Following is the text of the letter from Fidel Castro to President Hugo Chávez on the occasion of the return of Chávez to Venezuela on Feb. 18. The translation is by Granma International.
It gives me great satisfaction that you have been able to return to the American land you love so much and to the sister people who give you so much support.
A long and distressing wait was necessary to obtain this result, with your impressive physical endurance and the total dedication of the doctors, as has been the case for 10 years.
It is absolutely just to mention the unsurpassed constancy with which your closest family members, your compañeros in the revolutionary leadership, the Bolivarian Armed Forces, rearmed and re-equipped by you, and honest people throughout the world, demonstrated their support.
The encouragement which the Venezuelan people expressed with their daily demonstrations of enthusiastic and uncompromising support merits a special mention. Your fortunate return to Venezuela is a result of this.
Over these hard days of suffering and sacrifice you have learned a great deal about life, Hugo. Now that we will not have the privilege of receiving your news on a daily basis, we will return to the method of correspondence which we have used over the years.
We will live always fighting for justice among human beings, without fearing the years, months, days or hours, modestly conscious of the fact that it has befallen us to live in the most critical era of the history of our humanity. Our people, who are also your people, will learn of your return to Venezuela via this same letter.
Everything was done with much discretion in order to deny fascist groups the opportunity to plan their shameless actions against the Bolivarian revolutionary process.
When the socialist camp collapsed and the USSR disintegrated, imperialism, with the sharpened dagger of its blockade, proposed to drown the Cuban Revolution in blood; Venezuela, a relatively small country in the divided America, was capable of preventing that. For the sake of time, I have not mentioned the many countries of the Antilles, Central and South America which Venezuela, in addition to its great economic and social plans, was capable of helping. For that reason, all honest people in the world have closely followed “the health of and news about Chávez.”
¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
A strong embrace!
Fidel Castro Ruz
8:35 pm, February 18, 2013