MEXICO CITY – After his serious illness from which it took him four years to recover, Fidel Castro feels like he “rose from the dead” into a “world of crazies,” the former Cuban leader said in an exclusive interview with Mexican daily La Jornada.
Castro’s five-hour conversation with La Jornada editor Carmen Lira was the first interview he has granted to a member of the foreign print media since his public reappearance about 40 days ago.
After his health improved, Castro said he began “to see quite clearly the problems of the growing world tyranny,” and among them he perceived the “imminence of a nuclear attack that would unleash the world conflagration.”
Castro, who recently turned 84, reappeared in public life at the beginning of July after being out of the limelight for four years with a serious illness that forced him to delegate the presidency to younger brother Raul.
“I didn’t aspire to live any longer, much less anything else. I asked myself several times if those people (his doctors) were going to let me live under these conditions or if they were going to allow me to die. Then, I survived, but in very bad physical shape,” he said, although he provided no specifics regarding the nature of his illness.
“I was at death’s door,” said Castro about his suffering, and he revealed that, although he is a large-framed man several inches over 6 feet in height, he weighed just 66 kilograms (145 pounds).
“Today, I’m already between 85 and 86 kilos (187-189 lbs.), and this morning I managed to take 600 steps alone, without a cane, without any help,” he said.
When he began to revive, Castro said he felt “like I was in a world of crazies. A world that appears every day on television, in the newspapers, and which nobody understands. But I don’t want to be absent from the world.”
“The world is in the most interesting and dangerous phase of its existence and I’m quite engaged with what’s going to happen. I still have things to do,” he said.
For example, he said that he wants to form a movement against nuclear war which will become a “force of international persuasion to prevent that colossal threat from coming to pass.”
At first, the former president thought “that the nuclear attack was going to come over North Korea,” an opinion that he later altered because, in his judgment, military action against that country would be vetoed by China in the U.N. Security Council.
“But regarding Iran, nobody’s going to do that, because there’s no veto from either China or Russia,” he said.
Castro has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he fears the United States will attack Iran to stop Tehran’s nuclear program, which some in Israel and the West say is aimed at developing atomic weapons, an allegation the Iranians deny.
A military strike on Iran could lead to nuclear war, Castro maintains.
“We have to mobilize the world to persuade Barack Obama, the president of the United States, to avoid nuclear war. He is the only one who can push, or not push, the button,” the Cuban leader asserted.
Castro said the cumulative destructive power in the world’s existing nuclear arsenals is 460,000 times greater than that of the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The former leader said that a nuclear war scenario could unfold on Sept. 9, when, under the latest sanctions imposed by the Security Council, countries will have the right to board and search Iranian cargo vessels in their own territorial waters.
Iran, however, has vowed to protect its merchant fleet. EFE