The Karl Marx Theater in Havana hosted a special gala on Saturday night, where some of Fidel’s oldest comrades, including some of those who accompanied him in the attack on the Moncada barracks, along with foreign dignitaries and heads of state, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, participated. Watch video below.
Fidel Castro thanked Cubans and foreign friends for their well-wishes on his 90th birthday on Saturday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent a birthday message: “You enjoy deep respect in Russia as an outstanding statesman who devoted his entire life to serving the people of Cuba.”
Lebanese media paid rich tributes by calling Fidel Castro as a model for Muslims and Christian leaders, for his support for the oppressed Palestinian people.
Boxing icon Muhammad Ali (d. 2016) had a special relationship with Cuba and its revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro. In 1996, Ali traveled to Cuba as part of a Red Cross mission to deliver medical supplies. He spent five days in Cuba and led the delegation to hand over US$500,000 worth of medical aid. In 1998 Ali returned to deliver a donation of US$1.2 million in medical aid.
To thank him for his efforts, Fidel invited Ali and his companions to a private meeting. During the meeting Fidel and Ali exchanged jokes and jabs, with Fidel telling Ali, Hit me here, and pointing to his face (see photo by Hazel Hankin below).
Fidel Castro visited Tehran in May 2001, and held meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei in the presence of country’s president Ayatullah Mohammad Khatami. Fidel expressed his delight to be in a country which he said is a valuable religious nation.
Fidel Castro said Iran is the center of spirituality in the world today and told Ayatullah Khamenei that his words on Islam and religious values had deeply impressed him. Terming the western approach towards different civilizations and religions as discriminating, Castro said in the West high budgets are allocated to projects aimed at deviation of the mankind’s minds from the sheer truths and realities. Castro denounced the Western hegemony and said that the West, and particularly the US administrations, despite their vast propaganda, acts in a totally uncivilized manner. He agreed with Ayatullah Khamenei on the point that the US is extremely weak today, adding, “we are today eye-witness to their weakness, as their close neighbors.” The Cuban President further stressed, “we are not scared of America today, and the Cuban nation is stronger than ever in the past, forty years after the victory of its revolution.” He once again agreed with Ayatullah Khamenei on the point that Iran and Cuba can hand in hand defeat America.
Read Khamenei’s statement during his meeting with Fidel Castro (here).
In a joint statement the two countries condemned acts of terrorism as well as sanctions imposed by the imperialists, as those against Cuba, Iran, and Iraq. They also expressed their support to the “continuing struggles of the Palestinian people to gain their rights and, above all, the right of self-determination and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees.” The two countries also condemned the massacres carried out by the Israeli regime.
Fidel Castro visited Tehran University to receive an honorary doctorate in political science.
In 1998, in a joint news conference with US president Bill Clinton in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela made a point of praising Cuba, Libya and Iran-all countries on Washington’s hit list.
“Not only did they support us in rhetoric, they gave us the resources for us to conduct the struggle and win,” Mandela said pointedly.