Monday, 2 June 2008


Cuban Daily Publishes Preface to Chinese edition of book: One Hundred Hours with Fidel
March 11, 2008

[pictured: Castro meeting with Wu Guanzheng, Politburo member of the CPC]

Las Tunas, (Writing Tiempo21).- The Cuban newspaper Granma publishes Tuesday the foreword written by Fidel Castro to the Chinese edition of the book entitled One Hundred Hours with Fidel, by the French journalist Ignacio Ramonet. Below the entire text.

To the people of China

I am pleased to think that the legendary Chinese people, of millennial culture, will count on the modest ideas written in this book. This is thanks to the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Ciencias Sociales Publishing House, attached to the Academy of Social Sciences of China, that translated into that rich language the volume One Hundred Hours with Fidel, in which I answer the questions of the French journalist Ignacio Ramonet.

José Martí, our National Hero, while he faced the Spanish colonial domain, almost 120 years ago, in a book for children and adolescents, spoke of a Chinese emperor that when proclaiming his victory he exclaimed: "When there is not freedom in the earth, everybody must look for it on a horse! "

The history of Cuba is witness of the firm conviction with which the Chinese people had ingrained the sense of freedom. The heroic participation of many Chinese citizens in our war for the independence 1868 - who arrived deceived at the Spanish colony in Cuba under the form of contracts, promoted by England that then for mercantilist reasons and of competition wanted to substitute the African slavery by the Chinese slavery - strengthened the high concepts we had about China. Gonzalo de Quesada, Martí´s beloved friend, asserted this in a brief and firm expression: “There was not a Chinese-Cuban deserter. There was not a Chinese-Cuban traitor”.

By the middle of the 20th century, the social revolutions that took place, first in China and later in Cuba, mated for the future to our two counties in the same fight trench for the socialism.

To only 86 years after the foundation of their Communist Party and 57 after the proclamation of the People's Republic, China has become the main motor of the world economy.

On the other hand, Cuba in a distant latitude has resisted without giving in almost 50 years of aggressions and strong economic blockade by part of the United States, the most powerful imperialistic power in the human history. If Cuba has been able to organize its resistance, it not only due to its patriotism, but also to the wide solidarity and the support that it has received from other revolutionary people of the world, among them the beloved People's Republic of China.

Our destinations are intertwined in a world where the force and the unique pole must be faced with wisdom and many poles.

In the 21st century the world must count on China and many of the humanity's big challenges won't have solution without its active and cardinal participation.

For those essential reasons, we grant exceptional importance to this book in Chinese language that will allow those readers and studious to have a bigger information on the history of our Latin American region and the events of great international repercussion that took place or are happening in this hemisphere. The topics and the questions made by the French journalist are numerous and complexes. We had long conversations from 2003 to 2005, without having idea that my answers would engender this book.

Ramonet, activist and militant of the world movement of fight against the neoliberal globalization, says with transparency in his introduction the things in which he doesn't agree we us, due to his point of view of European intellectual. Those ideas appear textually in the Spanish edition and in the first Cuban edition.

Already published the Spanish edition and the first Cuban edition in Spanish language without having the opportunity of revising the transcription of the interview, I promised Ramonet to carry out a complete and meticulous revision of the extensive material, which was partilly recorded or filmed, while there were other brief notes taken quickly by hand in long air trips or using other means of transportation by land. I was absorbed in that unavoidable and important work and in other multiple activities that our fight demands when I made sick, at the end of July 2006. While I was hospitalized and during whole weeks, I dedicated time to revise all the answers, paragraph by paragraph.

The second Cuban edition was published for the celebration of the 14th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries in Havana, in September. The text handed to Ramonet increased 80 pages, among them those dedicated to the letters exchanged with the Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khruschev during the October Crisis in 1962 and with the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein soon after the occupation of Kuwait in 1990, and the dramatic story of the steps given by Cuba during the bankrupt coup d'etat in Venezuela in April 2002.

In the perennial search for offering wider and more exact information, already convalescent, I dedicated several weeks to the preparation of the third edition, in order to give it to many friends that would come to Cuba on December 2nd, 2006 to celebrate my 80th birthday. So the text received new precisions in style and content, as well as answers to new questions specially made by the journalist Ignacio Ramonet for the French edition of the book.

The Chinese reader could realize that some of the exposed ideas were taking place when I was asked, but I didn't avoid the answers. At this moment I have much more information and I have had more time to meditate and to deepen on those topics.

An additional honor is that this publication is going to be carried out at an early date to the October 1st, with reason of the 58th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Chinese Revolution and Independence, fruit of the extraordinary military and revolutionary prowess of a people I always admired for its industry, intelligence and heroism.

Fidel Castro Ruz

September 12, 2007

Translation: Ernesto Gutiérrez Pino

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