HAVANA – Thousands of Cuban young people took part in the traditional “March of the Torches” in Havana in a tribute to independence hero Jose Marti and the late revolutionary leader and long-time president of the island, Fidel Castro.
Under the slogan “Fatherland in Our Hearts,” the torch-carrying college students began their march Friday night at the University of Havana with President Raul Castro, top officials in his government and members of youth organizations leading the way.
The event, organized by the University Students Federation (FEU) and replicated in other cities on the island, was broadcast live by state television and specially dedicated this year to Fidel Castro, who died on Nov. 25 at the age of 90.
The revolutionary leader taught Cubans “to have faith in victory and discover in perseverance a people’s strength, dignity and fighting spirit,” FEU President Jennifer Bello, a lawmaker and member of the communist-ruled island’s Council of State, said in a speech at the start of the march.
The march concluded at Havana’s Jose Marti Memorial just as it did in the first edition in January 1953, when Cubans commemorated the 100th anniversary of the national hero’s birth.
On Saturday, young children will march in parades organized by elementary schools and also take part in exhibitions, camping excursions, contests and other events in the Caribbean nation.