The Cuban flag was raised at City Hall in Santiago de Cuba, located in the east of the island, where the city was entered by the rebel army commander, Fidel Castro, with his revolutionary troops.
In 2013, the Cuban people began the year with a national celebration, not only with the arrival of the new year, but to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the triumph of the revolution that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista, on January 1, 1959.
Just at 00.00 local time (05.00 GMT), the Cuban flag was raised at City Hall in Santiago de Cuba, located in the east of the island, where the city was entered by the rebel army commander, Fidel Castro, with his revolutionary troops.
That day 54 years ago, simultaneously, also admitted to Havana were the troops of the Second National Front of Escambray, actions that marked the beginning of the emblematic Cuban Revolution. From City Hall, this day in 1959, hours later, Fidel announced the triumph of the rebels over government troops of Batista, who that night, resigned the presidency and fled to the Dominican Republic.
Every January 1, this act is known as the "Holiday of the Flag," a tradition that includes singing the National Anthem before the giant flag hoisted, which according to popular belief, will announce by its position that if it stays flying, that means good luck in the new year.
The Cuban news agency Prensa Latina outlined that this is "a historic-cultural ceremony that spans over a century, since the first Republican mayor, Emilio Bacardi Moreau, initiated it.
In a total of 160 municipalities in the country, popular music orchestras and concert bands played at 21:00 local time (0200 GMT), in squares and parks, also scenarios with traditional Cuban dance festivals.
The celebration for the anniversary of the Revolution began on December 30, when they performed the first such cultural events. Similarly, for January 6th, over a hundred choruses are planned around the country, with the participation of children and adolescents.
Achievements of the Revolution
The Cuban Revolution marked the beginning of a period of transformation that ended a system favoring political and economic elites, and they began to build a country for the benefit of the majority of the population.
Cubans celebrate, as the Island closes 2012 with 11,163,934 people, an infant mortality rate below five per thousand live births, the lowest in the Americas, and a life expectancy close to 80 years.
Days ago, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that "In Cuba, the targets of the Millennium Declaration have been met almost entirely, and in some cases far exceeded."
He also stressed that "the commitment goes beyond the borders of the country, to contribute to the social development of other nations, with thousands of employees of health, education, sport and culture spread around the planet."
Meanwhile, in 2013, Havana projected an increase of 3.7 percent in gross domestic product (GDP), economic progression that matches the average planned by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and agencies rating the Latin American region.
Prensa Latina added that these achievements are framed on a hostile stage, noting that seven of every 10 Cubans have been born under the influence of an economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than half a century.
"Barriers to trade, freedom of navigation and access to investments and credits, persecution of Cuban financial transactions worldwide, a travel ban on U.S. citizens and encouraging subversion, are some of the effects of the blockade, which is almost unanimously rejected by the international community.
On the 13th of November, a total 188 countries, against only three - demanded in the General Assembly of the United Nations that the blockade imposed by Washington be ended.
As part of the celebration, the Executive Vice President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, sent a letter of greetings to the Cuban people during the beginning of the celebrations of the 54th anniversary of the Revolution.
"On behalf of the Commander, President Hugo Chavez Frías, and from the depths of the love of the people of Simon Bolivar, I want to give live testimony of our infinite gratitude for the help, delivery and solidarity that have been incarnated in everyday Cuban Missions in Venezuela," says the message.
Also during the last week, Cuba has received letters of greeting from Nicaragua, Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Romania and Kiribati, among other nations of America, Europe and Asia.
Translated from the Spanish version by: