I did not want to talk a lot, but he obliged me to expand on things; I asked some questions and, basically, listened to him.
His words recounted the feats of the Chinese people in the last 10 months. Heavy and unseasonal snowfall, an earthquake that devastated surface areas equivalent to three times the size of Cuba, and the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s have hit that immense nation of 1.3 billion inhabitants.
I saw before my eyes the immense effort of the Chinese people, of its workers, peasants, manual and professional workers — the traditional spirit of sacrifice and the millennial culture of that country, thousands of years before the colonial stage imposed by the West when the current powers of the G-7 group now hegemonizing the world economy emerged with their power and wealth.
What a colossal task in these times of globalization has befallen that leader who made the gesture of visiting our blockaded, assaulted, and threatened homeland! Are we not perhaps one terrorist country among another 60 or more that could suffer a preventive and surprise attack? That was stated now more than six years ago by the demented chief of the empire, who met just five days ago with the G-20!
China is the only country in that group that is able to regulate a high growth rate via the state, at the proposed rate of no less than 8% in the year 2009. The idea launched by the last Party Congress was to quadruple the per capita Gross Domestic Product between 2000 and 2020, measured in constant values from 2007, the year in which the Congress took place. He talked to me about that in detail. In that way it would reach the equivalent of no less than $4,000 per capita by the end of that period, in conditions of peace. I think that it cannot and should not be forgotten that China is an emerging country, whose per capita income, with a much lower population, did not reach $400 per year per inhabitant when the Revolution triumphed and was totally isolated by imperialism. Compare that with $20,000 per capita or much higher figures currently enjoyed by the developed capitalist countries, like Japan, Western Europe, the United States, and Canada. A number of these countries are in excess of $40,000 per capita per year, although its distribution in society is extremely unequal.
By using $586 billion of its hard currency reserves, which stand at close to $2 trillion, accumulated on the basis of sweat and sacrifice, it can stand up to the current crisis and continue advancing. Is there any other country with that solidity?
Hu Jintao, president of China, secretary general of the Party and president of the Central Military Commissions of the Party and government, is a leader who is aware of his authority and knows how to fully exercise it.
The delegation he headed signed 12 draft agreements for modest economic development in an area of the planet where the totality of the island’s small territory could be struck by hurricanes of increasing intensity, evidence of the fact that the climate really is changing. The area in China affected by the earthquake does not extend to more than 4% of the surface of that great multinational state.
There are circumstances in which the size of the territory of one independent country, its geographical location, and the number of its inhabitants play an important role.
Would the United States, which steals already educated brains from everywhere, be in a condition to apply an Adjustment Act for Chinese citizens similar to the one that it applies to Cuba? It is totally obvious that it could not. Could it apply it to the whole of Latin America? Evidently, it couldn’t, either.
Meanwhile, our marvelous, contaminated, and sole spacecraft continues spinning on its imaginary axis, as one of the most viewed Venezuelan television programs repeats.
It is not every day that a little state has the privilege of receiving a visitor of the stature and prestige of Hu Jintao. Now he is traveling on to Lima. There he has another grand meeting. Once again Bush will be present, this time with seven less days in office.
It is said that in Washington, with the leaders of only 20 countries present, the security measures required by the host and the visiting leaders themselves against any attempt to assassinate them changed the customs and habitual life of the city. What will the great city of Lima be like? Without any doubt, the city will be taken over by the armed forces; moving around will be a complicated task, as the city will also contain well trained agents from U.S. supra-nationals, whose interests and plans will be known many years after the presidential terms of the temporary leaders of the empire.
I related to him very briefly some of our country’s assessments of the habits of the neighbor to the North, which is trying to impose its ideas, its way of thinking, and its interest on us via its fleets, replete with nuclear weapons and attack bombers; our appreciation of Venezuela’s solidarity with Cuba since the most critical years of the Special Period; and the heavy blows of natural disasters. That President Chávez, a great admirer of China, has been the firmest defender of socialism as the only system capable of bringing justice to the peoples of Latin America.
They have pleasant memories of the Bolivarian leader in Beijing.
President Hu Jintao reiterated his desire to continue developing relations with Cuba, a country for which he has great respect.
The meeting lasted for one hour and 38 minutes. He was warm, friendly, modest, and made patent his sentiments of affection. I saw him as young, healthy, and strong. We wish our eminent and fraternal friend the greatest success in his task. Thank you for your stimulating visit and the honor of having an interest in a personal meeting with me!
Fidel Castro Ruz
November 19, 2008
“Hu Meets Fidel Castro,” CCTV
“Hu Visits Cuba,” CCTV
“Raúl Castro Sings in Chinese,” No Comment TV
“Hu Jintao Forges Ties in Cuba,” Reuters 17 November 2008
The original essay “El encuentro con Hu Jintao” and an English translation of it were first published by Granma International on 20 November 2008. See, also, a report of Hu’s visit in China Daily (19 November 2008): “Hu Vows to Boost Ties with Cuba.”