News / Americas

Cuba Urges Patience on Free-Market Reforms

Cuba's Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura speaks during the Veinte y Seis de Julio, or the 26th of July, rally in Ciego de Avila, Cuba, July 26, 2011
Cuba's Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura speaks during the Veinte y Seis de Julio, or the 26th of July, rally in Ciego de Avila, Cuba, July 26, 2011

Cuba has marked the 58th anniversary of the failed attack on army barracks that sparked the beginning of the overthrow of the government of U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

The official celebration was held in the city of Ciego de Avila Tuesday. Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, who spoke at the event, said the city was picked because of its social and economic achievements over the past year.

Machado Ventura called on Cubans to work harder and more efficiently.He assured the tens of thousands in attendance that the island nation is not moving away from socialism even as it implements free-market reforms.

President Raul Castro presided over the event, but did not give a speech. His brother, president Fidel Castro, did not appear.

Members of the Cuban Armed Forces attend an event marking the 1953 assault on the Moncada military barracks in Ciego de Avila, Cuba July 26, 2011
Members of the Cuban Armed Forces attend an event marking the 1953 assault on the Moncada military barracks in Ciego de Avila, Cuba July 26, 2011

July 26 is the anniversary of the attack by the Castro brothers and their fighters on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes army barracks. While the initial attack failed, later aggression by the Castro forces resulted in Fidel Castro taking power in 1959. He instituted a communist system of rule that has been in place ever since.

Raul Castro formally assumed the presidency in 2008, two years after Fidel Castro, now 84, handed over power as he underwent and recovered from intestinal surgery.

Raul Castro turned 80 this year and has said this will be the final Congress for his generation.

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