VLADIKAVKAZ, November 26. /TASS/. Public interest in the personality of the late Fidel Castro will continue growing and everyone who knew that legendary man personally have a duty to share their personal recollections with others, believes the Russian politician Alexander Dzasokhov, a former president of the constituent region of North Ossetia.
During the Soviet era, Dzasokhov was the head of the Committee of Solidarity with Asian and African countries. He came to Cuba in 1963 as the leaders of a delegation of 300 young specialists for giving assistance to Cuban government.
"We came to Freedom Island less than a year after the Caribbean Crisis and it’s easy to imagine what the Soviet-Cuban relations were like at the time," Dzasokhov said. "Like many other Soviet initiatives of that time, the objective of our trip was to lift the tensions in the relationship between Cuba and the Soviet Union."
"Fidel wasn’t particularly happy over the fact we had had to withdraw the nuclear forces from Cuba," he said. "I remember how I studied the basics of Spanish prior to the trip because I would have to make a speech in Havana upon arrival in front of Fidel himself and hundreds of Cubans who would come to meet and greet the Soviet delegation."
Dzasokhov believes it is very important for today’s Russia to remember that Cuba, a small insular country, stood side by side with this country throughout the Cold War.
"Like no other person in the 20th century, Fidel showed that although he was the leader of a nation that’s small in terms of population and the size of its territory, he wielded much more influence on global processes than the leaders of many superpowers," he said.
"The ruminations about Soviet assistance to Cuba are true to fact, of course, but it’s equally true that Cuba and Fidel personally made a huge contribution to assuring international support of all the Soviet foreign policy initiatives," Dzasokhov said. "Even larger nations can’t say they sided with our country during the Cold War but Fidel could say it, indeed."
He also recalled a meeting with Fidel in Havana in August 1967 during a conference of Latin American countries’ solidarity.
"This was a very complicated year since the size of aid from the USSR, which had been agreed on and even formalized in documents, did not receive support in the form of facts that would prove we were observing all of our commitments," Dzasokhov said.
"Besides, for the reasons quite understandable the Cuban leader was irritated by Moscow’s attempts to set up relations with Latin American regimes," he said. "From Moscow’s standpoint, this was the right thing to do but Havana perceived it as the underrating of leftwing parties in those countries."
"It’s important to state, however, that Castro never descended to the positions that would weaken relations between our countries," Dzasokhov said. "Friendship can never be one-sided if there is true solidarity. In terms of support for the Soviet Union’s initiatives on war and peace, in a search for fair society, and in the support of national liberation movements Cuba really did much to a dignified ally of our country.".