Wednesday 22 November 2017

Castro tells story of life as guerrilla

Rosa Prince in New York

FIDEL Castro, the 85-year-old revolutionary who led Cuba for nearly 50 years, is publishing a two-volume memoir called 'Guerrilla of Time'.

In a rare public appearance, the ailing former president spoke for six hours to an invited audience in Havana about the book, which traces his life from his birth as the illegitimate son of a wealthy farmer up to 1958, when he successfully led the communist revolution in Cuba.

"I have to seize the opportunity now because my memory is spent," he told his guests.

The 1,000-page book is written in the form of a series of questions and answers with the journalist Katiuska Blanco, who also wrote a biography of the Castro family, and charts his rise to power up until the communists won power on January 1, 1959.

Among the most eagerly awaited passages will be his memories of friend and fellow revolutionary Che Guevara, who fought alongside Castro from 1956 until the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista two years later.

The memoirs are published by the Brazilian firm Editora Abril and are expected to go on sale soon. They are illustrated with photographs and drawings by the Cuban painter Ernesto Rancano.

In the only section released from the book so far, he says: "I prefer an old clock, old eyeglasses, old boots and in politics, everything new."

Footage of the ceremony, at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, was screened on Cuban state television and showed a smiling and animated Castro wearing a dark tracksuit and blue plaid shirt.

Castro handed over power to his brother, Raul, in 2006 while suffering from ill health. The book launch was the first time he had appeared in public since April 2011. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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