Friday, April 15, 2011

Calm before the storm: Havana eerily quiet on eve of huge military parade

April 15, 2011 - La Habana

On the eve of a huge military parade set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of revolutionary Cuba's victory over American backed exiles and to symbolically launch the country's long awaited 6th party congress, the capital city was eerily quiet tonight.

All roads approaching the monumental civic square, La Plaza de la Revolucion, were closed off and filled with military vehicles, red, white, and blue banners, bunting, and flags, heroic portraits of former president and reigning elder statesman Fidel Castro, and revolutionary slogans asserting that "only socialism can preserve the nation's sovereignty and independence."

That may be, but given the effervescence and insecurity in the air since Raul Castro began a new wave of radical pro-market reforms last September (radical at least for Cuba where the state has long controlled upwards of 90% of the economy) many Cubans are understandably wondering if this new form of market-socialism can save the nation's sagging economy.

Only time will tell. Stay logged on at El Yuma for more photos and updates from the front lines of this particular battle of ideas, ideologies, and economic systems.

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