These Venezuelan friends arrived in Cuba on March 27 as part of the “Second Bolívar-Martí Solidarity Flight. A bridge connecting peoples.”
Those who met and conversed with Fidel on March 30 belonged to the group of 155 Venezuelans who were invited by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and its travel agency Amistar.
On the day of the chance encounter, the group of 155 had divided into four to visit various schools in Havana. One of the groups traveled to the Vilma Espín Guillois Educational Complex, in the neighbourhood of Siboney.
The school was inaugurated by Fidel in 2013, having noted whenever he passed through the streets of the neighborhood that the local children had to travel long distances to the nearest schools.
30 or so brothers and sisters from the land of Bolívar were touring the facilities of the Educational Complex, when Fidel happened to pass close by.
The children were the first to spot the vehicles they’ve come to recognize and shout out, “Fidel is coming, Fidel is coming…” The group of visitors quickly joined the students as they shouted out slogans and greetings. The Comandante decided to visit the school, and once there he conversed with the head teacher and the organizers of the visit.
Fidel greeted each of the Venezuelans one by one, without haste, and asked them about the current situation in the country that gave us that immense friend, Hugo Chávez. He also commented on topics regarding the Venezuelan National Assembly, working with the youth and agricultural efforts. He aroused much admiration as he recalled the names of deputies, governors and people he had come to know in numerous exchanges with the land of Bolívar.
Fidel was the same as always, the Fidel we know so well: he did not leave without having discussed the most pressing issues. He showed particular concern for the current struggle of Venezuela to ensure its integrity and sovereignty are respected. He noted that they must work quickly to collect as many signatures as possible to be sent to President Obama, petitioning him to revoke the executive order labeling Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security. He stressed that we must hurry because the balance of the world is at stake.
Fidel is full of life. This was the most repeated description of the Comandante from the Venezuelan friends who were able to meet and converse with him. “Fidel is alive,” they joyfully stated, having been witnesses to a truly fortuitous encounter.