Celebrating the 69th anniversary of July 26th, the Caribbean country’s president recalled the historical arguments that led to the armed struggle.
HAVANA TIMES – After two years without an in-person celebration because of the pandemic, the 69th anniversary event of the attack on the Moncada Barracks and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, took place in Cienfuegos, amidst a situation riddled with political and social challenges and economic measures, that will soon be further extended.
Standing before his predecessor, Raul Castro, Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel said: “this opportunity was the result of a great feat: keeping the pandemic in check under the conditions of an economic war that has been waged against us for six decades, as a result of our own efforts and resources.”
Saying that “Imperial logic opts for social amnesia and paralysis,” the leader turned to History to address young Cubans and remind them of the reasons that led to the military action in 1953.
He spoke about “the danger which, faced with alienation, future Cubans have never had to know about, when US companies almost owned Cuba, their allies were the army, police, evictions, torture and death, that the vast majority didn’t own their land or homes; that poor, black and mixed race people could only enter businesses through the back door and women were at a complete social disadvantage.”
The also head of the Communist Party admitted that “some people might think that nothing can be worse than the period of negative events we’ve been suffering,” referring to drawn-out blackouts and the suffocating summer heat. Nevertheless, he said that they understand that “incompetence apart, the blockade is at the very root, in the trunk, in the branches and fruit of all our economic problems.”
He recalled that measures had been recently announced by Parliament “that seek to mobilize all of the supply and financial resources we lack today, as soon as possible,” which they will follow-up with the details on these in upcoming weeks.
“If we want to have positive results as soon as possible, we need to act responsibly, seriously and with a great deal of discipline,” he pointed out.
The ceremony was attended by friends in solidarity with Cuba from the Pastors for Peace Caravan, the Juan Rius Rivera brigade from Puerto Rico; the board of the Venceremos Brigade and young people from the Party for Socialism and Liberation (US), along with scientists, health professionals and electricity technicians, as well as people from the general population.
On July 26, 1953, young people led by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada Barracks (Santiago de Cuba) and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes (Bayamo), an action that led to the uprising that put an end five and a half years later to the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship.
Like every year
At this time of year, events and volunteer work are held all over the country, and economic and social projects are launched.
In Cienfuegos, which won the privilege of hosting the July 26th celebrations because of its contribution to the fight against COVID-19 and for having completed most the proposed projects linked to health and education in dozens of neighborhoods.
In addition to initiatives linked to the event, the government reported renovations at health centers and schools in Matanzas, Mayabeque and Las Tunas, a drying and grain treatment plant, conserve miniindustries, homes, water supply works in Granma, as well as restaurants and tourist facilities in Sancti Spiritus.
Events since last July 26th
IPS Cuba has written up a timeline of events that have marked the national situation in Cuba and abroad since the previous July 26th:
– August 22, 2021: after a record of 9,740 new COVID-19 cases, infection rates gradually dropped. New cases reported on July 23 were 114.
– September 29, 2021: a process of creating new businesses begins. Up until July 22, 4376 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises — of which 4269 are private, 51 are state-led and 56 cooperatives – have been registered, and 74,306 new jobs have been created.
– November 15, 2021: national borders reopen and the number of people leaving the country by air to reach the US, grows. According to US Customs and Border Protection, 157,339 Cuban migrants were detained trying to cross over illegally, especially from Mexico, between October 2021 and June 30, 2022. Illegal emigration via sea also grows.
– February 23, 2022: The Russian State Duma ratified a restructuring of Cuba’s 2.3 billion USD debt. [The Cuban government showed its support for Russia’s reasons for its invasion of Ukraine.]
– May 6, 2022: the explosion at the Hotel Saratoga, in Havana, leads to fatalities and the destruction of part of the facility, as well as causing damage to neighboring homes and buildings. A total of forty-seven people died as a result of this disaster.
– May 16: the US announces that it will resume charter flights to the Cuban provinces, suspension of the US $1,000 per trimester limit on remittances, the resumption of the family reunification program and increased consular services and visas.
– June: heavy rains lead to flooding in western Cuba, resulting in damage to residential buildings, agriculture and four fatalities.
– June 6: Cuba doesn’t attend the Summit of the Americas, as it is excluded along with Venezuela and Nicaragua by its host, the US.
– April-July: the electricity generation crisis keeps residents in Cuban provinces with long blackouts, less so in Havana.
– July: 90.1% of the Cuban population (9,997,503 people) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 7,440,614 people have had their booster shot.
– July 19: masks are once again compulsory on public transport and kindergartens with COVID-19 cases once again on the rise.
– July 21: Parliament passes the new Family Act, which will be subjected to a popular referendum on September 25.