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November Sunday

Fidel: alive and restrained by no small place

If you were not present in every act and your ideas did not accompany the daily life of this country—full of joys and sorrows, but always resilient and victorious in the face of adversity—perhaps I would accept, after five years, that you have died.

Since that night of November 25, 2016, when I woke up startled at the announcement of your departure, I came to terms with your passage to immortality. And there you are, with that distinct light of yours, guiding your people’s fate and gazing at the continuity that you triggered.

I do not accept your departure, even if a snapshot reminds me of the moment when, properly dressed in a military uniform, I honored you for 15 minutes at the Provincial Party Committee in the province of Ciego de Avila and ratified, surrounded by a sad, deathly hush, the commitment to honor you every day, in word and in deed and by practicing what I preach.

I remember the desolation of my people—your people—gathered along the sides of the Central Highway, awaiting your return to Santiago de Cuba, the land from where you once left for Havana, together with the other bearded men, with the promised and conquered victory and with plenty of impetus to fulfill the Moncada program.

I was there, trying to make my way through the crowd to tell you, “Farewell!” I saw the caravan passing by in the opposite direction to the one you took when the Revolution triumphed, and I saw many people crying, even those who, clinging to stereotypes, claimed that men did not cry.
I saw the caravan passing by, and I felt anguish and pain and I cried! At the sight of your small coffin, I refused to believe that you, with your immensity (in the broadest sense of the word), had fit into such a small space.

I was not even convinced by the five letters on its side, because there was not, nor is there, any way to understand that a man with your physical and spiritual height could travel inside that.

I also relived the feelings in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, in front of the gigantic rock where they say you are resting (and I say it like this because I don't believe that men like you ever rest either). I studied it endlessly and patiently, without thinking about the line waiting behind me to take my place, but I didn't understand that there was room for you there either.

Men of your size do not die, nor is there a confined room for them. I confirm every day that your space is still everyone's space and that you fill the immensity of a country and a world in which you have never stopped honoring the commitment you made to your people and to humanity as a whole.

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