- Title: Leftist leaders and Cubans gather for Fidel Castro's memorial service
- Date: 4th December 2016
- Summary: SANTIAGO, CUBA (DECEMBER 3, 2016) (REUTERS) ANTONIO MACEO REVOLUTION SQUARE WITH PEOPLE ARRIVING AND WAITING VARIOUS OF CUBANS WAVING FLAGS, AND CHANTING "I AM FIDEL" NEAR PORTRAITS OF FIDEL CASTRO WOMEN WITH CASTRO'S NAME PAINED ON FACE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN CITIZEN, DORAINA LINARES, SAYING: "And today, it's the mission of our nation to come to pay tribute to Fidel, and that's why the youth and the Cuban nation comes together in this historic Revolution Plaza of Santiago de Cuba, that was always hospitable to pay homage to our commander in chief." STUDENT SOLDIERS ARRIVING AT PLAZA PORTRAIT OF LATE REVOLUTIONARY COMMANDER, JUAN ALMEIDA, ON BUILDING OVER PLAZA ATTENDEES AT PLAZA COUPLE EMBRACING WITH CUBAN FLAG IN CROWD (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN CITIZEN, CARINA DOMINGUEZ, SAYING: "We're saying goodbye to the person, but the ideas of Fidel, at least I feel that commitment of the Cuban revolution, as does my family, which we owe all to Fidel. I graduated university thanks to him. I owe my career to him, we owe him everything. We can never forget the legacy he has left us." CROWDS IN PLAZA CHILDREN WITH PHRASE, "I AM FIDEL" PAINTED ON FACE MILITARY VETERANS IN UNIFORMS, WITH MEDALS CLOSE OF MEDAL WITH SYMBOL FOR JULY 26 REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT ANTONIO MACEO REVOLUTIONARY PLAZA
- Embargoed: 19th December 2016 00:00
- Keywords: Fidel Castro Evo Morales Dilma Rousseff Lula
- Location: SANTIAGO, CUBA
- City: SANTIAGO, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Reuters ID: LVA0025BGUDL3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
They've come in the tens of thousands to offer a final goodbye to the leader of the revolution. Throngs of Cubans and luminaries from throughout Latin America showed up in Santiago de Cuba Saturday (December 3) to attend a goodbye rally at the Antonio Maceo Revolution Plaza on the night before Fidel Castro's ashes are to be buried.
The night wraps up a three-day funeral cortege that retraces the steps of the Castros' revolution back in the 1950's. Drawn in a trailer behind an olive green army jeep, Castro's ashes have made a 600-mile (1,000-km.) journey in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans, many chanting "I am Fidel!" have lined up on roadsides and gathered in plazas for a final tribute.
Castro, the fiery revolutionary who survived a half century of U.S. attempts to topple him, died on Nov. 25 at 90 years old.
On Tuesday night, sitting presidents and prime ministers from around the world said goodbye to Castro in a four-hour ceremony in Havana attended by tens if not hundreds of thousands of Cubans. The funeral cortege departed Havana the next day, retracing the route Castro and his bearded rebels took from Santiago to Havana from Jan. 1 to. Jan. 8, 1959, upon toppling U.S.-backed strongman Fulgencio Batista.
Former Brazilian presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff were present in Santiago de Cuba for the ceremony.
Lula was a close ally of Cuba when he was president from 2003 to 2011, as was his successor Rousseff until she was impeached this year.
The leaders from Brazil's Workers' Party (PT) spoke of Castro in glowing terms.
"He struggled, and arrived at victory, and so I believe that his is a magnificent example that was left for all of us, and all the people of Latin America in these difficult times that we are going through in Latin America, and especially in Brazil," Rousseff said.
Also present were current Latin presidents including Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Bolivia's Evo Morales.
"I see here right now much sadness. I know what Fidel represented here in Santiago for the Cuban nation, throughout the whole world, for those who struggle for social equality, for those who struggle for dignity," said Lula.
Cubans showing up for the rally spoke of the indebtedness they feel to Castro.
"And today, it's the mission of our nation to come to pay tribute to Fidel, and that's why the youth and the Cuban nation comes together in this historic Revolution Plaza of Santiago de Cuba, that was always hospitable to pay homage to our commander in chief," said Cuban citizen, Doraina Linares.
"We're saying goodbye to the person, but the ideas of Fidel, at least I feel that commitment of the Cuban revolution, as does my family, which we owe all to Fidel. I graduated university thanks to him. I owe my career to him, we owe him everything. We can never forget the legacy he has left us," Carina Dominguez said.
Castro's critics have kept a low profile during the mourning period, when Castro's supporters have displayed loving admiration, even under the tropical heat. The dissident Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation said as of March, 79 are political prisoners still behind bars, among about 40 held for peaceful political protest.
The government of Fidel's brother, current President Raul Castro, 85, declared nine days of mourning that ends on Sunday with his interment in Santiago, Cuba's second largest city.
On Sunday morning, his ashes will be entombed near the remains of Cuba's independence hero Jose Marti in a cemetery in the eastern city, in what is likely to be a solemn ceremony.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None