On Saturday, February 20, the Army General toured various parts of the city of Santiago, where he stopped to speak with the local population
Santiago (Granama) – At close to 7.00am on Saturday, February 20, when the city was just awaking, President Raúl Castro Ruz surprised residents by touring the central Calle Enramada street, from the Plaza de Marte to the Paseo de la Alameda, accompanied by Lázaro Expósito Canto, first secretary of the Party in the province.
A phrase uttered by one of the many who came out onto the streets to greet the President, which was repeated by others, served to summarize just how much work has been done here and marked the impressions of the day, “Whoever saw Santiago after Hurricane Sandy can not believe how splendid the city is now.”
During his tour of the city, Raúl spoke with local residents on a range of topics, such as the current economic situation of the country and its huge potential; the international context; the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States; and taking advantage of the fact that among those who accompanied him were FAR officials who had been mobilized in the campaign to stop the spread of mosquitos, he warned of the dangers of the Zika virus and the need to strictly comply with all sanitary measures.
Passing along the beautiful cobblestoned street, Raúl visited the El Avileño agricultural market and the Jardines de la Enramada ice cream parlor, strong examples of the revival of a city founded 500 years ago.
Wishing to please everyone, Raúl posed for photos, while others captured the President walking down the street on their cell phones, and several children ran to hug him. On one corner, an old man held out his hand and said he had been with him in the Sierra Maestra. Such is Santiago, where on every corner there is a piece of history.
The surprises along Calle Enramada continued, as Raúl dropped in on the Círculo Infantil Gloria Cuadras (preschool day care center), located in a former family home of Vilma Espín. There he talked and played with the children, who passed his military cap around.
Raúl then visited the city Zoo, the Parque de los Sueños and the Loma de San Juan, sites which are always popular spots over the weekend, but which that morning saw their usual hustle and bustle slow as the Cuban President stopped to speak to local visitors.
On an improvised platform, after sharing several anecdotes with the population, Raúl noted that he had traveled to the city for the funeral of Comandante of the Rebel Army Pedro Miret Prieto, and taken the opportunity to walk the streets, as he hadn’t done so for many years. “The leadership of the Party and the government in Santiago are providing an example of just what can be done, even with limited resources,” he said.