Former Republic of Cuba President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reading Granma newspaper in Havana. Chavez is in Cuba for medical treatment. The revolutionary leaders exchange views on many topics., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
December 18, 2012
Letter from Fidel read during the central event commemorating ALBA’s 8th anniversary in Plaza Bolívar, Caracas
Dear Nicolás Maduro,
To mark the anniversaries that you are celebrating today I wish to express the following to you:
The absence of the President elected by more than eight million Venezuelans moves us all.
I met Hugo Chávez exactly 18 years ago. Someone invited him to Cuba and he accepted the invitation. He told me that he was thinking of asking for an interview with me. I was far from imagining that those soldiers branded as coup plotters by the news agencies, who sowed their ideas with so much discretion for years, were a select group of Bolivarian revolutionaries. I waited for Chávez at the airport, took him to where he was staying and talked with him for hours, exchanging ideas.
The following day, in the University of Havana’s Aula Magna, each one of us expressed our ideas.
Our conceptions differ in aspects which are far removed from political ideas and principles. We do not even discuss those conceptions.
Our medical cooperation with Venezuela began as a result of the Vargas tragedy, in which thousands of people died as a consequence of the abandonment and lack of foresight experienced by the poorest population of this state.
For its part, Venezuela has shown particular solidarity with the peoples of the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
It has developed strong links with Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and other nations. It has cultivated relations with Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other republics of the former USSR. It has not forgotten Palestine or Libya. It pays special attention to its economic links with China. It stands in solidarity with the peoples of Africa. It practices a policy of peace with all countries.
The name of Hugo Chávez is admired and respected throughout the world.
Everyone, even many of his adversaries, wishes him a prompt recovery. The doctors are fighting with optimism for this objective.
As is known, all Cuban revolutionaries are followers of Martí and Bolívar. I have the certainty that, with him and however painful his absence, all of you will be capable of continuing his work.
¡Viva Hugo Chávez!
¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
Fidel Castro Ruz
December 15, 2012.