Cuban President Raul Castro pays tribute to his brother Fidel Castro
Havana, November 30: Cuban President Raul Castro paid tribute to his brother Fidel Castro with a speech recounting all the historical milestones that they lived through together.
Raul recounted the death of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the dramatic “special period” and many moments that he shared with Fidel in a speech in the iconic Revolution Square in the Cuban capital, Efe news reported on Wednesday.
This was Raul Castro’s first public speech since his televised announcement on November 25 on the death of his 90-year-old brother, who stepped down from power 10 years ago owing to a failing health.
Raul, who began his speech with sincere gratitude for the Cuban people, the Communist Party and the Castro family, said that Fidel “devoted his entire life to solidarity”.
He said that the late leader “led a socialist revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble, and became a symbol of the anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, anti-imperialist struggle”.
“His vibrant words resonate today in this square,” said Raul before evoking some of the historic events that took place in the iconic location where thousands gathered to bid their late leader farewell.
In the same square the Cuban leader had ratified the Agrarian Reform Law, one of the first major economic measures undertaken after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
There they also adopted the first and second Havana Declarations in 1960 and 1962, which reaffirmed the island’s sovereignty and its relationship with the erstwhile Communist Soviet Union and China.
Raul recalled how they were together in one of the buildings flanking the Square during the explosion of the French weapons freighter La Coubre in 1960 which left 101 dead in the Havana harbour.
And the night in 1967 when the Revolution Square hosted a solemn evening of tribute to Che after his assassination in Bolivia.
Castro also spoke about the toughest phase of the “special period”, when Cuba plunged into a profound economic crisis after the fall and break-up of the Soviet Union.
He hailed the spirit of the youths who came to pay tribute and swear allegiance to the ideas and work of the Commander in Chief of the Cuban revolution.
“Until victory always!” (Hasta la victoria siempre!) the Cuban President said with a broken voice, amid multitudinous cries of “I am Fidel” and “Raul, friend, the people are with you.”