July 26, 2017
Day of Rebellion
Independence and the
Cause of Peace and Justice
Cuban President Presides over
Pinar del Río
July 26, Moncada Day
Cuba's National Day
Affirming History, Independence and the
Cause of Peace and Justice
The Moncada Barracks shortly after the July 26, 1953 attack. The
barracks have been
converted into a school and Museum of the Revolution
where the bullet holes shown here
can be seen to this day.
The Moncada Barracks shortly after the July 26, 1953
attack. The barracks have been converted into a school and Museum of
the Revolution where the bullet holes shown here can
be seen to this day.
On July 26, 1953, a group of courageous young men and
women -- led by Fidel Castro -- attacked the Moncada Barracks in the
city of Santiago de Cuba, and the Carlos Manuel de
Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo, in an attempt to overthrow the
U.S.-supported puppet dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the island's
second largest military garrison, the Moncada Barracks was
critical to Batista's military control of southern Cuba. The goal was
to seize the weapons and distribute them to the people and spark a
national uprising that would not only overthrow the
Batista dictatorship but also establish Cuba's independence and
sovereignty. This heroic act is annually commemorated all over Cuba as
the beginning of the movement and struggle that
laid the foundation of the Cuban Revolution.
This year's commemorations are imbued with a particular
poignancy; it is the first without the physical presence of the
historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Fidel
epitomized the unbending commitment to Justice, Dignity and
Independence that has characterized Cuba since the triumph of the Cuban
Revolution. Fidel's living legacy continues in the
work of the Cuban Revolution. Fidel's example and fidelity to principle
continue to inspire the Cuban people, who continue on the path of
independence, self-determination and human
The attacks were carried out by an organization that
was created in 1952, under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Abel
Santamaria, and comprised of young workers, students, artisans,
peasants and landless farmers. It had around 1,500 members and
affiliated itself with historic Cuban national liberation figures such
as José Martí and Antonio Maceo. Around 120 youths
were part of the attacks, approximately 70 of whom were killed, with
many being tortured and executed after the attack. The survivors,
including Fidel Castro, were subsequently put on
trial and given lengthy prison sentences. Most, including Fidel Castro,
were released after an amnesty in May 1955. This amnesty was the result
of the mass mobilization of Cubans in
support of the imprisoned rebels. Under the leadership of Fidel Castro,
the July 26th Movement galvanized Cubans, ultimately leading to the
victory of the Cuban Revolution on January 1,
While the Moncada attack failed in fulfilling its
immediate objective, it was central to the Cuban people's struggle for
national affirmation and social emancipation. Cubans have always
placed Moncada in a broad historical context, viewing it as a crucial
link in the century-long striving of Cuba to free itself from Spanish
colonial domination and U.S. tutelage, and then,
establish authentic independence. At his trial Fidel Castro delivered a
speech that eventually became the manifesto of the movement to
overthrow the Batista tyranny. It was published as La
Historia Me Absolvera (History Will Absolve Me) and laid out the
national and social goals of the revolutionary movement that eventually
triumphed on January 1, 1959. Today, the
Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks, now a school and a
museum, stand as concrete symbols of that successful struggle.
Canadian commemorations of Moncada Day are a reflection
of the ties that exist between Cuba and Canada. Canadians admire the
courageous and rebellious spirit embodied in
Moncada; a spirit that today is so powerfully manifested in Cuba's
steadfastness against the efforts of the empire to destroy the island's
independence. Canadians irrespective of their
political or ideological positions, stand in favour of building
relations with Cuba based on mutual respect and equality, relations
which uphold Cuba's right to self-determination and
sovereignty. Having traveled to Cuba in the hundreds of thousands and
having witnessed Cuban reality for themselves, Canadians have come away
with a profound respect and admiration
for the Cuban people and their efforts to build and defend a society
centred on independence, justice and human dignity.
Raúl and Fidel in the Sierra Maestra during the Cuban
Since the Cuban people embarked on the road paved by
Moncada, Cuba has refuted and continues to refute the colonialist
mentality and practice of foisting on independent countries
imperial arrangements and dictates that they resoundingly reject. The
Cuban Revolution has refused to renounce its right to
self-determination and the principles, principles forged in the
crucible of Moncada.
In the years that have flashed by since Moncada, the
Cuban people have shown what is possible to achieve when one defends
genuine independence and self-determination. The
example of Cuba assumes even greater significance as the 21st century
unfolds, fraught with grave dangers that threaten the well-being of the
peoples of the world. In the midst of these
profound challenges, Cuba refutes those who argue that relations among
the world's nations and peoples are -- and can only be -- determined by
self-interest, the pursuit of power and
wealth. As Cuba continues on the path of social justice, human dignity
and international solidarity, the Cuban Revolution continues to be an
inspiration to humanity. Cuba demonstrates that
it is possible to build relations based on genuine solidarity and
social love; it is a living example of the alternatives that permit
people to realize their deepest aspirations, and that another
better world is possible. History has given its judgment, vindicating
the attack on the Moncada Barracks!
Long Live the Martyrs of Moncada!
Long Live the Cuban Revolution!
Cuban President Presides over
Ceremony in Pinar del Río
The central Moncada Day 2017 celebrations in Pinar del Rio. The banner
pays tribute to Cuba’s revolutionary heroes and reads, “We follow you
Army General Raul Castro, First Secretary of the
Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and
Ministers, presided over the central event for the 64th
anniversary of the Moncada's deed and the National Rebellion Day.
Paying tribute to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, his
ideas and legacy, people from Pinar del Rio commemorated the attack on
the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes
barracks, without the physical presence of the leader of the Cuban
Revolution for the first time.
The ceremony took place at Hermanos Cruz neighborhood
square, enlarged, paved and renovated, which welcomed more than 10,000
people who, since early hours in the morning,
gathered for the event.
The event was attended by the main leaders of the Cuban
Revolution and national and foreign guests, attackers of the Moncada
and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks, Granma yacht's expeditionaries and
combatants of the clandestine struggle.
Cuban President Raúl Castro (second from right) at the Moncada
celebrations in Pinar del Río. On the right is Vice President
José Ramón Machado Ventura, Second
Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and
Vice-President of the Councils of State and Ministers, and Gladys
Martinez, First Secretary of the Communist Party in the province, gave
speeches in the ceremony.
The event was also attended by members of the
Venceremos brigade and the 28th United States-Cuba Friendship Caravan,
sponsored by the Interreligious Foundation for Community
Organization (IFCO) -- Pastors for Peace -- who defy the travel
Americans going to Cuba and demonstrate against the economic, financial
and commercial blockade imposed by the
United States on the Caribbean island for more than half a century.
This is the third time that Pinar del Río has
the national event for the anniversary of the assault on the Moncada
and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks.
Speech in Pinar del Río
José Ramón Machado Ventura, second
secretary of the Party Central Committee and a vice president of the
Councils of State and Ministers, delivered the central remarks during
National Rebellion Day celebration in Pinar del Río on the
morning of July 26.
July 26, a transcendental date in Cuban history,
evokes a mix of emotions and ideas in us, of commitment to Fidel and to
all those who gave their lives for the independence of our
country, and of pride as Cubans, said Machado Ventura.
Fidel remains present alongside this people, true, in
everyday affairs to the concept of Revolution he bequeathed to us,
Machado Ventura said.
He added that a few numbers are enough to illustrate
how much Pinar del Río has changed since the triumph of the
Before 1959, he recalled, the province had only 248
doctors, 25 dentists, and 50 nurses. There are now 626 neighborhood
family doctor's offices, 19 polyclinics, eight dental clinics,
and five hospitals. The nursing staff has surpassed 5,000 and there are
4,577 doctors, 18 times the 1959 total.
Among the provinces accomplishments, Machado Ventura
noted the reduction of infant mortality, from 60 deaths for every 100
live births before the Revolution to 1.7 in the first half
of 2017, an extraordinary figure.
He likewise emphasized illiteracy, reduced to zero from
a previous level of 30 per cent, and unemployment from 30 per cent to
1.3 per cent.
Although much remains to be done to dynamize the Cuban
economy, he said, Pinar del Río is playing a vanguard role in
this difficult battle.
He noted recent accomplishments in tobacco, tourism,
and industry, among other sectors. Machado recalled that there are
innumerable Pinar del Río natives who participated in making
the Revolution, just like those today who are building a better future
for the homeland with the sweat of their brows.
Machado also denounced interventionist attacks on the
constitutional government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and
called for respecting the autonomy of this sister nation,
reaffirming Cuba's solidarity with the people and government there.
He likewise reiterated the revolutionary government's
condemnation of new measures to reinforce the U.S. blockade.
Machado Ventura concluded his remarks insisting that
will never betray the glory and pride of having served the homeland and
the Revolution under the leadership of Fidel and
Raúl, reiterating that any strategy to promote subversion here
Pinar del Río has received the honour of hosting the central
Day celebrations on two prior occasions, 1976 and 2000. Shown here at
Moncada Day 1976 (left to right) Raúl Castro, Angolan President
Agostinho Neto, and the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel
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