Latin America & Caribbean

Cuba's Raul Castro points to 'gradual power transfer'

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Media captionThe BBC's Sarah Rainsford says the main focus of the speech was on history

President Raul Castro has said power in Cuba is being gradually transferred, in a speech at celebrating 60 years since the start of the revolution.

The revolutionaries were giving way to a new generation who would keep socialist ideals alive, Mr Castro said.

Several Latin American leaders gathered in Santiago to mark the failed Moncada barracks assault, seen as the start of Mr Castro's brother Fidel's revolution.

Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2008 after a series of health issues.

He was absent from Friday's celebrations in Santiago.

Whereas in Fidel's time it was customary to make big announcements on 26 July, Raul Castro has been keeping a lower profile at the event.

'Serene confidence'

This year, President Castro - who's been pushing a string of economic and political changes in the country - paid tribute to his brother and the revolution.

"The historic generation is giving way to the new one, with tranquillity and serene confidence, based on the preparation and competence to keep the flags of the revolution and socialism flying high," he told the crowd.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Uruguay's Jose Mujica were among dignitaries in the audience.

Mr Mujica, who also took up arms with revolutionaries in his country, said the Cuban revolution had given other Latin American nations confidence.

"This was a revolution of dignity. It gave us dreams," he said.

On Wednesday, the former revolutionary had a personal meeting with Fidel Castro.

Following the talks, he said Mr Castro was weighed down by his age but remained brilliant and youthful in his mind.

The annual 26 July rally marks the anniversary of the first battle of the Cuban revolution when Fidel, along with Raul, led an attack on the Moncada barracks.

It was successfully repelled by the army of dictator Fulgencio Batista and the Castro brothers were sent to prison but later released.

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