Fidel Castro's ashes interred in private ceremony

2016-12-04 18:52

Santiago - Fidel Castro's ashes were interred in a private ceremony on Sunday, ending nine days of mourning for the man who ruled Cuba for nearly half a century.

The military caravan bearing his remains in a flag-draped cedar coffin left the Plaza of the Revolution in the eastern city of Santiago early on Sunday, returning empty two hours later. Thousands of people lined the route to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, waving Cuban flags and shouting "Long live Fidel!"

The ceremony appeared to last about 90 minutes and took place out of the public eye after Cuban officials made a last-minute cancellation of plans to broadcast the events live on national and international television. International media were also barred from the ceremony.

Martial music could be heard outside the cemetery.

The decision to hold a private ceremony came the morning after Castro's brother, President Raul Castro, announced that Cuba would prohibit the naming of streets and monuments after the former leader and bar the construction of statues of the former leader and revolutionary icon, in keeping with his desire to avoid a cult of personality.

He said that Cuba's National Assembly would vote in its next session on the law fulfilling the wishes of his brother, who died last week at 90. The legislature generally holds a meeting in December and under Cuba's single-party system, parliament unanimously or near-unanimously approves every government proposal.

Mourning for Castro has been fervent and intense across the country since his death, particularly in rural eastern Cuba, where huge crowds have been shouting Castro's name and lining the roads to salute the funeral procession carrying his ashes.

Read more on:    fidel castro  |  raul castro  |  cuba

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