Raul is 92 years old today. It is June 3rd and the first memories go back to Biran, with its wet grass at dawn, ready for children to run and play pranks; a place for remembrances that entered the history of our country by the hand of his children.
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz, the Luar or Juan Carlos in the war; the cheerful, brave, deep, sensitive and determined young man. The Moncadista, expeditionary and guerrilla leader, the demanding and beloved minister, the Party man; the father of a family and happy grandfather; the one who without haste and without pause gave continuity to the work of all the people led by his brother Fidel; the one who still accompanies it with the new generation at the forefront, ready to go out to the charge if necessary. It is 92 years of life and more than 70 years of revolutionary struggle.
His boundless loyalty to Fidel, and the fact that he was willing to risk his life for him, was always reflected, from those early days of the war when after the battle of La Plata, in the Sierra, in January 1957, a peasant who had joined did not want to obey Fidel’s order to deliver the weapons obtained for distribution, raked his rifle, and quickly Raul jumped in front of Fidel and shouted that he had to shoot him first. From then on he was the first and best escort of the head of the Revolution, of his brother.
It is June, a June full of moments from 65 years ago that he will surely remember today: the months of the tyranny’s offensive, the development of the Second Front, the Anti-Aircraft Operation, the permanent collaboration with Vilma, who months later would be his great love; and, by chance: being born in the same month as a Cuban warrior and thinker whom he has admired throughout his life, Maceo; and in the same month as a very dear Argentinean, his friend Che; both on June 14th, 1845 and 1928, respectively.
We must also go to Raul’s thoughts again and again. Therefore, on this 92nd birthday, let us review the link with those two other greats of our history with whom he shared ideas and feelings.
At least two other times he would use Maceo’s sentence: in his words on the occasion of the awarding of the Antonio Maceo Order to the General Staff Academy «Klement Efremovich Voroshilov», on December 21st, 1982; and at the closing of the national constitutive conference of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, in the Universal Hall of the FAR, on December 5th, 1993.
Raúl and his friend Che, convinced Marxists, tenacious fighters, demanding leaders, men in love with their children and the children of other lands of the world; friends since the days of the preparations for the expedition, when they already agreed on the most radical ideas in that emancipatory movement; deep admirers, defenders and loyal to Fidel and the revolutionary cause, ready to make any sacrifice for it. Hence the trust and the undoubted identification of thought between the two.
The best gift
For a revolutionary like Raúl, the best gift is the fulfillment of the part of the duty that corresponds to each one of us, to continue the work for which many young people died and that can never be vain blood.