On Saturday 13 August 2011, Manchester RATB held a birthday stall in Piccadilly Gardens, to celebrate Fidel's 85th birthday. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born in Biran, Mayari, in the former province of Oriente (now Holguin), on his father's farm on 13 August 1926. Some of the ideas of this great leader of the Cuban Revolution include the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) founded in November 1999 in Cuba, to train physicians from many countries, with the ability to offer their services anywhere in the world, the 500 scholarships offered to US medical students to study medicine in Cuba, and the over 700 Haitian doctors trained at the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences in Santiago de Cuba, one of the biggest contributions to Haiti's long-neglected health system.
Activists highlighted the injustice of the continued incarceration of the Cuban 5 anti-terrorist fighters for the past 13 years in US prisons, and the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in social care, health care and education, comparing these to the growing attacks on working class living standards in Manchester. The city centre itself was unusually quiet following the recent uprisings in Manchester and Salford, of sections of the working class on 9 August 2011, against decades of poverty, unemployment, marginalisation and police racism and harassment.
A large birthday card was signed by members of the public. Blue, yellow and red balloons, a large, bright birthday banner, the Cuban and Che Guevara flags along with revolutionary music Inventos which celebrates Cuban hip hop added to and improved the atmosphere.
Happy birthday comrade Fidel! 85 years more! Our card is on its way to you!
Long live socialism!