HAVANA, August 13 (Itar-Tass) —— The legendary Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, today is celebrating his 85th anniversary. He has long left all senior positions, however, contrary to predictions by its ill-wishers, Cuba has not turned off the path of building socialism. Under the guidance Raul Castro, who became the new head of state, the Liberty Island has launched social and economic reforms that look the most extensive ones over the past decade with the aim to upgrade the Cuban model and preserve the gains of the revolution.
For four years (from 2006 to 2010) Fidel Castro led a bitter struggle with a serious illness. However, staying all the time “a firm soldier of ideas”, he regularly commented on the most pressing topics of international and regional agenda in his newspaper column called Reflections. Last summer, Castro to the delight of his many supporters, was “back in service” – he began to take an active part in various activities in Cuba again, to hold meetings with representatives of intellectual, scientific and social circles, focusing on global issues, including the threat of nuclear war. He even spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly of People’s Power (Parliament) of the country and made a speech in front of a crowd of several thousand students outside the University of Havana.
This year his activities are not so noticeable. Last time he appeared in public in mid-April at the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. The delegates to that forum, the first over nearly 14 years, appointed to the post of First Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, which had formerly belonged to Fidel Castro, his younger brother, Raul. “Fidel will be Fidel, and to occupy the highest place in the present and future history of the Cuban people he does not need any position,” the new head of the Communist Party said.
Since the beginning of this summer the leader of the Cuban Revolution has published only one article in his Reflections column. It was entirely devoted to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who continues to struggle with cancer and is undergoing treatment in Cuba. Fidel Castro explained his long silence by the need to “pay attention to other matters which are of paramount importance.” He said that Chavez had just had “a decisive battle” with the disease, which “will lead him and Venezuela to a great victory.”
The birthdays of senior officials in Cuba are traditionally marked without pomp. This time the central event in the overall series of cultural events timed for Castro’s anniversary will be a three-hour concert called Serenade of Loyalty (Serenata de la Fidelidad) at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater on Saturday morning. The concert will feature more than twenty well-known Cuban and foreign performing artists, including world-famous singer Omara Portuondo.