In these days when Fidel’s physical disappearance is commemorated, I have remembered the opportunities in which I was close to the
maximum leader of the Cuban Revolution and although there were not many, because most of the time it was in the Plaza de la Revolution, yes there are two that marked me deeply, both in July 1965.
The first one was at the Comodoro Hotel in Havana, where I was part of the Cuban delegation to the 9th World Festival of Youth and Students, a festival that had as its motto: The best go to Algeria, because it was in that country where the youth date would be developed.
We were gathered in that place to receive the previous preparation, the medical check-up and the supplies necessary to attend the largest youth gathering in the world.
Precisely, on that date the coup d’état was carried out against the Algerian leader Ahmed Ben Bella, perpetrated by Colonel HouariBoumediene. That event caused that Cuba desisted to send its delegation; in addition, days later it was suspended by the coup government. We were ready for the game and the news caused personal and collective frustration, but necessary and worthy.
Fidel, with that altruistic thought that characterized him, went to the Comodoro to have an encounter with us. It was at that moment where I was closest to him; you can imagine the emotion of the moment.
There he told us and updated about what happened in Algeria, about the position of Cuba, he also spoke about many other aspects. He told us that it was not right to undo the organization that we already had as a delegation, so he made a proposal and asked us for our criteria.
It was then that he proposed to the concentrates there that, if we agreed, there were a million pine positions to plant in Pinares de Mayarí. The answer was a closed yes. The routine of the Commodore took a different course, from the making of dress suits, of etiquette, to work clothes. In a few days we were taking a train to the Western part of the country.
In the Pinares the men were housed in the tent of the National Circus, while the women had a shelter nearby. Almosto once the goal was finished one afternoon we saw a helicopter fly over our improvised accommodation, the comments were immediate: – It is Fidel and we all went to a nearby esplanade where the plane had to land
Indeed, Fidel and his entourage descended from him. He immediately began his conversation with those present. He congratulated us for the work done and made us a new proposal, even if we agreed: the Bulgarian Konsomol invited us to know his country and have a meeting with the youth of the brother nation, and again the resounding yes. I was also very close to Fidel there.
A few days later we made the same route, but now with a different objective. The new procedures and a train heading to the East of Cuba to Grussia, a Soviet ship that moved us to Europe.
After a few days of navigation, the head of the delegation, Eugenio Balari, received a message with another proposal from Fidel, if we were agreement, the Soviet Konsomol made an invitation to the USSR. It was thus how from Algeria, which could not be, we went to Bulgaria and the USSR. And Fidel was always present.