Cuba Welcomes Latin American Leaders

For the July 26th festivities

The Moncada barracks was given a refurbishing for the 60th anniversary celebration. Photo: Daylén Vega/Cubadebate.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba today welcomed the heads of state and government of several Latin American and Caribbean countries to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the failed July 26, 1953 assault on the Moncada barracks, considered the spark of the revolution led by Fidel Castro.

The first to arrive was the President of Uruguay, José Mujica, who came to Havana on Wednesday for a five-day official visit, his first since coming to power in 2010.

Mujica traveled today to Santiago de Cuba, about 500 miles east of the capital, to participate in the commemoration on what is called the “Day of national rebellion”. On Wednesday he met with both Fidel and Raul Castro.

Expected later Thursday in Santiago are Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

In the afternoon Santiago also received the prime ministers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, and Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, according to dpa news.

Also present are the heads of government of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, and Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia.

In total,  nine leaders are expected to be on hand for the event, including the presidents of Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela.

The leaders hail mainly from the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the regional bloc formed at the initiative of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The assault on the Moncada barracks in Santiago was the first attempt by Fidel Castro to topple the Batista dictatorship and is celebrated as a national holiday. In the past, Fidel, 86, used to pronounce one of his major speeches to the nation each year on 26/7.