Cuba celebrates 150th anniversary of independence war

HAVANA, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Cuban leaders on Wednesday attended celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the 1868 Cuban War of Independence, the first of three wars fought against Spanish colonialists.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, presided over a ceremony in eastern Granma province.

"The Cuban Revolution was born here 150 years ago," Diaz-Canel said at La Demajagua national park, which houses the ruins of a sugar mill where slave owner-turned-freedom-fighter Carlos Manuel de Cespedes proclaimed independence from Spain and an end to slavery in 1868.

Cespedes inspired Cubans to rise up against their oppressors and toppled the decaying foundations of a slave-owning society, the president said in a speech to a crowd of more than 5,000 people.

"If we had to wait for the ideal conditions to fight, then the Cuban struggle for independence would never have gotten started," Diaz-Canel quoted revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as saying.

"We know that it is possible to win ... with no more weapons than morality and patriotism," he said.

Struggling under dire circumstances has made Cuba "a sovereign nation and proud of its history," he added.

Given the current challenges facing Cuba, including an intensified U.S. trade embargo, it is necessary to keep in mind the legacy of Cespedes, "who put the black man next to the white man as equals."

To advance, Cuba needs everyone to work together, he said.

A wealthy lawyer and intellectual, Cespedes rebelled against Spanish rule on Oct. 10 of that year and launched a new republic. He is thus considered the "Father of the Nation."

Two more ensuing independence wars rid Cuba of the Spanish. Fidel Castro considered his revolt against dictator Fulgencio Batista in the late 1950s to be the continuation of the struggle Cespedes began a century earlier.

[ Editor: zyq ]


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