New poem for Fidel

To be cultured is the only way to be free -
Martí said it, lived it, practiced it.
Without culture, no freedom is possible -
Fidel expands it, lives it, practices it…

On his 90 birthday, I envision Fidel as a gift to humanity…
and remember my first visit, as a student tourist,
in 1956, shortly after the "Granma" landed.

Suddenly, in Oriente I was arrested by dictator Batista’s police
and kept in the hole of a local jail all night.
Several days later soldiers beat me for 3 hours in a Santiago barracks.

I had seen the news photos
mutilated corpses of murdered young people thrown in ditches
and didn’t need Spanish to realize my crime was being young.

Back in Havana, I promised to take a message to New York,
to friends of the 26th of July Movement – Fidel was alive
needed material aid – a task I did with pride and pleasure.