On the evening of January 27, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz attended the March of the Torches in honor of national hero José Martí, commemorating the 163rd anniversary of his birth. The Cuban President was accompanied by former Presidents of Uruguay, José (Pepe) Mujica, and the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández.
Marching with Cuban youth and the people in this traditional procession from the steps of the University of Havana to the Fragua Martiana, were Second Secretary of the Party Central Committee and a Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, José Ramón Machado Ventura; members of the Party Political Bureau, Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez and Mercedes López Acea; as well as Jennifer Bello, president of the Federation of University Students (FEU), among other government and party officials and leaders of political and mass organizations. Also present was Uruguayan Senator and Mujica’s spouse, Lucía Topolansky.
Before the march commenced a floral wreath was placed at the monument where the remains of student leader Julio Antonio Mella are buried, while the powerful words of Fidel, speaking about Cuba’s commitment to the ideas of Martí and example of heroes such as Maceo, were heard.
This march is a sincere tribute by the youth to our national hero, noted Jennifer Bello minutes before the procession began.
She also noted that thousands of students – heirs of Fidel’s fighting sprit, eternal and rebellious revolutionaries – throughout the country would be joyfully parading through the streets in celebration of the leader of the Cuban Revolution’s 90th birthday.
We march with the same energy and passion as the youth of the Centenary Generation, noted the FEU President, who also confirmed the youth’s commitment to defending peace and unity among Latin Americans. We will not let Bolívar and Martí’s dream die. Through our daily actions we show that Martí lives in the youth, she stated.
This year’s march was also dedicated to the seventh Party Congress, which will propose actions and ideas to overcome the challenges facing the Cuban people to achieve a prosperous and stable society, stated Bello.
She called on Cubans to defend the essence of the Revolution and highlighted that the March of the Torches is an act of respect to the country’s history and a display of loyalty to Cuba.
Arriving at the Fragua Martiana, the Cuban President and youth leader laid a floral wreath before a statue of Martí, to whom all those present paid tribute.