In Cuba, Revolution Day Without Castro at Podium

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Raúl Castro is known among Cubans as a pragmatist, not an orator. But the Cuban president surprised even those accustomed to his reticence on Monday, when he chose not to address an expectant crowd gathered to celebrate Revolution Day in this university town.

Instead, he delegated the task to the 79-year old vice president, José Ramón Machado Ventura, who appealed for discipline and patience as Cuba tackles economic reforms and condemned the United States for its economic isolation of the island as Mr. Castro applauded from his seat....

Mr. Castro’s choice to not to speak at one of the most important fixtures on the Cuban calendar disappointed some in this central Cuban city. Cubans and officials interviewed Monday said they could not recall an occasion when either Mr. Castro, 79, or his brother, Fidel, 83, did not speak on July 26, when Cubans commemorate the 1953 rebel assault on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba, an event often celebrated here as the birth of the revolution against President Fulgencio Batista....

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