August 11, 2006
Last week the imperialists again unleashed their lies, wishfully proclaiming I was either dead or incapacitated. In fact, I was neither. I was recovering remarkably well from surgery to stop intestinal bleeding. The Cuban people didn’t need to know whether I had cancer or diverticulosis or some other ailment. They only yearned for reassurance their Commander in Chief since 1959 would be back. Nothing has changed and nothing will. My brother Raul is temporarily in charge and no one is worried. Raul is the second most important man in Cuba and has long controlled the armed forces. He also understands politics and indoctrination camps and coercive education about the revolution.
Viva la Revolución. That’s the ultimate point. The revolution must live forever. I now concede that I cannot, but the revolution can. And since I am the embodiment of the revolution, I too shall in essence endure for all time. That has always been my destiny. I am so much larger than any individual. No one in Cuba or anywhere else compares. Only I could have survived hundreds of assassination attempts and an invasion by the United States and, almost as unnerving, the demise of our great benefactor, the Soviet Union. Who but I could have rigorously maintained the socialist character of the state while compensating for the loss of Russian rubles by developing tourism and permitting some private businesses, which I just may not allow to survive much longer? Who but I could have developed Cuba into a paradise with twice as many doctors per capita as any other country in the world? Our infant mortality rate is very low and life expectancy quite high, as high as in the United States where the enslaved bourgeoisie pay six thousand dollars a year for health care and the poor rot from neglect. In Cuba, health care is free. Who but Fidel could have created a land where every citizen can read and write? Who but I could have freed millions of Africans from apartheid? Who else could have lasted so long in power? You know I am the only one.
Naturally, my Cuban-enemies-exiled-in-Miami celebrated my presumed demise in the most crass and public manner, waving signs and marching in streets lined by capitalist stores of exploitation. We don’t need many stores, and the stores we have don’t need many products. We know how to survive on less. We are not a greedy people. That is why the capitalists hate me. They know that under Fidel Cuba can never again be transformed into a tropical whorehouse or a region of grotesque organized crime as in the former communist states of Eastern Europe. The capitalists keep praying I’ll disappear. They got excited when I fainted in the heat during a speech in 2001. They laughed and embraced when during another long speech, in 2004, I fell and shattered my knee in eight places and broke my arm. But those enemies must have shuddered when they learned I underwent reconstructive surgery without anesthesia.
This time I allowed the doctors to put me under. I knew Raul and several others would collectively handle what I routinely do by myself. They’ll be all right as long as there’s no crisis. Only I can handle crises. Even though I turn eighty this month, I’ve still got to live a long time so others can learn to take my place. It is very hard for Cubans to contemplate life without me. Those who have stayed on the island and supported the revolution, ignoring the lure of Yankee dollars, are the finest people in the world, and so many times I have rewarded them with arm-pumping sermons several hours long. Now my voice is weakening and not as many are paying attention. At least they weren’t. But they are again. Everyone is thinking and talking about Fidel. Imagine how thrilled they’ll be when I resume command.