Last Friday, February 15, I promised you that in my next reflection
I would deal with an issue of interest to many compatriots. Thus, this
now is rather a message.
The moment has come to nominate and elect the State Council, its
President, its Vice-Presidents and Secretary.
For many years I have occupied the honorable position of President.
On February 15, 1976 the Socialist Constitution was approved with the
free, direct and secret vote of over 95% of the people with the right
to cast a vote. The first National Assembly was established on
December 2nd that same year; this elected the State Council
and its presidency. Before that, I had been a Prime Minister for
almost 18 years. I always had the necessary prerogatives to carry
forward the revolutionary work with the support of the overwhelming
majority of the people.
There were those overseas who, aware of my critical health
condition, thought that my provisional resignation, on July 31, 2006,
to the position of President of the State Council, which I left to
First Vice-President Raul Castro Ruz, was final. But Raul, who is also
minister of the Armed Forces on account of his own personal merits,
and the other comrades of the Party and State leadership were
unwilling to consider me out of public life despite my unstable health
It was an uncomfortable situation for me vis-à-vis an adversary
which had done everything possible to get rid of me, and I felt
reluctant to comply.
Later, in my necessary retreat, I was able to recover the full
command of my mind as well as the possibility for much reading and
meditation. I had enough physical strength to write for many hours,
which I shared with the corresponding rehabilitation and recovery
programs. Basic common sense indicated that such activity was within
my reach. On the other hand, when referring to my health I was
extremely careful to avoid raising expectations since I felt that an
adverse ending would bring traumatic news to our people in the midst
of the battle. Thus, my first duty was to prepare our people both
politically and psychologically for my absence after so many years of
struggle. I kept saying that my recovery "was not without risks."
My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath.
That’s all I can offer.
To my dearest compatriots, who have recently honored me so much by
electing me a member of the Parliament where so many agreements should
be adopted of utmost importance to the destiny of our Revolution, I am
saying that I will neither aspire to nor accept, I repeat, I will
neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State
Council and Commander in Chief.
In short letters addressed to Randy Alonso, Director of the Round
Table National TV Program, --letters which at my request were made
public-- I discreetly introduced elements of this message I am writing
today, when not even the addressee of such letters was aware of my
intention. I trusted Randy, whom I knew very well from his days as a
student of Journalism. In those days I met almost on a weekly basis
with the main representatives of the University students from the
provinces at the library of the large house in Kohly where they lived.
Today, the entire country is an immense University.
Following are some paragraphs chosen from the letter addressed to
Randy on December 17, 2007:
"I strongly believe that the answers to the current problems facing
Cuban society, which has, as an average, a twelfth grade of education,
almost a million university graduates, and a real possibility for all
its citizens to become educated without their being in any way
discriminated against, require more variables for each concrete
problem than those contained in a chess game. We cannot ignore one
single detail; this is not an easy path to take, if the intelligence
of a human being in a revolutionary society is to prevail over
"My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, much less to stand
in the way of younger persons, but rather to contribute my own
experience and ideas whose modest value comes from the exceptional era
that I had the privilege of living in.
"Like Niemeyer, I believe that one has to be consistent right up to
Letter from January 8, 2008:
"…I am a firm supporter of the united vote (a principle that
preserves the unknown merits), which allowed us to avoid the tendency
to copy what came to us from countries of the former socialist bloc,
including the portrait of the one candidate, as singular as his
solidarity towards Cuba. I deeply respect that first attempt at
building socialism, thanks to which we were able to continue along the
path we had chosen."
And I reiterated in that letter that "…I never forget that ‘all of
the world’s glory fits in a kernel of corn."
Therefore, it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a
responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am
physically able to offer. This I say devoid of all drama.
Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old
guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the
process. Some were very young, almost children, when they joined the
fight on the mountains and later they have given glory to the country
with their heroic performance and their internationalist missions.
They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the
replacement. There is also the intermediate generation which learned
together with us the basics of the complex and almost unattainable art
of organizing and leading a revolution.
The path will always be difficult and require from everyone’s
intelligent effort. I distrust the seemingly easy path of apologetics
or its antithesis the self-flagellation. We should always be prepared
for the worst variable. The principle of being as prudent in success
as steady in adversity cannot be forgotten. The adversary to be
defeated is extremely strong; however, we have been able to keep it at
bay for half a century.
This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a
soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the
heading of ‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just another
weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be