Cuba has put its military on show as part of the celebrations to mark 50 years since revolutionaries repelled America’s Bay of Pigs invasion.
The spotlight on the commemorations is also being shared by a rare Communist party congress that is expected to herald radical reforms in a country not used to change.
Cuba is one of the last communist states of its kind in the world, and the government is strapped for cash. Perhaps one of the most controversial changes: the monthly food ration for everyone is thought likely to get the chop.
Cuba’s leader Raul Castro has already said that social spending has to be in accordance with real possibilities, and that means eliminating programmes that can be done without.
Subsidies for transport and utility bills also look under threat. But Castro wants to keep free healthcare and education.
Raul Castro is 80 soon. His brother Fidel is 84. Modern Cuba has known no-one else in charge.
Leaders are being urged to embrace the younger generation who will eventually succeed them.