With a history of tensions between the United States and its neighbour Cuba, there aren’t many Americans who can speak about visiting Cuba and meeting the Cuban leader. But Bill Richardson has some stories to tell. He is a former governor of New Mexico who served in Bill Clinton’s administration. He was sent to Havana as an envoy a few times to meet Fidel Castro.
Well the strongest memories are the two very lengthy meetings we had in the late 80s and 90s when I was trying to get some political prisoners out of Cuba and also trying to better the US-Cuba relationship. But obviously he is a historic figure, good and bad, but a major player, cold war icon… You know, all these memories started streaming through when I found out about his death.
I understand that for all the differences between you and him, you did have something in common.
We did. It was baseball. We both spoke Spanish. We connected personally. You know, he’d get mad at me periodically but on baseball, I remember telling him I went to see a game in Havana. It was a high scoring game but their pitching was a little week. And he didn’t like that. But I quickly changed my tone because I was trying to get some political prisoners out. And he kind of smiled. But it was a way we connected personally. He was a very interesting character sort of a Renaissance man. But at the same time he had this very strong repressive tendencies I’d say. “You know, Fidel, you got to do more on human rights.” “My God,” he said, “what do you mean human rights? What are you talking about?” I said, “Well, you’ve got thousands of political prisoners”. And he said back to me, “no, I don’t have any of them. They are all enemies, criminals of the state”.
Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico.
For more of an insight into the Cuban leader’s routes, our former Havana correspondent Sarah Rainsford who’s now in Moscow visited the estate in the far east of the island where Fidel Castro was born and grew up.
This is where Fidel’s life began. This is the farm that he grew up on. And the first thing you notice about it is he was obviously from a pretty wealthy family. His father was a Spanish immigrant. He began as a laborer for the American company setting up plantations here. But he soon began acquiring land of his own. And the area we’re just heading into now under the huge trees here was the family estate.
1. speak about 谈论; 提到…
例：A poet and artist is coming to speak about Chinese literature and painting tomorrow afternoon.
2. major player 主要参与者; 主要角色; 主要选手; 重量级人物
例：Big business has become a major player in the art market
3. found out about 找出; 弄清有关…的情况; 调查关于……
例：I hope we can find out about it.
4. for all 尽管；虽然
例：For all my experience, I blew a fuse in the quarter-final and could have been sent off.
5. Renaissance man (在艺术、科学等方面)有广泛兴趣和相当修养的文人；文艺复兴式的人物；博学之士，博学多才的人，知识渊博的人，多才多艺的人
例：Is it better to be a Renaissance man or woman and be good at a lot of different things or to be laser-focused and really great at one specific thing?
美国和邻国古巴历来关系紧张，没有多少美国人能够谈论访问古巴并会见古巴领袖的经历，但比尔·里查德森有一些故事要讲 。此人是比尔·克林顿当政期间美国新墨西哥州的州长，曾数次作为使者被派往哈瓦那会见卡斯特罗 。
嗯，最强烈的记忆就是我们的两次时间非常长的会议，分别是在80年代和90年代末，当时我试图将一些政治犯从古巴解救出来，同时也想努力改善美国和古巴的关系 。但无论评价好坏，他是个历史人物、重量级人物、冷战代表人物……当得知他的死讯时，所有这些记忆开始涌现出来 。
的确，主要是棒球，我们还都会说西班牙语，有共同话题 。他偶尔会对我发脾气，但说到棒球，记得我告诉他有一次我去哈瓦那看球赛，比赛得分很高但他们的投球略弱 。他就不高兴了，但是我迅速转变了语气，因为我还是希望解救一批政治犯 。然后他好像露出了笑容，这是我们两人沟通的一种方式 。他是一个非常有趣的人物，还是个多才多艺的人 。但同时我会觉得他有着非常强烈的压制倾向，“菲德尔，你知道吗，你得多做点有关人权的事” 。“天哪，”他说，“人权，你什么意思？你说什么呢？”我说：“嗯，你手里有数千名政治犯呢 。”他回答道：“不，我这儿没有政治犯 。他们都是国家的敌人、罪犯” 。
这是卡斯特罗生命的起点，他就在这个农场上成长 。你会马上注意到他显然出生在一个非常富裕的家庭，他的父亲是西班牙移民，最初是一名劳动工人，帮美国公司在这里开垦种植园，但很快就开始自己包地 。我们正走向的区域，这些大树下的区域是卡斯特罗家的产业 。