It took several months of waiting, but it finally happened. I presented my recently released book in Havana Cuba. The event took place Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 and it was worth the wait. The presentation was held at the Puerto Rican Mission to Cuba located in the Miramar section of Habana.
Very few people know that Cuba is the only country that recognizes Puerto Rico as a sovereign nation and thus has given it the power to establish a mission in Cuba like any foreign country that has an embassy, or mission. I first learned of this during my previous trip to Cuba several years ago while researching for the book and they were quite helpful in helping me find resources for the book. They also insisted that their mission was available whenever I wanted to return with the finished product and present the book in Cuba.
Fast-forward and that was the event held on March 2nd, 2017. I had the pleasure of being accompanied by my wife and nine of my friends who also came from New York spearheaded by three loyal volunteers from my campaigns for city council, Sam & Yvette Martinez and Domingo Fernandez. Thus I felt somewhat relaxed knowing I had many “Bronxites” present.
However, the warmth that I received from every guest present was sufficient enough to make me feel more than at home. The pouring of support that I received for the publication of the historic dinner with President Fidel Castro in the South Bronx and the presentation of the book here in Cuba has been incredible. While few in the Bronx know of the historic dinner in 1995, I was surprised to learn that so many Cubans from a good cross section of the generations knew of the dinner.
At the book presentation there were representatives from the Council of State (Consejo de Estado), MINREX (Ministry of Foreign Relations), ICAP (The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, ICAP), and Cuban Press.
To my great surprise we also had Fernando Gonzalez of the 5 Cuban Heroes who spent over a decade in U.S. prison for espionage (protecting Cuba from Terrorist attacks from Miami based exile groups and finally released in an exchange for a U.S. held spy and another held U.S. prisoner). Raul Alarcón, former Cuban Ambassador to the UN, and Vice President of the Council of State. However my greatest surprise was that before the event ended my good friend and well known Cuban photographer and producer, Roberto Chile (was Fidel’s personal photographer for over two decades) announced “that if Fidel were with us today, he would have also assisted the event.” However, he continued, “his son Alex Castro is here in attendance.”
Everyone applauded with joy and surprised to learn that Mr. Alex Castro was sitting in the audience. I took the opportunity to ask him to come to the front as I had a book that I had signed for his father back when the book was first released in November 23, 2016 on the 20th anniversary of the dinner in 1995. I had signed the book just as his father, Fidel Castro had signed my book at the dinner in the Bronx. Fidel wrote: “Para Mi Amigo Julio – De un atrevido a otro, Fidel.”
I had signed my book: “Para Mi Amigo Fidel – De un atrevido a otro, Julio Pabón.” That was an affectionate way to end the formal event of my book presentation in Cuba, presenting the first copy of the book to his father, Fidel Castro .
The book can be purchased at: