Cuba celebrates 50 years of revolution

January 17, 2009

Citizens across Cuba have thronged the streets of cities and towns to welcome the "Caravan of Liberty", a convoy of trucks and buses retracing the path of Fidel Castro and the victorious fighters of the Rebel Army, after the declaration of the defeat of the Batista dictatorship on January 1, 1959.

The caravan commenced in Santiago de Cuba, on the far south-eastern coast of the country on January 1 and finished in the capital, Havana, on the north-western coast on January 8.

Participants in the Caravan of Liberty included veterans of the original Rebel Army, which fought and defeated the military regime of US-backed tyrant Fulgencia Batista 50 years ago and launched the Cuban socialist revolution.

The caravan arrived in Havana on January 8, just as Fidel's original convoy had done in 1959, and traversed the city to the welcome of cheering crowds.

The caravan ended with an "Act of the City of Havana for the entry of Fidel and the Caravan of Liberty into the capital of the country ... ending in Liberty City, otherwise known as the Camp of Columbia, where the Commander in Chief proclaimed, on January 8, 1959, the end of the dictatorship and the commitment of the Revolution to never defraud our people in the difficult road that they had now initiated", Granma reported on January 9.

The main official meeting to mark the 50th anniversary of the victory of the revolution took place on January 1 in Santiago de Cuba, where President Raul Castro delivered a speech before some 3000 people.

"The celebration began with the famous expression of Fidel, 'Finally, we have arrived in Santiago!' " the January 2 Granma reported.

On the night of January 1 the 50th anniversary was celebrated with a big concert in Havana, before tens of thousands of Cuban youth, at the Anti-Imperialist Tribune in front of the US Special Interests Section, on the Malecon.

Other smaller events were held around the country, as Cubans prepare to mark a year of activities denoting their historic victory.

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