Cuba: Revolution turns 50

Cuban president Raúl Castro Ruz led a subdued celebration on Jan. 1 for the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. The ceremony took place in the eastern city of Santiago, where Castro’s brother, former president Fidel Castro, declared victory over dictator Fulgencio Batista on Jan. 1, 1959. Raúl Castro reminded his listeners of his brother’s warning on Nov. 19, 2005 that the US could never destroy Cuba’s political system but Cubans themselves could. Raúl Castro said that to avoid this, future leaders must not “become soft with the siren songs of the enemy” and must “remain conscious that, in its essence, [the enemy] will never cease to be aggressive, domineering and treacherous.”

Fidel Castro, who stepped down from the presidency for reasons of health in July 2006, published a brief message on Jan. 1: “On the occasion within a few hours of the 50th anniversary of the triumph, I congratulate our heroic people.” Although he had been writing articles frequently in his retirement, this was his first public comment in two weeks. (La Jornada, Mexico, Jan. 2)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 4

See our last post on Cuba.