Military parade in Havana celebrates Cuban revolution

Cuba

Cuba’s military forces have held a parade through Revolution Square in the country’s capital Havana, to pay homage to their former leader Fidel Castro, who died, age 90 in November.

This is the first military parade in the country since 2011.

CGTN’s Michael Voss reports.
Follow Michael Voss on Twitter @mvosscuba

Military parade in Havana celebrates Cuban revolution

Military parade in Havana celebrates Cuban revolution

Cuba’s military forces have held a parade through Revolution Square in the country’s capital Havana, to pay homage to their former leader Fidel Castro, who died, age 90 in November. This is the first military parade in the country since 2011. CGTN’s Michael Voss reports
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The military parade was initially called for December second to mark the 60th anniversary of the arrival of Granma, the yacht which brought Fidel Castro and the nucleus of his guerrilla army to Cuba to launch the revolution.

The parade was postponed after Fidel Castro died. Now it has become a tribute to him. Taking the salute, President Raul Castro was also aboard the Granma, as was Vice President Ramiro Valdez standing beside him.

The event was also intended to send a message to the United States that Cuba is in no mood to compromise as it awaits the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump.

At its peak, the Cuban army was 300,000 strong; a battle hardened combat force which in the 1970’s and 80’s fought in the independence wars in Africa. Today it has shrunk to around 45,000 personnel.

The military is no longer the fighting force it once was, but today is does play a powerful role in the Cuban economy.

There is a division of the Armed Forces Ministry called GAESA, the Business Administration Group. It’s estimated that it controls around 60 percent of Cuba’s state-run economy.

It owns the new container port at Mariel, along with major retail outlets-as well as the majority of tourist hotels on the island, including the one in Havana now managed by Sheraton.

Joining the military on the march past were tens of thousands of ordinary Cubans, under the banner “I am Fidel.”

A final mass show of support for the man now officially called the eternal Commander-in-chief, Fidel Castro.