I saw last week that President Obama of the United States shook hands with Raúl Castro in Johannesburg, at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. It was just a handshake, but Fidel congratulated his brother, saying he had given a brilliant performance. “Señor Presidente,” Raúl announced to Barack Obama, “yo soy Castro.” Did he doubt that Obama knew who he was?
I read all this on my new computer, a gift from one of my children, Ernesto, the only one who makes money. Clare scolds me if I spend too much time on it, yet she does like to hear the news. Last night we talked about Mandela and Africa, as we walked under the coffee trees on our little farm here in Costa Rica. There are only enough to harvest for the family and some friends, but I like having them. I pick the cherries myself, even with my bad knees, and the first of them will be ready in a couple of weeks.
Clare and I never made it to South Africa, but we were in Madagascar twice, working with AIDS patients for Médecins Sans Frontières. The Cuban doctors go to South Africa. We wanted to work there for a month as well, but the MSF board, once the two of us turned 80, felt that we were too old for such work. Coño, they are bureaucats at heart. They should see Clare in the ocean when we go, swimming like a young girl.
I shouldn’t care about Raúl. But when I see him shaking Obama’s hand it’s an old anger that rises up in me. It took Raúl decades to displace his brother—but in 1959, when he got the chance, he wasted no time in removing me as chief of the Cuban Army. I will never forgive him for that. I don’t need any revenge, really. But I would like some. I’d like him to fall over with a heart attack tomorrow. Before I ever do, at least! Fidel can live on forever, wearing those red and blue athletic suits. He’s a cranky old guy, but what can I do, I still love him.