Fidel Castro’s 80th Birthday to be Celebrated in Harlem
The revolutionary life of the man whose death was recently prematurely celebrated in Miami will be the object of celebration in downtown Harlem on Monday. To mark Fidel Castro’s 80th birthday "a cake with 80 candles, and more, to make it known that what is loved never dies" is being prepared, said Father Luis Barrios, one of the event coordinators.
"It's a celebration of the Cuban Revolution and Fidel's birthday," said Vicente ‘Panama’ Alba, one of the organizers of the party to be held at the St. Ambrose Church, on 130 Street between Lenox and Fifth, deep in the heart of Harlem.
The celebration will also be a reply to those in Miami who, shortly after news broke of the temporary transferring of powers in Cuba, went out to Calle 8 to celebrate.
"The Cuban worms [in Miami] and the US government hope for a transition when Fidel dies," said Alba, who added with a smile, "they are way behind, because that process began in 1959."
According to Father Barrios, "the serious matter here is that the United States dares threaten the sovereignty of another country. It is amazing that the United Nations Security Councils permits this."
Father Barrios said that in addition to paying homage to Cuba and Fidel, afternoon festivities will feature a wide variety of topics including current events in Lebanon, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, US immigration, the war against Iraq, and those who are looking forward to the impeachment of George W. Bush.
Previous to singing Happy Birthday to Fidel, a documentary on the Cuban Five —five Cubans that have been unjustly held in US jails since 1998— will be shown.
"Since [the triumph of the Revolution] in 1959, Cuba has not invaded a single nation," how many countries has the US invaded since then?" asks Alba.
As Harlem celebrates, Fidel has asked that celebrations in Cuba for his August 13, 80th birthday be postponed while he recovers from an operation.
"This is a message of love, unity and community, based on everything that Fidel has taught us," says Father Barrios. When asked about the fundamental lesson he has learned from the Comandante he says "to be subversive all the time."
(El Diario/La Prensa, Nueva York)