Fidel Castro thanked Cubans for their tributes to mark his 90th birthday on Saturday in a meandering column carried by state-run media in which the iconic leftist revolutionary also lambasted his old foe, the United States.
Cuba went into overdrive this month honoring the retired "El Comandante" who spearheaded its 1959 revolution and built a Communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States, surviving what it says were hundreds of assassination attempts along the way.
Thousands danced to Latin beats along Havana's curving seafront Malecon boulevard throughout the night from Friday to Saturday. It was a giant street party in his honor, with a live band playing "Happy Birthday" on the stroke of midnight and fireworks exploding on the other side of the bay.
"I want to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and gifts I have received the days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas," Castro wrote in the opinion piece.
Castro, who handed power to his younger brother Raulin 2008 due to poor health, went on to reminisce about his youth as a child on the family plantation in the eastern village of Biran, in particular about his father who died before the revolution.
"He suffered quite a bit," Castro wrote. "Of his three male children, the second and third were absent and distant, both fulfilling their duty in revolutionary activities."
Even back then, Fidel wrote, he knew Raul should replace him if anything should happen to him, in particular if the United States succeeded in its attempts to kill him.
"I almost laughed about the Machiavellian plans of the U.S. presidents," he wrote.