Harlem Pays Tribute to Fidel, Cuba’s Revolutionary Leader

telesur | 05 February, 2017

Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution, died in November 2016, at age 90.

Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution, died in November 2016, at age 90. | Photo: Reuters

Over 200 New Yorkers from Harlem and other parts of the city paid tribute to Fidel Castro Sunday, as part of a ceremony convened by the New York-New Jersey Cuba Si! Committee following the death of the revolutionary leader on Nov. 25, 2016.

“All the work in his life was dedicated to making a better world,” said Cuban Permanent Representative to the U.N. Anayansi Rodriguez at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center where the event took place.

Cuba will never forget the firm support received from the sons and daughters of Harlem and all the worthy son and daughters of the United States, “who are the same who are increasingly seeking the lifting of the blockade and a normal and civilized relationship between both countries, without conditions,” Rodriguez added.

In Manhattan, on Oct. 10, 1955, during a ceremony in which close to 800 people participated, Fidel Castro made his historic statement, “In 1956, we will be free or we will be martyrs,” according to the U.N. representative.

Fidel’s first trip to New York following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 was in September 1960, in order to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

The U.S. government’s hostility against Cuba was already evident — the CIA was already preparing the April 1961 Bay of Pigs aggression — a context that forced the Cuban delegation to leave one of the hotels in midtown, Rodriguez said.

Fidel even referred to the circumstances at the U.N. General Assembly, pointing out that “a humble hotel in this city, a hotel of Blacks in Harlem, offered us accommodations.”

The welcoming committee in 1960 included Malcolm X, whom Fidel met at the Hotel Theresa, Rodriguez recounted in a speech interrupted several times by applause, in the same facility where Malcolm X was assassinated in February 1965.

The revolutionary leader returned three more times to New York to attend U.N. forums held in 1979, 1995 and 2000, and “on the last two occasions, he could feel again the warmth of solidarity and friendship in this town, during moving meetings that were organized here. And Fidel always returned that affection with sincerity and love,” Rodriguez concluded.

With gratitude, Rodriguez reiterated the Cubans’ commitment to Fidel Castro’s legacy, as well as the encouragement that the solidarity of U.S. residents, New Yorkers — and particularly, Harlem residents — represented in tough times.

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