Cuban President Raul Castro today told thousands at a Revolution Day rally near Washington’s Guantanamo Bay concentration camp that Havana wants peace – but is nobody’s puppet.
Veteran revolutionary Castro took the US to task in a short speech to mark the failed assault on the Moncada barracks in July 1953.
He was in defiant mood as he declared: “If they want to hold a discussion we will do so, but on equal terms, because we are no-one’s subjects, nor a colony, nor anyone’s puppets.”
Minutes earlier Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura had used his keynote address to condemn the US base at Guantanamo, vowing “never, under any circumstance, will we stop trying to recover that piece of ground.”
And Mr. Castro accused Washington of longing for the days when it had complete control over the island’s affairs.
“We have no interest in harming anyone, but our people will defend themselves, and we all know what to do under any circumstance,” he said.
The president was jailed for 22 months for his part in the failed attack at Moncada.
He and fellow revolutionaries including brother Fidel and Ernesto “Che” Guevara didn’t repeat the mistake.
They unseated the US-backed Batista regime in 1959.
Visitors from US-based Pastors for Peace have met relatives in Havana of the Miami Five political prisoners jailed by the US for monitoring anti-Cuban terrorists in Florida.
The pastors’ annual caravan is in Cuba after a tour of 100 US and Canadian cities to collect aid.
Caravan co-leader Gail Walker told Prensa Latina: “A great injustice is being committed. Supporting them is an extension of our faith.”
Raúl: Resisting the empire for 50 years is the great accomplishment of the Cuban people
In his message to the people of Guantanamo at the main ceremony marking July 26, Cuban President Raul Castro stressed that the most remarkable feat of the Cuban people has been their resistance against the US Empire for over 50 years.
Following the end of the cultural and political ceremony, held at the Mariana Grajales Revolution Square, Raul congratulated the people of Guantanamo for their efforts and their excellent organization of the main ceremony marking the 59th anniversary of the historic attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes army barracks, a date declared National Rebellion Day.
After recalling part of the history of the Cuban Independence struggle, and the interventionist role played by the United States over the years, Raul reiterated Cuba’s willingness to dialogue with Washington on equal grounds.
He warned that some counterrevolutionary groups inside Cuba are trying to create conditions to repeat the scenarios already observed in Libya and Syria, two countries targeted by the regime change doctrine promoted by the White House and its allies. In this regard Raul reiterated that Cuba is prepared to defend itself.
Since very early hours on Thursday, thousands of residents of Guantanamo province flocked to the Revolution square to attend the main ceremony, which paid tribute to the Cubans who took the country’s independence struggle to the next level with their 1953 attacks on two major army barracks of the former Fulgencio Batista dictatorship.
Among those who staged the heroic deed against the Moncada and the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks, in eastern Cuba, were Fidel and Raul Castro, and others, who later founded the rebel army that would
overthrow the dictatorship in 1959.
Other speakers at the ceremony included an elementary school girl, the first Communist Party secretary in the province, Luis Torres Iribar and Cuba’s first vice-president José Ramón Machado Ventura.