My Last Farewell to Armando Hart

Tonight I will go to the Marti Studies Center of Cuba to give my last farewell to revolutionary combatant Armando Hart Dávalos, who died in Havana of a heart attack.

To say Armando Hart in Cuba is to invoke some of the most transcendental works of Fidel Castro’s revolution. Especially in the fields of education, culture, journalism and politics. Before meeting Armando Hart, I had had very casual relationships in the insurrectional camp with his brother Enrique Hart, whom I admired a lot but worked with very little, because although we both were active in the same revolutionary organization, the 26th of July Movement, my level in its hierarchy was far from from that which Enriquito and Armando had reached.

During my six years as Cuban Ambassador in Romania from 1962 to 1968, I used to do what I jokingly called “courtesy visits” to several colleagues with whom I had developed friendly relations at the time of the insurrectional struggle against the Batista dictatorship. which I consolidated during the period from 1959 to 1961 when I worked as “Introducer of Ambassadors”, a position that is also called Director of Protocol, in the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, then headed by the Chancellor of Dignity, Raúl Roa.

One of those habitual friends contacted during my always short vacation in Cuba was the young Armando Hart, at that time Minister of Education, with whom I exchanged my new diplomatic experiences, with his as minister and political leader.

Each annual meeting with Hart was for me a master class that left me better prepared to contribute to the revolutionary cause in my country while I felt that the experiences in international politics that Armando narrated were also well received.

When I finished my mission as an ambassador in Bucharest and introduced myself to Roa, the foreign minister informed me that, by indication, President Osvaldo Dorticos would go to work in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) with Armando Hart, who was then the Organization Secratary of the PCC. From then on, I served as head of the (unipersonal) section of international information of the Cuban party organization in a function that basically meant serving as Party spokesperson in permanent exchange with those responsible for international information of accredited national or foreign press Cuba.

For me, this was great news. It allowed me to continue for a few more years developing my intellect, which is the main benefit received by those who have had the honor to work as collaborators with Armando Hart.

A short time later, at Hart´s suggestion, I was selected Director General of the Prensa Latina news agency. There I maintained close working and friendship relations with this extraordinary Cuban revolutionary intellectual whose footprint will remain indelible in the history of the country.

In recent years I have shared with Dr. Armando Hart the role of collaborator with newspapers PORESTO! and a strong friendship with its General Director Mario Menéndez Rodríguez.

A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.