The Cuban Revolution remains a movement of young people, President Raul Castro said on Friday during an event to mark the 60th anniversary of an attack on a military barracks which is considered the starting point of the uprising that brought it to power in 1959.
The years have gone by, but this continues to be as much a revolution of young people as we were on July 26, 1953 said Raul, 82, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, referring to the failed attack older brother Fidel Castro led against the Moncada army barracks 60 years ago.
Fidel considered the father of the Cuban revolution and who had ruled the islands with an iron hand under a one party system aligned with the former Soviet Union since 1959, stepped down because of frail health in 2006 when the has 80, and left the post for his brother Raul.
Wearing full military uniform and a peasant’s hat to protect him from the torrid sun Raul Castro said that the revolution was preparing for an ‘orderly and gradual’ transfer of power to the new generations, but also warned that that success depends in the commitment “to above all preserver the unity of all deserving Cubans”.
Joining Raul Castro for the occasion were the presidents of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; Bolivia, Evo Morales; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; Uruguay, Jose Mujica, along with the leaders of several Caribbean island nations and an estimated crowd of 10.000.
All leaders present with the exception of Uruguay’s Mujica belong to ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Ameirca), the brain child of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and which also includes the Caribbean states of Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Saint Lucia. Only absent was Rafael Correa from Ecuador, represented by his Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño.
“The struggle of the Cuban people has never been wrong; the Cuban revolution is the mother of all anti-imperialist revolutions in America and the world”, said Bolivia’s Morales.
Nicaragua’s Ortega praises the ‘inspiration’ and ‘moral force’ of the Cuban revolution, and Venezuela’s Maduro said of his delegation: “here stand the children of Chavez and the Cuban revolution”.
“The generation that led the revolution is giving way to new ones in peace and with serene confidence said Raul after recalling that over 70% of today's Cubans were born after 1959.
Raul Castro was formally designated as Cuba's president in 2008, was ratified in February for what is to be his second, and final, five-year mandate by virtue of his decision to limit himself and other senior figures to 10 years in office.
Castro has not hidden the fact that one of his concerns is assuring a generational change that guarantees the future of the revolution.
In February, he named Miguel Diaz-Canel, 52, as Cuba's vice president, a decision Castro called a defining step in planning which way the country will go in the future.”
The 1952 attack on the Moncada barracks was a military and political disaster with most young revolutionaries involved killed in battle, shot on the spot, captured and tortured. Fidel was lucky: he was found hiding in a truck and saved by a black Cuban army sergeant who has worked in the estate of his father, a Spanish immigrant who became a wealthy landholder and sugar cane planter.