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Castro Appears with Soviet Astronaut Gagarin at Revolutionary Rally

July 25, 1961 - Six Soviet-built MIG's flew over Havana today in the first public display of Cuba's new jet strength. The six jets streaked low over the Plaza de la Revolución at the start of a seven-hour exhibition of mass gymnastics, held as part of the celebrations in honor of the 26th of July, the day in 1953 when Fidel Castro launched his revolutionary movement. Maj. Yuri A. Gagarin (left), the Soviet space flier and guest of honor at the celebrations, watched from the reviewing stand as the jets flew over. The spectacle of the diminutive Russian standing next to Castro, who is more than six feet tall, was a source of pride to many of the thousands of Cubans who were present at the demonstration or watched it on TV sets throughout Havana.

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