On Death Anniversary, Children Forced to Praise Fidel Castro as ‘Every Girl’s Boyfriend’

(Photo credit: YouTube/Screenshot, ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
YouTube/Screenshot, ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

The Cuban state publication Havana Tribune has published a video of young children reciting a poem in honor of dead dictator Fidel Castro, thanking him “for making us men” and calling him “every girl’s boyfriend.”

The Miami-based outlet Martí Noticias notes that the children in the video, mostly girls, “do not appear to be older than ten or 11.” They are “Young Pioneers,” children whose high grades in school force them into the Communist Party at an early age. The video appears to have been published as a commemoration of Castro on the anniversary of his death, though the event, according to Martí, occurred in October.

The children are reciting a poem called “Song to Fidel” by communist Carilda Oliver Labra, according to CiberCuba, which also identifies the children as students at Pedro M. Rodríguez primary school. It also provides the text of the entire poem, which describes Castro as “the boyfriend of all the girls/who have their upright dreams” and “the direct sun over the coffee and palm trees.”

Castro, “like a sudden hurricane/like a bunch of flags,” the poem continues, has “no blankets and no woman/and even in his dawn/with lukewarm roosters of horror/I also raise my honor/and follow him to the battle/with this verse that explodes/like a grenade of love.”

“Thank you for being true,” the poem concludes. “Thank you for making us men/thank you for caring for the names/that liberty has/thank you for your dignity/thank you for your loyal rifle/your pen and paper/your manly groin.”

Martí Noticias speculates that Oliver Labra’s poem is meant to parallel Fidel with Jesus Christ; just as Jesus was said to take the Church as his wife, so too Fidel Castro would take the girls of Cuba as his girlfriends, the theory goes. The poet has not confirmed the interpretation, nor does the explanation clarify the appropriateness of the rest of the questionable language in the poem for use with children.

While Cuban exiles commemorated celebrations of Castro’s death this time last year, the communist government enforced a morning period full of special events to celebrate Castro’s alleged immortality. “Fidel never left,” Elián González, a former Cuban exile who was abducted by the Clinton administration at gunpoint and forced to live in Cuba, said in a speech honoring his captors in Matanzas. “A year after his death, Fidel’s thoughts are more active than ever, a dignified, honored man of good heart and high morale, a giant figure because Fidel is all of us Cubans.”

In a Havana event, student leader Raúl Palmares called Castro “immortal” and asserted he would “persevere as the most beloved comrade.”

Castro’s grandson, Fidel Castro Smirnov, said at an event on Friday that his grandfather’s “DNA is present in millions of revolutionaries inside and outside of Cuba, in our America, in the world, so Fidel is present biologically.” Smirnov also claimed he “spoke” to Castro regularly.

Castro’s sexual irresponsibility—he had eight known children and, allegedly, many affairs—has long been part of his communist myth, even fueling a persistent, but invalidated, conspiracy theory that Castro fathered Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. There is no evidence, however, that Castro fathered “millions.”

The communist state newspaper Granma declared on the anniversary of his death that “Fidel will never leave,” claiming that Cubans voluntarily shouted “I am Fidel!” at commemorative events and that Castro has personally “once again united a multitiude of grateful young people.”

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