A Convinced Cuban Internationalist

July 24, 2017 | Print Print |

By Miguel Arias Sanchez

Treasures of Miguel Jimenez

HAVANA TIMES – Miguel Jesus Jimenez Rojo is 72 years old, he enlisted himself into the whirlwind of the Revolution, faithfully collaborating with it in any corner of the world where he was needed. Today, he lives in very modest conditions.

HT: Last year, it was the FAR’s (Revolutionary Armed Forces) 60th anniversary and they were giving out a commemorative medal. Did you receive it?

Miguel Jimenez: Yes, in an event at the school in my community, with the pioneers (school kids) and other fighters. It was very exciting.

HT: What does this medal mean to you?

MJ: It means recognition for the sacrifice and sweat I have given to the cause and an ideal, over all these years.

HT: How many military campaigns did you take part in?

MJ: In all of them. I was at the Cuban Missile Crisis in October ‘62, at the Escambray rebellion and at the Bay of Pigs.

Miguel Jesus Jimenez Rojo

HT: Did you also go to Africa?

MJ: Of course, to Ethiopia and Angola.

HT: Didn’t you think that you might die in one of those wars?

MJ: I was convinced that I was fighting for a just cause and that I could come back alive or die.

HT: Were you ever scared?

MJ: Like every human being, there were moments when I felt afraid, but the heat of battle made that fear disappear and all that was left, was the longing to live.

HT: Did you ever think that you would receive future benefits for having given your all and even risking your life?

MJ: I never thought about that, I simply went to give everything I had for nothing in return; I don’t have anything today, just the satisfaction of knowing that I fulfilled my duty and my ideals.

HT: Were you ever pressured to go and fight in another country that wasn’t your own at any point?

MJ: No, I always went out of conviction and it was my own decision, I don’t regret what I did.

HT: Are you a Communist Party member?

MJ: No, if only I were, I am a fidelista 100%.

HT: So, what does Fidel mean to you?

MJ: He was an example of altruism, convictions and a guide for my life.

A framed collage on the wall of Miguel Jimenez’s home.

HT: In one of the postulates of his Concept of the Revolution, Fidel stated: Revolution, is changing everything that needs to be changed.

MJ: Yes, it has changed in style, in many concepts, in many decisions, to always improve socialism and to make it long-lasting.

HT: What did you feel when you received the news of Fidel’s death?

MJ: A deep sadness and pain, because he was the most important man in these two centuries and I believe that his example will always live on in the Cuban people.

HT: Sixty years have gone by ever since you began this struggle. If you could start all over would you do it again?

MJ: Yes, I believe I would, I would do the same, I would become involved with the Revolution and be willing to go wherever they needed me and I would continue to feel proud of what I did and who I am. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a better life, I’m at peace, I contributed with my actions so that everyone else could have peace.

HT: To round this off, would you like to add anything else?

MJ: Yes, “Hasta la victoria siempre” (Until victory always).

Thank you.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Pobrecito. This poor man is a carbon copy of my wife’s grandfather. My wife’s grandfather, despite his sacrifices for the Castro revolution, would probably die within 3 months without the medicine he receives from my wife every month. There are millions of Fidelistas in Cuba. Most of them will likely die believing in a man and a movement that has failed them. Very sad.

    • Chidi

      There are millions more Fidelistas abroad. Fidel is an idea that will never die. I happen to be a Nigerian Fidelista. There are thousands of Fidelistas from Latin America, Asia and Africa presently being created in Cuban educational institutions. There are even American citizens getting influenced by the altruism of Fidel. For us Fidelistas, people like you are the ones who are impoverished because you live your lives without ever enjoying the contentment that accompanies spiritual fulfillment. Unfortunately – for you – the efforts you make to attack an immortal idea and symbol are futile.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        The blind lead the blind. Why did the Pope not recognize the “spiritual fulfillment” to which you refer Chidi when he ex-communicated Fidel Castro? Who are you to determine that others do not enjoy contentment from spiritual fulfillment? It is interesting that you invoke immortality for Fidel Castro. Remember his little brother Raul, determining that the names of Hugo Chavez and Ernesto Guevara were: “sacred”? So much religious fervor by communists. Marx and Lenin must be sickened.

        • Chidi

          I am agnostic, Carlyle. For your information, spiritual satisfaction isn’t dependent on religious faith. Even though I have enormous respect for the Pope, I don’t recognize any religious authority as valid. Catholicism and religion in general are tools that have been used to subjugate minds all through history. My perspective of Fidel hasn’t been shaped by an idolizing fixation on a political theory. It has resulted from a careful consideration of who and what serves my interests. Colonialism, apartheid, and other manifestations of racism weren’t in the interest of Africans. Thanks to Fidel, Africa achieved progress in the struggle against those degenerate ideas that sought to exterminate people of my race. If you are sickened by my enthusiasm for an individual whose ideas and actions facilitated the education of thousands of doctors from my continent and all over the world, that identifies you as a misanthrope. Ultimately, misanthropes have mental health issues that need to be treated.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Well Chidi, we have something in common, for I have no religious belief. Also my wife is of your race and I have travelled in seven African countries. Memorable experiences include visiting a school in Namibia where the pupils included some who daily waded the river which divides Angola and Namibia and is funded by European charities, You would be correct in criticizing many of the actions of the colonial powers, and they are particularly applicable in Cuba where the Spanish have an horrific history.
            I think you over-estimate the role of Fidel Castro in Africa. As the descendant of a Colonial power (his father immigrated from Galicia in Spain, he had much like those of other colonial powers, for which to make amends. If you want an example of a person who has done more for Africa at large, look no further than Bill Gates.

          • Chidi

            There is no doubt that Bill Gates and other charities save lives in Africa. However, charities tend to offer palliatives and assistance that encourages indolence. In my view, help with education is of more significance. Cuba has offered educational assistance that is incomparable to that offered by any other country of comparable size. Furthermore, the Namibia you mention remains grateful to Fidel and Cuba till date for the role he played in their independence. As a gesture of gratitude, Namibia has continued to send very valuable wild animals to Cuba. Institutions in Namibia and several other African countries bear Fidel’s name in recognition of his assistance. No other country in the world has been a beneficiary of such Namibian gestures.

          • CErmle

            Nelson Mandela and the free peoples of South Africa had/have a great love for Fidel. Fidel is a hero in Africa, even today. Carlyle is a Canadian Trumpite and his thought process is closed.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Poor, poor CErmle, your obvious envy of those who have experience of other countries and know what they are talking about is self evident. One day CErmle you may even get to Disneyland. Then you can describe your own experiences – they may even include a discussion with Goofy!

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            I can truthfully relate that when in Namibia, I did not hear a single mention of Fidel Castro or Cuba, nor have I seen or heard of any contribution made towards education by Cuba in the seven African countries I have visited.
            In Namibia the most visible signs of foreign involvement were the food distribution points giving out UN food aid. But I do note their President being able to use an executive jet in pursuit of his political agenda.
            Yes, that was an interesting TV programme about the collection of free wild animals to ship for exhibition in Cuba. Those animals are much more valuable remaining in their native wild habitat than being used for commercial purposes
            by a combination of the Namibian and Cuban regimes.
            We all know that Cuba cannot even feed its own people due to the steady decline in food production. So, the answer is to import wild animals to live in captivity and receive food that would be better used to feed agricultural livestock?

          • CErmle

            Once again, you have no idea what you are talking about, my Canadian friend. Fidel loved Africa and Africa loves Fidel and the Cuban Revolution. You would have loved Batista and his people now in Florida. Your mindset seems to be one with them.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            You too obviously are suffering from memory loss CErmle. I have repeatedly stated that I detest dictatorship which sadly Cuba has suffered under three dictators in succession:
            Batista
            Fidel Castro
            Raul Castro
            Dictatorship CErmle is evil. Do you agree?
            Your memory is obviously both selective and inaccurate.Unlike the three aforementioned dictators, I believe in freedom of thought, liberty of body and spirit and expression of individuality. In short CErmle I have belief in humanity rather than the proletarian mass so beloved by communism.

          • CErmle

            Well, just as I figured, you have “no religious belief”. That explains who you really are. Enjoy Canada, my friend, enjoy.

        • CErmle

          Since when did the Pope excommunicate Fidel. He even gave him holy communion. You are out of touch.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Since 1962. Get in touch!

      • Moses Patterson

        You have the freedom to believe as you wish. By your comment, you choose to believe the drivel that Fidel put out. While I obviously disagree with that crap, I defend your right to believe as you wish. Do you share my ideals that all men have God-given rights that no government or dictatorship may abridge? Fidel imprisoned, tortured, and murdered many who did not believe as he wished them to believe. How do you support a tyrant who did not extend the rights to his own people that you seem to enjoy.

      • Nick

        Chidi, your comments are perfectly valid.
        I would not describe myself as a Fidelista. But regarding Africa, Fidel sent an army to Angola in order put a to stop to the US backed army of apartheid South Africa.
        Nelson Mandela praised Fidel as a liberator and stated that if it were not for the Cuban intervention, he would have spent longer in jail.
        It seems as though you have made a pro Fidel comment and then been hit by the usual right wing pincer movement that dominates these comments pages
        These two fellas hate anything to do with Fidel Castro.
        They seem to hate and therefore deny anything positive relating to post Revolution Cuba
        Any article or contributor that does not keep in line with their narrow world views incurs a wrath resulting in a flurry of fact denial and a further repetition of the same old pack of dogma.
        Do not be perturbed. It’s just their way of getting through the day.

        On a brighter note, it is most positive and fitting that Nigerians get the opportunity to study in Cuba. There is long Yoruba tradition in Cuba which permeates and enriches a great many aspects of Cuban culture.

    • Terry Downey

      Moses, it’s not the man or the movement that has failed them at all, it’s your failing to comprehend that not all things of integrity can be bought and sold… that some sacrifices will always remain invaluable. Success can never be measured in dollars and cents. You’ll never be able to understand that either because your mind is closed, and tragically, that has also blackened your heart.

      • Moses Patterson

        Nothing in my comment makes reference to anything being bought or sold. I am referring to freedom and democracy. After nearly 60 years, Cubans are still suffering. If you can’t see that, it is not my mind that is closed.

        • Terry Downey

          As predicted, you still don’t get it… and you never will.

          • Olgasintamales

            Almost 60 years of promises and not able to provide a basic needs? That what you get? What Ppl that do not support the Castro’s monarchy have to get? I was born there and I risked my life in the ocean trying to escape what this poor man supports. If you don’t know what he supported. Here the list. Concentration camps for homosexuals and religious groups, (UMAP) lack of freedom of speech, one political party, restricted assembly, control of the media by the government, not freedom to travel abroad until 2012, And I can go on and on, but you probably would say. But, you had free medical attention and free education.

          • CErmle

            Enjoy your stay in the land of Trump.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Obviously CErmle, Olgasintamales being a Cuban who succeeded in fleeing from the oppression of the Castro regime appreciates the benefits of living in the US, compared with Cuba – and has the qualifications to judge, which you obviously lack!

          • Moses Patterson

            I suppose that you “get it”. So what is it that you got?

          • Nick

            Sadly it would appear that you are correct Terry.
            I think Mr P sees the world purely from a Good vs Evil perspective.
            This is great in Star Wars movies but as the reasonable amongst us will know, the real world is far more nuanced.
            From Mr P’s point of view the way that his country is run is GOOD.
            And everything about the way Cuba is run is EVIL.
            Maybe some people will only ever see complex matters in simple linear terms?
            And therefore they have a self justification for condescending and unpleasant little commentaries??

          • Moses Patterson

            You are not qualified to opine on my point of view. You have failed to see the nuances expressed in my comment. By the way, Star Wars is far more complex thanks you suggests. You got that wrong too.

          • Nick

            Ha Ha.
            So long as providing us with your nuanced insights helps to get you through the day………………
            AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Nick, if one regards freedom and liberty as “good” and communism as “evil”, your “Good vs Evil” concept is correct.
            It certainly isn’t possible to sit on the fence about that!

          • Nick

            You like this sitting on the fence metaphor. I can tell you do.
            But it’s not about sitting on any fence Mr MacD, it’s about striving for an understanding of the real world rather than dwelling in the fantasy world which you cannot seem to get out of.
            Maybe you fantasise about being in the heart of the big old beast’s kingdom whilst fooling everyone there and smuggling out your little incognito comments about how bad it all is.
            Maybe you think of yourself as this undercover good guy getting one over on all them bad guys?
            Who knows??
            But whatever fantasy world you live in, it’s always most kind of you to share your narrow and one-eyed viewpoints.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            I Nick, live with my family in the real world – Cuba!
            There are those visitors who enjoy being able to live a higher life than they can achieve in their own countries and feel a degree of superiority because they can afford luxuries which Cubans cannot. My viewpoints are a consequence of living in the reality of Cuba, of knowing the methods and effects of the policies of the Communist regime.
            For you, Cuba may be a fantasy world. Who knows??

      • CErmle

        You are absolutely right. These Trumpite wannabees measure everything in dollars and cents. Their ideology is based in self and greed.

    • Nick

      Doesn’t sound like a ‘Pobrecito’ to me.
      Sounds like a fella who fights for what he believes in and believes in what he fights for.
      You may not share his beliefs, maybe I don’t share his beliefs, but as you say, Miguel is representative of millions. I have had the very good luck to have met and chatted to many people with similar life stories to Miguel across Cuba.
      Although I’m sure this gentleman is not a ‘carbon copy’ of any of them.
      You are condescending in your comment regarding this man, but in comparison to the pride he takes in what he has done so far in his life, what have you ever done to be proud of Mr P?
      And what gives you the authority to look down on others to the extent that you obviously do??

      • Moses Patterson

        Fidel promised this man and millions of others a “New Man”. He asked them for sacrifices that he and his oligarchy were not willing to make. Finally, after nearly 60 years, Cubans are still suffering. Pobrecitos.

      • Olgasintamales

        Next time you in cuba visit him, and please bring soap, toothpaste, because this pobre hombre ca’t afford them in TRD.

  • Olgasintamales

    So this poor devil went to fight in Africa in wars that had nothing to do with a cuban sovereignty and is called “Internationalist” and the Cuban dictatorship calls any cuban who dare to descent Mercenaries.?!?!?! So, is internationalist an euphemism for Mercenarie or the other way around? This man went to Africa supporting the Soviet Union policies if creating conflicts around the world in an ideological war. Paid by the USSR.

  • Dan

    If there were more Miguels in the world the world would be a better place.

  • Ronin

    Whether you agree with Miguel Jesus Jimenez Rojo’s philosophy or not, his outlook is that of a true Warrior. He fought for what he believes in, and put his life on the line for the betterment of a society. One cannot fault a man for having a Warrior mentality. For your Warrior Class spirit, I extend you the outmost respect sir.

  • Michael Ritchie

    Fidel would be proud, Miguel.
    A true Cubano and Fidelista.
    Patria o Muerte

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Hey Michael, pay attention to Nick – he suggests that Fidel being dead, is now an irrelevance.

      • Nick

        Yet another historical inaccuracy Mr MacD?
        And this time the history wasn’t even that long ago.
        The comment of mine you no doubt refer to was only made a week or so ago.