Santiago de Cuba.–In the late afternoon March 30, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, arrived at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, accompanied by the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, to pay tribute to Martí, Fidel, Céspedes and Mariana, on the last day of his state visit to the island.
As always, the ceremony at this sacred site of the homeland was moving. The national anthems of both nations were heard, followed by moments of silence, and the changing of the honor guard, which occurs like clockwork every half hour at this historic site.
The two party leaders and their respective delegations then offered their personal tributes, laying white flowers at the mausoleum that guards the remains of the Cuban Apostle, José Martí, who in his children’s magazine The Golden Age described the Vietnamese as a small and distant people, who were courageous fighters, industrious, and generous.
The tributes continued before the stone monument that treasures the ashes of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. There Nguyen Phu Trong laid a beautiful floral wreath dedicated to the leader of the Cuban Revolution and the only head of state to visit, in the midst of the war, the recently liberated areas of southern Vietnam, back in September 1973.
The Vietnamese leader dedicated a few moments in silence to he who was the driving force of the excellent bonds of friendship that have always united the two nations, that, although separated by thousands of kilometers, share a common history. Fidel summarized this commitment with those heartfelt words that expressed our willingness to shed our own blood for Vietnam.
From there they walked to the monuments erected to the memory of the “Father of the Homeland” Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, and the “Mother of the Homeland” Mariana Grajales.
The tributes of the Vietnamese Party leader to the glorious history of Cuba had begun earlier in this city, as he toured the July 26 Museum, located in the former Moncada Garrison. Together with Raúl, one of the major architects of the history that is preserved here, Nguyen Phu Trong learned about the feat of those young men who 65 years ago assaulted this military fortress, who went on to build a Revolution.
Among the first hand experiences and anecdotes narrated by the Army General, Phu Trong learned of the atrocities committed by the Batista dictatorship against the assailants, of their imprisonment on the Isle of Pines, of their exile in Mexico, of the stormy voyage aboard the Granma yacht, of the clandestine struggle, of the Sierra Maestra and the final triumph.
At the end of the activities, around 10:00 p.m., the Cuban President accompanied comrade Nguyen Phu Trong to the Antonio Maceo International Airport, were he bid him farewell at the steps of the plane.
With a firm handshake and embrace, this historic exchange concluded, marking a new milestone in the relations between Cuba and Vietnam, established in 1960 and strengthened by this endearing visit.