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Op-Ed Special
I Saw Them All
Special Contribution
By Don E. Porter
Che Guevara makes a speech in Pyeongyang, capital of North Korea in 1960 with portraits of Kim Il-Sung and Fidel Castro on the wall. He visited North Korea twice in the early 1960s.

To start with, the past 20 years or so is good place to start. I will start with Fidel Castro, Kim Il-Sung, Hugo Chavez, and Vladimir Putin. Can you imagine what certain parts of the world would be like with those guys still around?

I had personal contact with each of them, some longer than others.

Not sure where to start, guess it will be Kim Il-Sung, he started the war that I didn’t know where South Korea was and it took 20 days to get there on an overloaded WW II troopship.

The irony to this was I able view him lying in State after he passed away in 1994 while in was in North Korea, the only American to do so. He and the Russians and the Chinese were all responsible that left over 35,000 Americans dead and millions of South and North Koreans civilians also dead.

Next was Fidel Castro. I met him during the Pan American Games in Santiago, Cuba in 1991 at a softball championship when he came out to the opening ceremonies to throw out the first pitch.

I advised him softball is an underhand pitch. He said he was a baseball pitcher and would throw overhand. Well he was the president, so it was overhand.

Years later I met his son, Antonio, we became good friends, he was a surgeon.

As to Putin I met him on several occasions, mainly at the Olympics and other sporting events. The Russian athletes were big cheaters, doping was an epidemic with them In sports events, many were disqualified and loss medals.

Putin was the one who prop up the North Koreans with weapons and aircraft to get the war started.

I got Hugo Chavez to put the money to hold the Women’ World Softball Championship in Caracas in 2010. He wanted his daughter to play in the championship but she was not good enough, later on we had several private discussions.

"No more golf In Venezuela, we need houses," he said.

He said that he didn’t like the Americans but I was an exception.

Over the years as author, decorated Korean War veteran and President for 26 years of International Softball, he met many other Heads of State.

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The above writer, Don E. Porter, the Korean War's American veteran, serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times. He has been serving as president of the International Softball Federation (ISF) since 1987. He can be reached at






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