Castro's ashes return to cradle of revolution

2016-12-03 15:32
(Desmond Boylan, AP)

(Desmond Boylan, AP)

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Santiago de Cuba- The convoy carrying the ashes of Cuba's late communist leader Fidel Castro ends an island-wide journey on Saturday in the cradle of his revolution for a big ceremony before his burial.

The flag-draped cedar urn left Havana on Wednesday, passing roads lined with people chanting "I am Fidel!" and making daily stops on the way to Santiago de Cuba in the eastern end of the country.

President Raul Castro, who took over when his brother fell ill in 2006, will deliver a much-awaited speech during a massive tribute with foreign dignitaries on Saturday evening.

Capping a nine-day mourning period, the remains will be interred during a private ceremony on Sunday at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where 19th century independence hero Jose Marti is buried.

Fidel Castro's death on November 25 at age 90 has fueled discussions about his divisive legacy and the direction that the country may take without the omnipresent leader who ruled for almost half a century.

Tearful supporters have cheered Fidel Castro for the free education and health care he spread in the island, while detractors call him a brutal dictator who imprisoned dissidents and ran the economy to the ground.

The government had already led a huge rally with two dozen foreign presidents in Havana on Tuesday, but Santiago holds a special place in Castro's life.

On July 26 1953, the Castro brothers launched a failed attack on the Moncada military barracks in the city, about 900km east of Havana.

While the rebels were jailed, it put Castro on the map and he would eventually go into exile in Mexico.


Read more on:    fidel castro  |  cuba

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