Cuba Begins its Emotional Farewell to Fidel Castro (Photo Feature)

November 28, 2016 | Print Print |

By Guillermo Nova (dpa)

Waiting in line to say goodbye to Fidel Castro.

Waiting in line to say goodbye to Fidel Castro.

Photos by Elio Delgado Valdes

HAVANA TIMES – A 21-cannon military salutes launched from the Cabaña Fortress overlooking Havana Bay on Monday marked the beginning of a nationwide tribute to former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Throughout the day, thousands of people marched by the Jose Marti Memorial of the emblematic Revolution Square, before a giant black and white image of Fidel Castro dressed as a guerrilla, guarded by an honor guard of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR).

Many expected to see the urn with the ashes to be able to give the last farewell, but the cremated remains of the Commander in Chief were not there but in a room of the FAR.

Stored in a wooden urn and surrounded by white flowers, the ashes were honored today by Cuban President Raul Castro, state television showed.

Fidel Castro’s body was cremated on Saturday by his express wishes before his death, as Raul Castro said when he broke the news at midnight on Friday.

The sepulchral silence was the tonic among the thousands of people waiting their turn under an intense sun. To speed up the tribute, the organizers installed three identical points, formed by white flowers, the image of Fidel Castro and his military decorations.

“He was always there in the face of any situation facing the country. I can’t imagine life without him, “said Carlos, a worker at a state tourism company while lining up with other co-workers.

Honor Guard for Fidel Castro.

Honor Guard for Fidel Castro.

Eulalia, retired and a resident in Havana, did not want to miss the moment as her grandson pushed her wheelchair around the Revolution Square.

“It was he who gave us dignity as a people, he was the one who made us feel proud to be Cubans. What were we before 1959?” she asked.

Children in school uniforms also waited their turn. In Havana the school and work calendar is maintained, but the centers are authorized to interrupt the day in order to attend the place of the homage.

There were also students from other countries with their medical uniforms. “Thanks to Fidel I am a university student and when I graduate from medicine I want to give back to my people everything I have learned here thanks to him,” said a young student from the Congo who is studying in Cuba.

In 1998, Fidel Castro created the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), which has given free scholarships to thousands of poor young people in developing countries.

The tributes will continue on Tuesday throughout the country, where books have been installed in each neighborhood signing adhesion to the principles of the Cuban Revolution as defined by Fidel.

In the afternoon on Tuesday a gathering is scheduled with the presence of international leaders and personalities.

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Cuba’s political allies of the countries that form the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) will be the main protagonists at the funeral rites.

Nicolas Maduro, from Venezuela; Daniel Ortega, from Nicaragua; The Bolivian Evo Morales and the Ecuadorian Rafael Correa have already confirmed their attendance.

Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, will also attend the funeral on Sunday, December 4th, highlighting the good historical relations between the two countries.

On Wednesday Fidel’s ashes will begin a 600+ mile journey by land from Havana to Santiago de Cuba passing through 13 of the 15 Cuban provinces. The trip will recall the “Freedom Caravan” carried out by Castro in January of 1959 after the victory over the dictator Fulgencio Batista, only in the reverse direction.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery


What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    I hope that people will record the executions carried out at the Cabana Fortress and give thought to the victims of Fidel Castro executed there.
    On January 12th, 1959, Fidel Castro appointed Dr. Ernesto Guevara de Serna Lynch to carry out “revolutionary justice” in Havana. On the 21st of January he said:

    “Besides the number of henchmen we are going to execute will not be more than 400.”

    Guevara said:

    “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is revolution, and a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”

    Guevara sent 367 people for execution at La Cabana. Give them a thought!

    • Bodhisattva

      You are right – common people of Cuba, majority of common people of Latin America ‘recorded’ the fact that few hundreds of oppressors, scums & parasites were put to death by the Cuban Revolutionary leaders. That’s why Cuba is standing tall against the Neo World Order Emperor (USA Zionist elites-plutocrats) with its prestige enhanced world wide.

      FIDEL and CHE will continue to shine in the history of mankind FOR EVER as the ultimate symbol of RESISTANCE to satanist evil forces – symbol of HOPE for poor commoners i.e. 90% of population – symbol of PATRIOTISM for all societies – symbol of INTERNATIONALISM across the world !

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        By regurgitating so much Marxist/Leninist blurb, you so accurately reflect Fidel Castro’s own views and contempt of his fellow Cubans whom he described as:
        “criminals, lumpens, anti-social elements, loafers and parasites.”
        and:
        “scum”
        As recently as the Communist Party of Cuba Congress on February 24th, 2013, he said:
        “The great battle to be imposed is the need for an energetic struggle without respite against the bad habits and errors being committed daily by many citizens including party members in the most diverse spheres.”

        • CErmle

          Why don’t you stop “regurgitating” so much CIA propaganda.

    • CErmle

      Are you working for the CIA? You twist the truth to suit your own interests. The People of Cuba are showing you their massive support for their Liberator, and saying Thank You Fidel!

  • Romy Murphy

    I HOPE CUBAN PEOPLE MADE THE BIGGEST MONUMENT IN HONOR TO THE THEIR PRSIDENT OF CUBA. A SO LOVED LEADER LIKE NO OTHER IN THE WORLD

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Romy, you forget the other dictators like Fidel Castro for example:
      Stalin
      Mao
      Pinochet
      Franco
      Hitler
      Pol Pot
      Mussolini
      Bashar al-Asad
      Saddam Hussein
      Idi Amin
      Ghadafi
      Kim Jung Un
      Raul Castro
      Unfortunately for humanity, such dictators are all too common. Yes, in pursuit of the Cult of Personality there will no doubt be a substantial memorial for Fidel Castro – but when the people eventually obtain freedom the statues like those of Lenin. Saddam, Hitler and Stalin will come tumbling down.

    • Informed Consent

      jejejej, Si…Una escultura inmenso de una balsa!

  • Chuck1938

    I know the names of many who were executed and for what in Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. Can you or someone else provide some info on who were these 367 people? Thanks

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Sadly Chuck I cannot. Most would have been residents of Havana as separate executions were held elsewhere – by Raul in Santiago for example.

  • Moses Patterson

    ….meanwhile, in Little Havana, the dancing in the streets continues.

    • Dan

      Y que ? Do you know how many of your fellow Americans would celebrate if Obama died, because they don’t like having a black president ? Don’t say its not true. And those are the very people on your side of the barricade re the Cuba issue.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        There you go again Dan reflecting US myopia. Opponents of dictatorship are to be found world wide, not just in the US. I cannot however deny the similarity of personality traits between, Fidel Castro, Vladamir Putin and your own Donald Trump (supported by 60 million Americans).

        • Moses Patterson

          Uuuff!! Donald Trump? I keep forgetting about him. Que pena!

    • CErmle

      You mean the Trumpettes? They even want to lock up Hillary. Sheesh!

  • Dan

    When I heard the news that Fidel had died, I spent the entire afternoon switching from channel to channel to watch the coverage. I am American, so I have the privilege of getting my information from the vaunted “Free Press”. The “Marketplace of Ideas”. Supposedly,one of the most distinguishable differences between our admirable system and the “closed and tightly controlled” Cuban-Communist systems, is access to information. Or more accurately, access to the truth. But in this marketplace the inescapable conclusion to any objective observer is that there is only one thing for sale. The stream of pundits, Cuban Americans, Congressmen and Senators, were unanimous in their characterization of Fidel ; tyrant, dictator, terrorist, thief, liar, and above all, “bloodthirsty murderer”. To the last one, everyone interviewed agreed with this characterization.Really, the only question for American T.V. viewers, was to sort out just how many, assumably innocent people Fidel had murdered. It was a veritable auction. I heard thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands. The respective newscasters never, not once, challenged or questioned any of these figures . Who were these these tens or hundreds of thousand victims ? When and why were they murdered ? I know about 580 Batista officials, most charged with murder and or torture of government opponents were tried and executed in 59-60. I know supposedly some 200 individuals were executed in the Limpieza de la Escambrey. I know of a handful of other executions of opponents or perceived opponents like William Morgan. But altogether, the total does not even reach 1000. Moreover, when was the last political execution ? Not this century. Not the 90’s, not even the 80’s. Was it the 70’s ? I am a common schmuck. I am not a journalist, not a pundit, not a professor. Yet I know, that since January 1, 2016, 72 political, environmental and labor activists have been murdered in Capitalist, “Democratic”, staunch US friend and ally, Colombia. Likewise, dozens of activists have been murdered so far this year in Hillary Clinton’s Honduras. We are not talking the 1960’s. We are talking about this very week. Put this together will the REAL 100’s of thousands of REAL victims in the rest of Latin America – from Chile to Brazil, to the D.R, to Paraguay, to Argentina, to Guatemala… to every single corner of America’s Capitalist backyard, excluding Costa Rica. And yet, ask any American’s anywhere, and they will tell you without hesitation, that Fidel was the bloodiest dictator in the hemisphere, and probably, that he was the only one.
    Will anybody deny the above ? Will anybody explain why and how our free press delivers such a warped picture of history ? To be fair, I did, in the 6 hours of news watching, see one, extremely feeble manifestation of objectivity by a news anchor. Rubio or Ros Lehntin was being interviewed I think, and was referring to the jubilant death-celebrators on Calle 8. They showed a clip of a young girl in Havana crying about Fidel’s death. The news anchor asked the guest if it wasn’t true that some people in Cuba might be mourning Fidel’s death. The answer was, “Only in public, because they are scared not to, but at home, in privacy, everybody was celebrating”. The anchor said nothing. Thank God, we are not fed propaganda liker those poor Cubans are !

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      You will be pleased to know Dan that even I will not argue about an American’s view about their own country – to which they no doubt have contributed.

  • Dan

    Many Trumpettes call Obama a tyrant and a Communist to boot. Many of the Calle 8 people voted for Trump.

  • John Q

    I am an African America and we remember Fidel the way Black South Africans remember him. Fidel was and remains a hero of not only the Cuban people but all people of the world who have and in the future will struggle for their dignity and a better future for their children. Role model and brother in the long hard struggle. Thank you Fidel for dealing with so much when you could have simply sold out and lived the rich life in Miami and we will always say your name with admiration and respect and always be a friend to Cuba.

    • Moses Patterson

      Not all African-Americans. Only those that are ignorant of the institutionalized racism fomented by the Castro regime. Castro was a tyrant and and his economic policies failed the Cuban people. Guess which segment of the Cuban population was hardest hit by Castro’s policies?

      • CErmle

        What are you talking about? The African community throughout the world honors the leader of the revolution, with joy and appreciation. Wake up my friend.

  • Chuck1938

    What most writers and posters cleverly avoid to include in their emotional reports about thousands of people who went in front of firing squads in Cuba, is to include their names, location and the reasons that led to such grave decision. Col Cornelio Rojas, Sosa Blanco, Aguero, Sijito, Nelson are a sample of who they were. Other deserving similar fate as Carratala, Chaviano del Rio, Piedra Negueruela, Orlando Bosch, Ventura Novo and hundreds of others, save their necks by fleeing to Miami.

    No writer ever explained that most of those were members of the SIM or Military Intelligence Service, BRAC or Buro Against Communist Activities, Tigres de Mansferrer or Mansferrer Tigers, Chivatos and others, who beat-up, tortured, ripped-out finger nails, introduced hot instruments into vaginas or plugged out eyes, murdered and left the mutilated body of mostly youths by the side of the roads to rot.

    In Guantanamo there was approximately 25 members of SIM and many Chivatos. Only one member of the SIM escaped the Firing Squad because he was able to hide for 11 years in a underground under his mother’s bedroom and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

    The famous 75 that were shot dead shortly after the triumph of the Revolution in Santiago de Cuba, were from these organizations. Many more that had similar fate, came out of counterrevolutionary groups that were created by the CIA and other US agencies.

    Regretfully is the case of three black men who attempted to hijack a ferry in Havana in the year 2011, following a rash of airline hijacks, they were severely punished in an extreme exemplary trial, most Cubans disagreed with what most Cubans believes, the punishment did not fit the crime.

  • CErmle

    Mandela was an admirer of Fidel Castro. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Havana is a serious presence.

  • Moses Patterson

    Personally, I would agree.