(Taken from CubaDebate)
“HELLO, President” began broadcasting on May 23, 1999. On that same date this year, Chávez was in Ecuador celebrating the 187th anniversary of the Battle of Pichincha. Tomorrow, celebrations to commemorate the program’s tenth anniversary will begin.
The case of Hugo Chávez is an exceptional one in the history of politics. Others have achieved fame and celebrity through the written press, on the radio or television, but never has a revolutionary idea made such efficient use of a communications media. In the Bolivarian Revolution’s epic struggle, if it hadn’t been for this program, imperialism and the oligarchy would have destroyed the Revolution in Venezuela with its almost absolute control of the mass media, its slander and lies.
I have made a conservative calculation that in those ten years, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has dedicated 1,536 hours, the equivalent of 64 full days, to a program for informing and educating the nation.
In that unending exchange, he has been teaching and learning, educating and being educated by the people. He has read, acquired and transmitted knowledge. He has studied and recommended books, remembering the rich history of his country, the struggles and prophetic dreams of Bolivar, many of whose speeches he knew by heart.
“Hello, Mr. President” became a program for Venezuela and for those of us on this planet who want to know what is happening and what may happen. As part of my weekly agenda, I dedicate some time to “Hello.”
The most encouraging thing is that the modest and combative people of Venezuela are increasingly showing their support for Chávez. A growing number of workers and youths are joining the revolutionary ranks. He is winning the battle of ideas.
Close relatives tell me that he is in good health and that they have never seen him more enthusiastic and dynamic; he runs for 40 minutes every day and has lost several pounds in weight in the past month. We are glad. He has been a great friend in the difficult days for the Revolution. We have resisted and we shall steadfastly continue to resist. Today we have more reasons than ever to do so.
Fidel Castro Ruz
May 27, 2009