Cuba commemorates Castro’s first military operation, sends message to DC

World Today

Cuba has sent a defiant message to Washington.

Havana said new restrictions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump will not bring about political change on the island.

The message came as Cubans marked the 64th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s first military operation.

CGTN’s Michael Voss reports.

Follow Michael Voss on Twitter @mvosscuba

July 26 is the most important date in Cuba’s political calendar, a public holiday with a mass rally every year attended by top communist party leaders and other officials.

This year’s event, held in Pinar del Rio, sent a message to U.S. President Donald Trump, warning that attempts to bring about political change by tightening the embargo will not work.

“We reaffirm that any strategy that intends to topple the revolution, either though coercion and pressure or by resorting to other subtle methods, will fail,” Cuban Vice President, Machado Ventura said.

On that day more then five decades ago a young lawyer called Fidel Castro first turned to armed struggle, attempting to storm the Moncada barracks. His younger brother Raul Castro, now 86 years old, was also involved that day.

This year is the first rally since Fidel Castro died. It is also the last one that Raul Castro will preside over as President. He is due to step down early next year, though he will stay on as head of the Communist party.

It is believed 57-year-old First Vice President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, will take over the presidency, but that statement is far from being confirmed. But people attending the rally feel that whoever their next leader may be, he will stick to the long cherished beliefs of the country.

No one is expecting radical political changes after Raul Castro steps down, although whoever follows will face growing pressure for more economic reforms.