San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Cuba marks 60 years since start of communist revolution

HAVANA, Cuba – Cuba on Friday launched 60th anniversary celebrations of ex-leader Fidel Castro’s Moncada Barracks assault – widely seen as the start to the country’s communist revolution.

The events, led by current President Raúl Castro, kicked off in the courtyard of the former Moncada Garrison, where in 1953, a young Fidel and more than 100 rebels attempted to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista.

The bid was unsuccessful, but Castro eventually toppled Batista in 1959, launching the Americas’ only communist regime, which he ruled for five decades before stepping aside for health reasons in favor of his brother.

Leftist presidents from Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua were all on hand to commemorate the event, along with some 10,000 Cubans and foreigners.

“This revolution has been a revolution of dignity, of self-esteem for Latin Americans. It gave us dreams,” said Uruguay President Jose Mujica.

“Being in Cuba is always a source of inspiration against imperialism and capitalism,” Bolivian President Evo Morales said.

Ecuador’s foreign minister, as well as prime ministers from several Caribbean states, were also present at the ceremony, which started shortly after dawn.

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