Former Cuban president Fidel Castro presented two volumes of his memoir entitled Time Guerrilla in a ceremony that marked his first public appearance since in April last year, Cuban media reported.
The memoirs trace his life from infancy until 1958, when he succeeded in leading a revolution that turned Cuba into a communist country aligned with the Soviet Union.
Castro’s recollection of events is reported through conversations with journalist Katiuska Blanco.
“I have to seize the opportunity now because my memory is spent,” the 85-year-old Castro told guests at a presentation on Friday at the Palace of Conventions in Havana.
The Cuban leader had not been seen in public since April, when he attended the closing ceremony of a Communist Party congress. Among the guests on Friday was Cuban Cultural Minister Abel Prieto, Union of Writers and Artists president Miguel Barnet and Blanco, the book’s author.
“I’m willing to do everything possible to convey what I remember well,” Castro was quoted as saying in the official newspapers Granma, Young Rebel and on the Web site Cubadebate. “I’ve been expressing all the ideas I had and the feelings that I went through. I am aware of the importance of telling all this to pass it so that it can be useful.”
During the conversations with Blanco, which span 1,000 pages in the book, Castro said: “I prefer an old clock, old eyeglasses, old boots and in politics, everything new.”
Blanco, who also authored the first official biography of Castro and his family, presents his memoirs in the form of questions and answers.
The book is similar to One Hundred Hours with Fidel, a book of conversations between Castro and Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet, published in late 2006, just after the Cuban leader turned over power to his brother, Raul, amid a health crisis.
Since then, Fidel Castro has dedicated himself to publishing a book that narrates his experiences during the Cuban revolution and writing columns in the media titled Reflections. The columns expound his views on current events.
He gave copies of his two-volume memoirs to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during her visit to Cuba last week, according to diplomatic sources in Brazil.
The memoirs are published by Editora Abril and illustrated with photographs and drawings by the Cuban painter Ernesto Rancano.
Fidel Castro spoke about international politics during his presentation at the Palace of Conventions.
He said he closely follows events in Venezuela under the government of his friend, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“No one did more for the people of Venezuela and the Bolivarian Movement,” he said.
He also referred to the Chilean student protests demanding free and quality education under the guidance of their leader Camila Vallejo.
“We should support the ideas of the young Chilean in the sense of fighting for education available equally to all,” Fidel Castro said.
“It shouldn’t be just general education and free, but we should also worry about what is taught,” he added.
Regarding the politics of Latin America and the Middle East, he said: “There is no longer room only for national interests. Instead, they should be framed under world interests. Our duty is to fight until the last minute for our country, for our planet and for humanity.”
Fidel Castro also congratulated the families of five Cuban agents convicted of espionage in the US. The Cuban government refers to them as “heroes” and “anti-terrorists” for their work in monitoring anti--Castro groups in Miami.