Cuban revolution ’stronger than ever’ at 50: Raul Castro

January 2nd, 2009 - 9:45 am ICT by IANS  

Santiago de Cuba, Jan 2 (DPA) Cuban President Raul Castro said Thursday that the Cuban revolution after 50 years was “stronger than ever despite the obsessive and revengeful hate of the United States.”Despite the current difficult times, the revolutionary movement had moved barely a millimetre from its principles, the younger brother of the ailing revolutionary leader Fidel Castro said at the formal celebration of the anniversary.

The 77-year-old president spoke in Santiago de Cuba, the southern town where Fidel Castro declared victory from city hall over the Fulgencio Batista regime on Jan 1, 1959.

Castro, wearing the uniform of a four-star general, spoke before 3,000 invited guests - a small and remote gathering compared to past massive anniversary celebrations of the revolution which have taken place in Havana.

The only high ranking foreign guest was Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.

Fidel Castro, 82, has not appeared before the Cuban public since his sudden illness in July 2006, when he turned over leadership to Raul. In February 2008, Raul was formally chosen president. Videotapes of Castro meeting with foreign leaders however have been released by the government.

Details of his illness have not been revealed. The party newspaper “Granma” published only a small message of greeting from Fidel, which read: “Shortly before the 50th anniversary of triumph I send good wishes to our heroic people. Fidel Castro Ruiz.”

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