Photo: Juvenal Balán

SANTIAGO DE CUBA.– Fidel returned to Cuba and the world during a political-cultural commemoration, on the occasion of the first anniversary of his death, last night in this city's Heredia Theater.

Leading attendees included Second Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, José Ramón Machado Ventura; members of the Central Committee Political Bureau and Secretariat; provincial authorities; and other leaders of mass organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces, and the Ministry of the Interior, along with a representative group of residents.

More than 300 artists performed tributes to the Comandante en Jefe in musical, dance, and poetry presentations, among them singer-songwriter Eduardo Sosa; pianist Frank Fernández; and saxophonists César López and Evaristo Denis, who performed "La Lupe," by Comandante Juan Almeida Bosque, accompanied by a large orchestra conducted by Enrique Pérez Mesa.

The conclusion of the program began with Annie Garcés singing a capella Eduardo Ramos' "Su nombre es pueblo," and Raúl Torres officially premiered his new song "Laureles y Olivos," before calling Annie and Sosa back on stage for the now emblematic "El regreso del amigo" and "Cabalgando con Fidel."

Next, moving images of the Fidel's funeral cortege across the island were projected accompanied by the Orfeón Santiago, Madrigalista, and children's choirs, ending with Fidel's words on May Day of 2003, reaffirming Che's, "Hasta la Victoria Siempre."

"Saberse cubano" presented by Kiki Corona, accompanied by musicians from the Symphony Orchestra of Oriente, the Esteban Salas Conservatory Youth Orchestra, and Santiago's concert band, was chosen as the final number.