At 5:12 in the morning, the exact time the assault on the Moncada Barracks was launched in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953, the 65th anniversary was marked.
The leader of that action and of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, was omnipresent on the grounds of the former Moncada barracks, where the top leadership of the island was joined by over ten thousand local residents.
The main address for the celebration of National Rebellion Day was delivered by Raul Castro, the first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, who called on all Cubans to be on the alert amidst the new hostility stage that the country is experiencing.
In reviewing US-Cuba relations, Raul Castro said that while formal diplomatic ties remain, since August last year, under the pretext of the alleged health incidents on its diplomatic staff caused by factors of unknown origin, bilateral ties have degraded with the unfair expulsion of 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington and the withdrawal of the majority of its staff from its Embassy in Havana, in detriment of the travel of Cubans to the US.
Likewise, Raul Castro noted that there has been a reinforcement of the extraterritoriality of the US blockade, particularly on the persecution of the island’s financial transactions, and there has been an increase of belligerent public statements by US officials on Cuba, characterized by the lack of respect, aggressiveness, interference and the blatant manipulation of historical truth.
The leader of the Cuban Communist Party warned that once again there is an adverse stage and there is a resurgence of optimism among the island’s enemies who consider it is time to destroy the example emanating from Cuba.
“This will not be the first nor the last time that the Cuban Revolution has to face threats. We have endured all sort of risks and have successfully resisted for 60 years,” Raul Castro said.
He added that for Cuba, as it is the case for Venezuela and Nicaragua, it is quite clear that the encirclement is being tightened, and he urged all Cubans to be on the alert and ready to respond to every challenge with unity, firmness, optimism and unwavering faith in victory.
“Since the 26th of July of 1953, Cuban revolutionaries have forged themselves in an uninterrupted string of battles, and we have come this far, overcoming setbacks and winning over aggressions of all sorts,"he said.
Raul Castro reiterated that Cuba is a peaceful and friendly country that poses no threat to anybody, however, he stressed that the Cuban people is willing and prepared to fight to achieve victory if anybody dare to attack the island.
Evaluating the current challenges being faced by progressive forces in Latin America and the Caribbean, Raul Catro described the return of right wing circles in some countries through electoral processes and the slander campaign sponsored by corporate media to delegitimize and criminalize left–wing personalities and organizations.
He expressed the Cuban people solidarity with the governments of `Venezuela and Nicaragua, and demanded the release from prison of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, so that he can become the presidential candidate of the Workers Party.
“If elections were to be held in Brazil, Lula would win during the first round…. And that’s why he is being kept in prison,” he said.
At the end of his speech, Raul Castro said that no matter how difficult the circumstances or the challenges become, the Cuban people will defend its socialist Revolution. He also announced that the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, will also be held in Santiago de Cuba.
Every 26th of July Cubans mark National Rebellion Day, in tribute to the action in 1953 led by Fidel Castro on the Moncada Barrack s in Santiago de Cuba. 105 fighters, transferred in 14 cars, tried to occupy the military fortress and the surrounding buildings of the Saturnino Lora Provincial Hospital, and the Palace of Justice, in an effort to show the Cuban people´s discontent with the Batista Dictatorship.
Although the action was a military failure and many of the assailants were tortured and brutally murdered, it paved the way for the triumph of the Revolution 5 years, 5 months and 5 days later. / RHC