February, the Mountain and the Sun

By: Osviel Castro Medel

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2013-06-05 | 13:32:56 EST

CARACAS, Venezuela.— Now I really understand Cristina: now I understand why that day she arrived full of clouds and left full of Sun. I understand why she cried when she touched the marble and why she had the feeling she was shaking his hand, which he was stretching out from somewhere in infinity.

Now I interpret the emotional shake of the Argentinean President when she was there; walking around the glorious coffin over and over. And I can imagine how his voice soaked her to the bones when she heard him sing over the loudspeakers.

Like the thousands of people who have visited him since he was laid to rest here in March, I felt this too. I was shaking since I saw the silhouettes of the popular 23 de Enero neighbourhood; the moment the hill, the flame and the 4F sign appeared on the horizon. An F that stands for the February of rebellion scattered across the Bolivarian Venezuela.

 I was shaking the moment I saw the old cannon that shoots salvos every afternoon at 4:25 pm, the hour he crossed the skies. And when, at the entrance, I came across some of the phrases he said in his address before he departed to Cuba to undergo a complicated surgery.

I couldn’t help shaking in front of the symbol that beats beyond the barracks in that mountain; beyond the pictures, the verses floating in the air, the fire, the granite flower that spills waters and wet the petals.

I felt the same Cristina felt when I touched the place where Hugo Chávez Frías lies: I believe, that all of the sudden, even the fountain that caresses the coffin, went silent. There was nothing but silence.

Then, I heard again the songs in his matchless voice; I realized that every picture spoke for itself; I looked into his eyes, still full of life; his smile that was a small gap amidst his white teeth. His bright smile. His honest smile.

I felt his breathing in the small church located on the right of the mausoleum that brought so many images to mind; I felt his heartbeat in every picture: in that of Chavez, the seller of sweets, the soldier, the leader, the president, the son, the friend, the father, the man. I quickly went through his life, his December farewell, his last picture with his two beloved daughters, the message of his return to Venezuela exactly in February.

I saw him enduring terrible pain, defying his illness under the heavy rain in October 2012 before the glorious elections. And I got to know the human being that sacrificed quietly to continue building the Homeland.

I felt my face moisten when the relief of the guard of honour, which takes place every hour and half, arrived. When the young hussars arrived dressed in red and they said in a strong, solemn voice: “Chaves lives, the struggle goes on!,” I was, simply, shedding a tear.

I felt that time was not time anymore but a frozen moment. That the world is a spinning grain that puts us in unlikely places. That, like Cristina, I was leaving the Cuartel de la Montaña with a Giant turned into the Sun inside of me.

Translated by ESTI

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