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Vol. 78/No. 29      August 11, 2014

NY event marks opening
of the Cuban Revolution
NEW YORK — “Sixty-one years ago today, Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro and other great comrades embarked on what was the beginning of the march of what became the Cuban Revolution,” Oscar León González, Cuba’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told 100 people here at a celebration at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center July 26.

On that day in 1953, a group of some 160 men and women led by Fidel Castro carried out simultaneous attacks on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes barracks in Bayamo, with the aim of sparking a popular revolt against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Less than six years later, on New Year’s Day 1959, the revolutionary war initiated two years earlier by the Rebel Army under Castro’s command culminated in the victory of the country’s workers and peasants, opening the first socialist revolution in the Americas.

“Today there are more openings to win support for the Cuban Five,” said César Sánchez, one of the chairs of the event, sponsored by the July 26 Coalition. “As they learn the basic facts, more will be sympathetic. Millions are exposed to the frame-ups, brutality, stop-and-frisk harassment and as in the most recent case of brother Eric Garner, murder at the hands of the obscenely unequal and racist criminal justice system in the United States.”

Garner was killed in Staten Island July 17 after cops put him in a chokehold, harassing him for selling cigarettes on the street. The killing has sparked protests led by his relatives and others.

U.S. imperialism’s 55-year-long drive to overthrow the Cuban Revolution has included a mercenary invasion, bombings, assassination attempts, an economic embargo and other attacks, León said. “The Cuban Revolution has overcome all these challenges due to the steadfastness of working people in Cuba. Imperialism is no match to the Cuban Revolution nor will it ever be.”

León spoke about economic measures being introduced in Cuba that aim to increase production, particularly in agriculture, and lighten the weight of government bureaucracy. In response to challenges imposed by the world economic and political situation, these moves include self-employment and small-scale business operations. “The changes we’re making are to preserve the basic principles of socialism, the social ownership of the basic means of production and the socialist principle of distribution,” León said. “This is not an easy task to accomplish amidst an international economic crisis and Washington’s economic blockade against Cuba.”

During the discussion León spoke about Cuba’s expanding trade and diplomatic ties with governments in Latin America; its current internationalist medical and literacy missions around the world, including its care for victims of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine; its opposition to the Israeli assault on Gaza; and other questions.
Related articles:
Cuban 5 respond to letters from children at community center in New York
Who are the Cuban Five?
Exhibit of paintings by Antonio Guerrero
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