Castro uses Revolution Day speech to scold U.S. leaders
`Yankee' plans for transition denounced
By Anita Snow
The Associated Press
Posted July 27 2006
BAYAMO, Cuba · Fidel Castro led tens of thousands of Communist Party
faithful Wednesday in a celebration of the nearly suicidal barracks
assault that launched the Cuban Revolution 53 years ago.
Returning to his roots in eastern Cuba, Castro told a large Revolution
Day crowd in this provincial capital that his government's social
achievements exceed anything a U.S.-backed replacement could accomplish.
Organizers estimated that more than 100,000 people showed up for the
early morning event. Virtually all wore bright red commemorative
T-shirts and waved small red, white and blue Cuban flags distributed by
local party officials.
Castro appeared onstage in his trademark olive green uniform, drawing a
huge cheer from the crowd. He spoke for more than two hours.
Castro, whose 47 years in power make him the world's longest-ruling head
of government, was born and raised in eastern Cuba. He was just 26 when
he led a ragtag band on July 26, 1953, in an assault on the Moncada
barracks in Santiago.
Although the attack failed, with many of the assailants killed and the
rest -- including Castro and his younger brother, Raul -- imprisoned, it
is considered the official start of the revolution.
The Castro brothers and the other surviving assailants were released
early under an amnesty and traveled to Mexico, where they planned a
guerrilla war against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
In his speech, Castro praised Granma province, of which Bayamo is the
A plan recently presented by a U.S. presidential commission envisions a
post-Castro Cuba with multiparty elections and free markets, led by a
democratic transition government.
"Granma doesn't need any Yankee transition plan to vaccinate and teach
our people to read and write," Castro said, drawing loud applause from
the crowd. "They should tell Mr. Bush ... to come to Granma to see a
Cuban leaders say there will be no transition after the death of Castro,
who turns 80 on Aug. 13, but rather a succession within the existing
system. Defense Minister Raul Castro, 75, will assume the presidency.
A large plaza was built for Wednesday's event, featuring a
bronze-and-marble monument at the front carved with the faces of Cuban
independence heroes such as Jose Marti.
Bayamo, about 500 miles east of Havana, was the site of key battles in
Cuba's independence wars against Spain and in Castro's revolution, which
triumphed Jan. 1, 1959, when Batista fled the country.