- Title: Mourners in Havana sign condolence book for revolutionary leader Fidel Castro
- Date: 28th November 2016
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (NOVEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WALKING PAST BUILDING WITH LARGE IMAGE OF FIDEL CASTRO WEARING FATIGUES AND CARRYING BACKPACK PLAZA DE LA REVOLUCION WITH PEOPLE ON LINE IN FOREGROUND AND JOSE MARTI MONUMENT IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING INTO BUILDING TO SIGN CONDOLENCE BOOK WOMAN SIGNING CONDOLENCE BOOK SIGNATURE IN BOOK VARIOUS OF CHILD SIGNING CONDOLENCE BOOK VARIOUS OF ANOTHER WOMAN SIGNING CONDOLENCE BOOK (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SABINA ZALABARRIA, CUBAN WOMAN, SAYING: "The difficulties are what you would expect: the crowd of people, because the truth is that everyone wants to go but, honestly, everyone has made the effort to come at least to bid our Comandante good-bye." VIEW FROM SIDEWALK OF CROWD OUTSIDE ON LINE WITH CUBAN FLAG AT HALF-MAST AND JOSE MARTI STATUE IN BACKGROUND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ON LINE ON SIDEWALK WITH MONUMENT TO JOSE MARTI IN BACKGROUND BUILDING WITH IMAGE OF CHE GUEVARA VIEW OF PEOPLE ON LINE AT TOP OF STAIRS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ON LINE AT PLAZA DE LA REVOLUCION WITH JOSE MARTI MONUMENT IN BACKGROUND PEOPLE ON LINE, SOME HOLDING UMBRELLAS, WAITING TO GO UP RAMP ALONG STAIRS CROWD GOING UP RAMP WITH CUBAN FLAG AT HALF-STAFF AND JOSE MARTI STATUE IN BACKGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RAMON PAREDES, CUBAN MAN, SAYING: "I am paying homage to my leader, Fidel Castro, upon his death. I am honouring him because everything I am; I owe to him." BUILDING WITH IMAGE OF YOUNG FIDEL CASTRO IN FATIGUES AND CARRYING BACKPACK FACES OF CROWD AS THEY WALK ON LINE OUTSIDE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING THROUGH BARRICADES TO ENTER BUILDING VIEW FROM BACK OF CROWD AT FOOT OF HILL WITH PEOPLE ON LINE CROSSING STREET AND UP HILL LINE AT REVOLUTION SQUARE WITH STATUE OF JOSE MARTI AND PALM TREES
- Embargoed: 13th December 2016 18:40
- Keywords: Fidel Castro death condolence book tribute memorial Revolution Square
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015AD1CUF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tens of thousands of Cubans paid final respects on Monday (November 28) to Fidel Castro, who led a leftist revolution, ruled for half a century and resisted the United States throughout the Cold War.
Castro died on Friday at the age of 90, a decade after stepping down due to poor health and ceding power to his brother Raul Castro.
The government invited people to the square for a two-day commemoration that started with cannon blasts heard throughout much of the capital.
Some arrived as early as 4 a.m. to be at the head of one of three lines of mourners entering a square that has been central to Cuba's recent history, and where Castro gave many of his rousing, lengthy speeches.
"The difficulties are what you would expect: the crowd of people, because the truth is that everyone wants to go but, honestly, everyone has made the effort to come at least to bid our Comandante good-bye," said Sabina Zalabarria.
Each of the lines of people paraded by a photo of a young Castro dressed in military fatigues and gazing into the distance with a rifle and pack slung over his back.
As they walked in, many signed the condolence book which had been set up at the top of the stairs.
While many Cubans report pressure to attend the government's many staged events and Castro was hated by millions who fled the country after the revolution, he was also widely loved by loyalists, which coined the term 'Fidelista.'
"I am paying homage to my leader, Fidel Castro, upon his death. I am honouring him because everything I am; I owe to him," said Ramon Paredes.
Castro was admired by leftists and people of the developing world who saw him as a revolutionary champion of the poor, while others viewed him as a dictator who oppressed Cubans and ruined the economy through socialism.
Political opponents stayed away or kept quiet, allowing admirers to say goodbye to a man who elevated the island to the world stage during the Cold War by forging a communist-run state just 90 miles (145 km.) from Florida and then resisting Washington's long efforts to force change.
Castro was cremated on Saturday and the government has declared a nine-day period of mourning. His ashes will be carried in a cortege to a final resting place in Santiago de Cuba, the city in eastern Cuba where he launched the revolution.
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