Cuba has marked the 58th anniversary of the communist revolution, the culmination of a five-year revolt led by Fidel Castro against the government of Fulgencio Batista.  

The ceremony was held on Tuesday at Revolution Square in the central city of Ciego de Avila, a year after President Raul Castro called on the youth to take a more active political role in the country.

The holiday is often used to make major announcements, but this time Cubans heard from Castro's second-in-command, who offered few new details while touching on standard themes such as organisation, discipline and economic reform.

Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, the 80-year-old vice president, said at the ceremony - which was not attended by Fidel Castro who has fully retired from politics - that the country would move forward with economic reforms, but asked for patience.

"We must make a definitive break with the mentality of inertia, it drives us to sit down and wait looking up," Machado Ventura said, imploring the crowd and his countrymen to work harder and more efficiently.

He also said that the country was not abandoning socialism even as it embraced limited free-market reforms.

Al Jazeera's Craig Mauro, reporting from Havana, said calls had been growing for more power to be given to the country's youth.

Raul Castro has allowed more citizens to run small independent businesses and hire employees, and pledged to groom new political leaders to take over from the ageing revolutionary generation.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies