- Title: Santiago awaits Castro's ashes as cortege nears final resting place
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: NEWSPAPER HEADLINE DURING TIME OF BARRACKS ATTACK PHOTO OF FIDEL CASTRO AT THE TIME OF HIS ATTACK ON THE BARRACKS
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 22:27
- Keywords: Santiago Fidel Castro caravan cortege Granma ash
- Location: SANTIAGO, CUBA
- City: SANTIAGO, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Reuters ID: LVA0025B71D8N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The birthplace of Cuba's revolution and the final resting place of Fidel Castro is undergoing a makeover ahead of the arrival of the former president's cortege to the south-eastern city.
Castro's ashes are nearing the end of their 800-km (500-mile) across the Caribbean nation in a journey that retraces the route taken by Fidel from Santiago to the Cuban capital after he defeated U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batistia, but only in reverse.
World leaders and dignitaries are expected to be in Santiago for the internment of Castro's ashes.
"I think that what will happen here tomorrow will be big, everyone is united by this strong feeling of hurt with the loss of the Commander (Fidel Castro) but despite this hurt we are going to continue his example and to fight for all he has taught us and for all of his legacy," said local professor, Maria Cordobes.
Castro died on Friday (November 25) at age 90, a decade after stepping down as president but defiant to the end toward the United States, the world power he tormented from just 90 miles (145 km) away.
The government declared nine days of mourning for the man who built a Communist state, aligned Cuba with the Soviet Union and survived what his government claimed were more than 600 U.S. assassination attempts.
"We want the concept of the revolution that the Commander left us to be clear. The concept of the revolution is going to be in each moment of our lives, since the Granma started this great revolution to today," said local, Jorge Jimenez.
The Cuban revolutionary began in 1953 when a contingent of rebels led by Fidel Castro launched an ill-prepared attack on the city's Moncada Barracks. Six years later victory finally case and Castro proclaimed the Cuban Revolution from Santiago's city hall.
Today the barracks are a popular destination for tourists visiting Cuba.
"I just felt really honoured to be able to come and when I heard that Fidel had passed, who again had been a long-time comrade and ally to the Palestinian people, I felt very honoured to come and be able to pay my respects," said tourist, Caine Alsous.
After the Revolution Castro would go on to build a healthcare system for the poor, he sent doctors around the world but also soldiers to Africa to help Namibia achieve independence and weaken apartheid in South Africa. Critics saw in him a stubborn bully who violated human rights, jailed his critics, banned opposition parties and wrecked Cuba's economy.
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