Cuba celebrates 50 years of socialism | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 17, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 17, 2011

Cuba celebrates 50 years of socialism

Thousands of Cubans joined a huge military parade yesterday marking 50 years of socialism and defeat of the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, hours ahead of a crucial Communist Party Congress setting new political and economic goals.
President Raul Castro, clad in his general's uniform and surrounded by senior officials, party congress delegates and war veterans, saluted soldiers as they marched through the Plaza de la Revolucion, the political heart of the country and in the shadow of its Communist Party headquarters.
Hundreds of thousands of other marching Cubans followed, including thousands of young "pioneers" waving Cuban flags and chanting "Viva Fidel!" "Viva Raul!" "Long live the revolution!"
The parade kicked off with a tribute to revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, 84, who officially handed the reins of power to his 79-year-old brother Raul in 2006 for health reasons.
Fidel did not attend the festivities yesterday, exactly half a century after Castro himself proclaimed the socialist character of the regime just a day before the April 17, 1961 landing by 1,400 Cuban exiles armed and trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency.
Within just 72 hours of bloody combat on Playa Larga and Playa Giron 200 kilometres (124 miles) southeast of Havana, Castro had routed out the invaders in what Cuba celebrates as "the first great defeat of imperialism in Latin America."

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