Juan Almeida Bosque - tributes, reports and statements

News from Cuba | Monday, 14 September 2009


Juan Almeida Bosque (1927-2009)

Hero of Cuba

On behalf of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the UK we would like to offer our deepest sympathy to the family and comrades of Juan Almeida Bosque - a true Hero of Cuba.

We recognise the vital part that Juan Almeida Bosque played in the Cuban Revolution from the early attacks on the Batista dictatorship, the assault on the Moncada Barracks and his leadership in the battles of the successful Revolution. As a Black commander in the rebel army he stands as an important symbol of the unity of the Cuban people. We also recognise his contribution to the rich culture of Cuba with the 300 songs he composed and the many books that he wrote.

Juan Almeida Bosque has left a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire all our efforts on behalf of the just cause that is Cuba.

Keith Sonnet Rob Miller

Chairperson Director



With profound sadness we received the news about the death of Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque. Almeida, as the people of Cuba affectionately called him, was a Vice President of the Council of State and member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.

His name will remain forever in the hearts and minds of his compatriots, as an example of a revolutionary with solid convictions, bravery, patriotism and commitment to his people

In order to pay tribute to his memory a Book of Condolences will be opened at the Embassy of Cuba, on 167 High Holborn, WC1V 6PA, on Friday 18th, Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd of September, from 10:30 to 12:00 hrs. and 14:00 to 17:00 hrs.

We will appreciate it if this information can be circulated among as many friends as possible.




Thousands of Cubans lined up early Sunday to pay their respects to Juan Almeida Bosque, a vice president and hero of the country's 1959 revolution whose death at the age of 82 further thinned the ranks of this communist-run country's old-guard leaders.

President Raul Castro led the ceremony at Havana's Revolution Square, somberly placing a pink rose in front of a large photograph of Almeida. Flags flew at half-staff throughout the country.

There was no sign of Castro's older brother, former leader Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public since turning over power to his brother in 2006.

Raul Castro did not speak at the ceremony, but other Cuban leaders hailed Almeida as a great and simple man.

"Almeida will live with us forever," the head of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, told Cuban media on Saturday.

At the ceremony on Sunday, lines of thousands formed early and snaked through Revolution Square. Many more Cubans were expected to attend throughout the day, or go to smaller memorials throughout the country. Raul Castro did not speak at the ceremony, but other Cuban leaders hailed Almeida as a great and simple man.

Almeida, one of just three surviving rebel leaders who still bore the title "Commander of the Revolution," died Friday of a heart attack.

He was the first of Cuba's revolutionary giants to pass away since Raul Castro's wife, Vilma Espin, died in June 2007, and his death was a sudden if not unexpected reminder that all of the country's aging leaders are facing the inevitable march of time.

Most are in their late 70s and early 80s, including the Castro brothers, and it is not at all clear who would replace them. The few young leaders who have emerged over the years have not lasted long before falling out of favor.

Almeida was a member of Cuba's ruling elite, sitting on the Communist Party's politburo and serving as a vice president on the Council of State, the country's supreme governing body. He cut back on activities in December 2003, citing heart problems.

Almeida met Fidel Castro in 1952 at the University of Havana, where both were studying law, and he had been at Castro's side ever since, through his imprisonment on the Isla de la Juventud, exile in Mexico and return to Cuba aboard the American yacht "Granma" in 1956 to launch the revolution.

Almeida, the Castro brothers and Argentine-born Ernesto "Che" Guevara were among only 16 rebels who survived the landing, in which most of the rebels were killed by government troops.

"No one here gives up!" Almeida shouted to Guevara at the time, giving the Cuban revolution one of its most lasting slogans and ensuring his place in Cuban communist history. As a guerrilla leader, Almeida later headed his own front of military operations in eastern Cuba.

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