Having collaborated with the 26 de Julio Movement; having taught how to read and write to six farmers during the Literacy Campaign in the rural settlement of Coto, today's municipality of Urbano Noris; being an internationalist combatant in Angola and a remarkable reporter at CMKO, Radio Angulo, are pages that make Edilberto Gonzalez Galvez feel proud of.
It is that this man keeps a soul of the rural man that he has always been, although he has been living city life the largest part of his 72 years.
"I was born the first of January, 1944 in the rural settlement of La Plata, near Mir, today's municipality of Calixto Garcia. As I was the eldest of four siblings, I had to go with my father to toil the land. Later on, I was an agriculture worker, a salesclerk and worked in a bar at night. Thanks to the (Cuba) Revolution I got trained as a machine tool technician in Santiago de Cuba, but I went to work to Senado sugar mill, in Minas, Camaguey. There, I was the teacher of Spanish of the first Soviet technicians that introduced the sugar cane harvesters in Cuba.
I came back to Holguin and worked in the agricultural machinery shops of the National Institute of Land Reform; I ran the shop and I was a teacher too."
Saying all this about Edilberto would seem that his life has been short and void. The truth is that he had to try very hard until becoming a journalist. And being an active radio reporter at CMKO – founded by Manuel Angulo Farran 80 years ago.
"It's true I've never stopped being the rural boy that I've always been, but my upgrading spirit has been stronger. When I was 17, at Fidel Castro's summon, I joined the Literacy Campaign to teach the illiterate ones how read and write back in 1961, and thus free Cuba from illiteracy."
"In response to a task by the communist youth, in 1968 I began collaborating with several media outlets. I had a course for press correspondent in Santiago de Cuba, which gave the chance of becoming a reporter for the Ahora daily, but in 1980 I went to work at CMKO - Radio Angulo -, where I worked for several sectors and reported on important issues until I retired."
Everyone remembers Edilberto looking for the news; always responsible, critical but never disrespecting the ethics of his duty. He has been retired for several years, but he still feels much love for his dear CMKO; "I gave it all to Radio Angulo, I love that station so much for several reasons, I grew up professionally and had very good peers," he said.
This man, tall and with a big heart, is a genuine Cuban that participated in two congress of the Cuban Journalist Association (UPEC). He has been granted several decorations like that of the Literacy Campaign, Internationalist Combatant and Cuba-Angola Victory; also the medals Felix Elmuza given by the UPEC; Honor and Friendship, that of the ANIR, and the 30 Anniversary of the CDR, among other acknowledgments.
Since very young he collaborated in Dos Rios, of Holguin, with the 26 de Julio Movement; he was a messenger, a guide and hiding away arms to later send them to the Sierra Maestra.
From 1976 to 1978 he accomplished a military mission in Angola. He was the chief of a squadron of heavy machine guns. He is very sorry of having lost in an ambush young shooter Roger Leyva Quintana. In that mission, in Luena, Moxico, he was the historian of his Battalion, chief of the correspondent's office of the Eastern Regiment and a member of the Military Court.
"I'm pleased they have thought of me at a time my dear CMKO is turning 80. Now I'm going thru hard times with my mother, who is 95 and is confined to bed, in addition to the health troubles of my three siblings. The visit you are paying to me comforts me much; it means we're never alone in life. Thank you Radio Angulo, the station l worked for many years."
Meanwhile Edilberto tells me about his life, and shows me pictures because I insist, decorations and other acknowledgements, his wife for 48 years, retired nurse Yolanda Fernandez Martinez, caress his head.
That was a nice chance to show me some good pieces she has made. Yolanda today is a well known craftswoman that has exhibited many of her works, and i s now preparing a special one dedicated to Fidel Castro's 90th birthday, and another one to Calixto Garcia, Major General born in Holguin that fought for Cuba's independence from Spanish colonial rule.
"Tine has passed by and I am pleased I did what I had to do in the right tome. I owe it all to the Cuban Revolution that caught me in time, right when I was 15. And I profited from the new chances given to the people that had nothing or a few before 1959. You know, he said, I believe that the image of Fidel has been an inspiration, an extraordinary man that taught us to think, to do things, love and defend the country with all possible weapons, even our teeth; and to never leave the nation and the people we belong to. That's why, l will never stop saying: Thank you Fidel." / By Arnaldo Vargas Castro.