Fidel greatest disciple, a world class statesman and family man who honors his middle name, Modesto
Imagine August 1958, and the 27-year-old already commands a guerrilla front. He has seen many of his comrades fall and has put his own life in danger along the difficult path to save the homeland’s honor.
After visiting the grave of a fellow soldier, he writes in his diary: “I swore I would not rest my entire life in the struggle against the enemies that will get in our way throughout the difficult task we must undertake as honest revolutionaries, and I swore to carry myself spotless and happy to have fulfilled my duty.”
The young man was Raúl Castro Ruz, and he has remained faithful to that oath throughout his extraordinary life, captured in one word: loyalty.
The diary excerpt, considered by specialists at the Second Eastern Front Historical Complex to be Raul, the fighter’s, political testament, was shared by Daily Sánchez Lemus, deputy director of the Presidential Office of Historical Affairs, in a panel discussion entitled “Raúl is Raúl,” who was honored at the Fidel Castro Center yesterday, June 2, on the occasion of his 91st birthday.
Before an audience of young members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, Sánchez Lemus, Elier Ramírez Cañedo, deputy director of the Center, and Katiuska Blanco Castiñeira, head of the institution’s department of Biographical Studies and Works of the Comandante en jefe, emphasized Raúl’s consummate fidelity to his brother, based on mutual admiration and respect; and recalled the moment during the war when the younger brother stepped forward placing his body between the drawn weapon of an insubordinate and Fidel.
Raúl is passionate about history, and believes that those who made it have a duty to tell it. The panelists discussed his deep commitment to the memory of those who gave their lives in the struggle, including his friends, José Luis Tasende and Ñico López.
Ramírez Cañedo spoke of the modest man, who shuns recognition, who prefers deeds to words, jovial and endearing, the born organizer, uncompromising when confronted with a job done badly, a leader who transcends the borders of Cuba, and serves as a reference for all revolutionaries.
“History is not made without personal sacrifice,” recalled Katiuska Blanco, and highlighted Raúl’s tenderness and sensitivity as a brother, and as Vilma’s life companion, as well as the love and humanism that distinguish him as a communist.
The man who upheld Fidel’s legacy in leading the country, the singular statesman who continues “with his foot in the stirrup,” ready to give of himself whenever the homeland calls, was thanked for his devotion to the struggle over more than 70 years, giving the phrase: “Raúl is Raúl” meaning.