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26jul2009man2Manchester RATB celebrated the weekend of 26 de Julio (26th July Movement 1953) by holding a couple of events on both the Saturday and the Sunday. This important event marks the key date when Fidel Castro and his comrades attacked Moncado Barracks in Santiago and the Bayamo Barracks in Oriente, Cuba. Although the attack failed at the time, it was instrumental in the birth of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

On the afternoon of Saturday 25th July, there was a film showing about Fidel Castro, entitled ‘Moments with Fidel’. Fidel Castro played a pivotal role in the 26 de Julio Movement which was to launch the Cuban Revolution six years later. Before the film was shown, one of RATB comrades, Keith, gave a very informative introduction to the film tracing the political history of Cuba and demonstrating that Cuba has always been involved in struggles against various forms of imperialism and colonisation. From 1492, when Christopher Columbus first arrived on the island, up until the Batista regime and the changes in Cuban society pre-and post 1959 Revolution. The film itself displayed the enormous support for the Cuban Revolution by the Cuban people which was accompanied with dynamic speeches from Fidel through the years. It highlighted the key issues as to why Cuba is still hated today by the US and other imperialist interests. The fact that Cuba has become an ideological threat rather than a military threat. Approximately 13 people attended the afternoon event.

On the afternoon of Sunday 26th July, an open air event was planned to be held in Piccadilly Gardens complete with speeches, poetry, salsa dancing and music. A selection of speeches throughout the day intended to provide an insight into many of the issues which Cuba is often criticised for were unfortunately cancelled due to the extremely poor turn-out of the public due to the despicable English weather intervening and so there was not the public attendance which was anticipated. However, the music went on and there was some dancing. Various members of the public who were there were attracted to the information stall and signed the large ‘Free the Cuban 5’ petition we had on one of the walls.