HAVANA – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his predecessor Raul Castro commemorated on Wednesday the 150th anniversary of the start of Cuba’s first independence war during an event in which they defended the country’s sovereignty and demanded an end to the US economic embargo.
Accompanied by political leaders and some 5,000 citizens, the two men recalled the declaration of Cuban independence made by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes in La Demajagua on Oct. 10, 1968.
Cespedes’s declaration marked the start of a series of wars between Spain and Cuban independence revolutionaries, which eventually led to the country’s formal independence three decades later.
During the event, in which images of Cespedes and other Cuban independence heroes were displayed, a wreath was laid and a 21-gun salute was performed, while the Concert Band of Bayamo played the national anthem.
“We have fought 150 years and we will continue fighting until victory, always,” Diaz-Canel said during his speech, adding that “unity” was “the only salvation” for Cuba in the face of “an imperial siege from outside.”
The president was referring to the United States, a country that Cuba accuses of interfering in its internal affairs and of asphyxiating its economy by means of an embargo that was established nearly six decades ago.
Diaz-Canel recalled a speech made by Fidel in 1968 on the 100th anniversary of the declaration of independence, when the late leader likewise denounced the US embargo.