Today, I awoke to see that Fidel Castro had passed away at 90 years of age. Some years ago, I found myself living in La Habana, Cuba when Fidel was still running things. Here is a quick story about this photo.
Fidel was implementing a new policy of youth volunteer brigades throughout the cities of the country. He was going to be giving a speech a few blocks from where I lived. When the time rolled around we strolled over to the location, but were met at the security perimeter by a hand full of guards who would not let us pass by, although we seemed to be the only ones stopped. They asked for our identification, but we barely ever carried anything like that on us, even though it is a law in Cuba that everyone, at least all Cubans must carry their identification with them at all times. As foreigners there for the long stay, I was often the one who gave away our non-Cuban-ness. We looked around and then my friend and I said that we knew "papi" or some silly nickname that we actually did know. "Oh you know papi..." - the security looked at us and let us in. Yes, we do know papi.
Fidel spoke for hours that night. However, it seemed everyone who was there was much more interested in hearing how their friends were doing, with some people passing around a bottle of rum, beers, and some smokes - enjoying the Habana night and paying little attention to the speech that was happening close by. These kind of speeches were business as usual for them, except this time is was pretty much in their backyard and we could make it into a party. It got later and I walked back to my residence where I fell asleep. I woke up a couple of hours later to the sound of the television and looked over to only see that Fidel was still droning on. It must have been like a six or eight hour speech at that point. My friend took this photo of the TV set projection and we went back to bed.
Some Cuban resources:
“We Want to Revive Anarchism in Cuba”
The Cuban movement erased by Castro is coming back & they need our solidarity
Anarchist texts on Cuba, Fidel Castro, and Ernesto Che Guevara
This photo also previously appeared in a text on this website titled:
"Haiku the World"