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Fidel Castro meets with participants at Cuban book fair

The meeting, organized by the “In Defense of Humankind” network, convened in Havana under the motto “in favour of peace and environment” and 2012 Casa de las Americas award recipient Zuleika Romay opened it with a keynote speech on the motives for being there.

Romay said they were inspired by the warning Fidel Castro made 20 years ago, in Rio de Janeiro, when he said humankind was facing the danger of extinction, a reality more evident today, she added.

For over nine hours, personalities like French journalist Ignacio Ramonet, Brazilian theologian Frei Betto, Argentinean journalist and writer Stella Calloni, Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, among others, tackled the problems humankind is facing.

Fidel addressed the audience, showing a stack of printed pages with “only the news of the last three days” which he proposed to discuss since they would confirm the urgency of the meeting.

He read and dissected several of them, saying that “the least we can do is to have our people informed” and suggested compiling all the discussions and ideas in a book.

“We have to fight. We cannot be overcome by pessimism. It is our duty” he concluded.

The “In Defense of Humankind” network was created in 2003 out of the suggestion of Mexican intelligentsia and gathers writers, lawyers, teachers, economists, theologians, students, social movements, and alternative media, among others.

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