The monument by sculptor Alexei Chebanenko and architect Andrei Bely features the bronze figure of the Cuban politician installed on a granite pedestal.
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Speeches at the unveiling ceremony for a monument to Fidel Castro
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, Cuban guests, Muscovites, friends,
We have gathered here, on a square named after Fidel Castro, to unveil a monument to this outstanding statesman and political figure, the founder of the modern Cuban state.
Fidel Castro dedicated his life to the selfless struggle to advance the ideas of goodness, peace and justice, for the freedom of oppressed peoples, for a decent life for ordinary people and social equality.
He is rightfully considered one of the most colourful and charismatic leaders of the turbulent and dramatic 20th century, a truly legendary person and a symbol of an era of national liberation movements, the collapse of the colonial system and the creation of new independent states in Latin America and Africa.
Fidel and his associates have selflessly defended the sovereignty of their native country; they did not allow it to be broken by the intervention of mercenaries, sanctions, financial or economic embargo, or attempts at external isolation; they upheld Cuba’s right to its own development model in accordance with national rather than externally imposed values; and made sure that the world takes into account Cuba’s opinion and respects its interests.
For many generations of our fellow citizens, the image of the Comandante has always been shrouded in romantic glory, courage and victories. The lyrics of the well-known Soviet song Cuba, My Love! reflected our sincere and enthusiastic feelings not only for the Island of Freedom and the entire Cuban people, but also directly for Fidel, whose strength, energy and unbending will attracted and still attract people like a magnet.
Friends, I was lucky enough to meet with Fidel Castro on several occasions, and I still remember many hours of conversations with him, especially our last conversation in July 2014.
He talked about the things that were surprisingly consonant with the time –- the time of the development of a multipolar world – saying that independence and dignity cannot be put up for sale and that every nation is entitled to develop as it sees fit and to choose its own path, and that a truly fair world has no place for dictatorship, plunder or neo-colonialism. His encyclopaedic knowledge, deep understanding of the underlying causes of events, sharpness of mind, and accuracy of assessments were striking.
Fidel was a true friend of our country and often came to see us. In 1963, he travelled around almost the entire Soviet Union. He was always a welcome guest in Moscow and loved it very much. As Fidel said, he was willing to come to Russia any time, summer or winter, with or without snow.
Our country has always supported the freedom-loving Cuban people and the leadership of the Republic. And we know it is a mutual feeling. Cuba has been, is and, I am sure, will always be our consistent strategic partner and ally in international affairs.
The Russian-Cuban friendship that was bequeathed to us by Fidel Castro is the common legacy of our peoples. Mr President, you represent the new generation of Cuban leaders and you are making an enormous contribution to promoting friendly and trust-based relations between our countries.
We will join efforts in order to strengthen our alliance and to defend the great values of freedom, equality and justice.
Thank you for the attention.
President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez (retranslated): Dear Comrade Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, my dear Russian friends,
It is a great honour for me to take part in unveiling the monument to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.
First, I would like to thank President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for his participation in this commemorative event. He had the honour of being personally acquainted with Fidel and of having hours-long conversations with him during his visits to Cuba in December 2000 and in July 2014.
I am also grateful to the members of the Russian Military-Historical Society, the Moscow City Duma and particularly, to sculptor Alexei Chebanenko for this noble initiative.
My dear friends,
The personality of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief was very closely linked to the friendship between our peoples and governments that was tempered over 60 years. Fidel understood very well the underlying nature of the fraternal relations between our countries. He always had warm relations with Soviet and Russian leaders. He knew personally and admired Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova, the great Russian cosmonauts. He always admired the tremendous spirit of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War, the heroism and ability for self-sacrifice in saving humanity from fascism.
Fidel first came to the Soviet Union in 1963. In over 40 years, he visited the most important cities, including Leningrad – a city that he deeply respected for its resistance to the epic 900-day siege by the Nazi army.
This historical visit enhanced the love of your fraternal country by our historical leader and the budding friendship between our peoples that has existed up to this day.
In subsequent years, Fidel travelled to the USSR many times. He last visited in November 1987 to attend the 70th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
Till the end of his life, Fidel followed with special interest everything that was happening in this great country. He paid special attention to every event and piece of news linked with Russia and attached special importance to its role in world politics.
In this context, we can say that this monument also recognises the friendship between Russia and Cuba, which has a very firm foundation.
My dear friends, comrades,
I would like to recall with deep gratitude the words written by President Vladimir Putin on behalf of the Russian people when Fidel died six years ago.
I quote, “Fidel Castro was a true friend of Russia, in whom we could believe. He made a tremendous contribution to the establishment and development of Russian-Cuban relations and their close strategic cooperation in all areas.”
Today, we can confirm that the new generations of Cubans that hold public and government positions in the country are committed to continuing our friendship and solidarity with the Russian Federation.
Speaking on behalf of the Cuban people and government, I can speak of our commitment to the behest of Raul and Fidel as regards the friendship they were building for so many years with the USSR and later the Russian Federation. The connections between Russia and Cuba are indestructible. Fidel laid the foundation for these relations and developed them further. Our task is to preserve and continue them. Russia knows that it can continue to rely on Cuba.
Eternal glory to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz!
Thank you very much.