Thiruvananthapuram: CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury recollected how Fidel Castro paid meticulous attention for details while discussing a wide range of topics. “Fidel Castro’s meticulous attention to detail, I experienced personally in 1993. I accompanied Jyoti Basu to Cuba soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Time had carried Fidel on its cover with caption, “Castro's Cuba: The End Of The Dream.” “One evening, after both of us retired, we were informed around 11 p.m. that the Commandante was waiting to receive us. In a discussion that lasted well over two hours and covered many issues, including the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union on Cuba, Fidel suddenly started asking detailed information regarding India on issues like the quantity of steel produced, the amount of arable and irrigated agricultural land, etc.
Jyoti Basu had least expected such questions and that too in the early hours of the morning. “Fidel, then, turned to me and said, given Jyoti's age, one can pardon him but I had no business not to have this information on my fingertips. Since then, I met Fidel twice on different occasions, always with the latest handbook of statistics in my pocket! In a Facebook post, CPM politburo member M. A. Baby recollected his meeting with Fidel 24 years ago in 1992 December. “Carribean Princess” a ship left Haldia harbour of Kolakta with 10,000 tonnes of wheat and 10,000 tonnes of rice to express solidarity with Cuba in its fight against US imperialism.
“A reception was organised at the Havana port for the delegation headed by Harikishen Singh Surjeet. Fidel and Surjeet spoke at the function. We handed over Fidel’s portriant drawn by M. F. Hussain’s son Shamsad to the Cuban leader. He saw the portrait with a chuckle in his eyes and child like innocent smile. “Later our delegation had a nearly three hour meeting with him. After Surjeet finished with his conversation, I sought his permission to make a point. I told Fidel that if Cuba could assist us in sports, art and literature it would strengthen Cuba-India Freindship. At that time Cuba had moved ahead of many developed countires at the Barcelona Olympics and came fifth in medal tally. I suggested it would be good if we had some exhibition matches between the two countries. On hearing the suggestion he laughed.”
“We need to be careful while having friendly matches between India and Cuba and if we don’t then our friendship can even become weak. We have more medals in boxing and wrestiling. Will it not lead to injuries to Indian stars during such matches and create sadness? After these remarks he laughed heartily. Even we couldn’t control our laughter. Our football team is weak; it would be nice if we send them. Indian team will be able to defeat them,” he said....