I have been watching for hours now on television the tribute that the entire country is paying to Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque. I think that facing death was for him just another duty as so many others he discharged throughout his life. He did not know — neither did we — how much sadness the news of his physical absence would bring to us.
I was privileged to know this young Black militant worker who would successively be the leader of a revolutionary group, a combatant at the Moncada, a comrade in prison, a platoon captain at the time of the Granma landing, an officer with the Rebel Army — held back by a shot in his chest during the violent combat at Uvero Â the Commander of a column marching on to create the Third Eastern Front, and the comrade sharing the leadership of our forces in the last successful battles to overthrow the tyranny.
I was an exceptional witness to his exemplary conduct for over half a century of heroic and victorious resistance in the struggle against the bandits, during the Giron counteroffensive, the Missile Crisis, the internationalist missions and the resistance to the imperialist blockade.
It was a pleasure to listen to some of his songs, especially the one particularly emotional where he bade farewell to human dreams in response to the homelandÂs call to Âwin or dieÂ.
I was not aware that he had composed over 300 songs in addition to his literary work, a source of historical narratives and enjoyable reading.
He defended principles of justice that will be defended at any time and age while human beings breathe on Earth.
LetÂs not say that Almeida is dead! Almeida lives today more than ever!
Fidel Castro Ruz
September 13, 2009