publishing any reflections for a few days.

Greetings to your beautiful family and I thank them for the happiness they bring to your noble life.

Please accept my warmest greetings.

Thank you for the respect and affection you have shown the person of Angel, as if he were a family member related to you.