- Title: Cubans begin arriving to pay homage to Fidel Castro
- Date: 28th November 2016
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (NOVEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ROADS CLOSED AROUND REVOLUTION SQUARE FOR CUBANS PAYING HOMAGE TO FIDEL CASTRO (DARKNESS - EARLY MORNING HOURS) VETERAN OF CUBAN REBEL FORCES, ALEXIS TAMAYO, WITH OTHER CUBANS WAITING FOR THE CEREMONY TO PAY HOMAGE TO CASTRO (DARKNESS - EARLY MORNING HOURS) MEDALS ON TAMAYO'S SHIRT (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VETERAN OF CUBAN REBEL FORCES, ALEXIS TAMAYO, SAYING: "Today signifies a new phase in the development of the world revolution, that he will be an immoral man and will continue living in the present. He is a man who guides us, he was a friend, a teacher for Cuba and for the world." GENERAL VIEW OF NATIONAL LIBRARY WITH ENORMOUS PHOTO OF FIDEL CASTRO SOLDIER RESTING ON BARRICADES GENERAL VIEW OF REVOLUTION SQUARE AT DAWN (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN, MARISELA MAZORRA, SAYING: "I was here very early with all Cubans at a very sad moment but, well, we have the consolation that our commander is here and will be here forever. He is an example for all Cubans in this country." CUBAN FLAG AT HALF MAST AND MONUMENT TO CUBAN INDEPENDENCE HERO, JOSE MARTI, IN REVOLUTION SQUARE BUILDING IN REVOLUTION SQUARE WITH BANNER DRAPED ACROSS READING: "AND THIS IS THE DARKNESS, THE LIGHT WILL RETURN. THIS HAS A NAME - ONLY ONE NAME - FIDEL CASTRO RUZ" ENORMOUS PHOTO OF FIDEL CASTRO HANGING OFF BUILDING VARIOUS OF CUBANS WAITING TO BEGIN TRIBUTE PEOPLE WALKING TOWARD REVOLUTION SQUARE
- Embargoed: 13th December 2016 12:44
- Keywords: Fidel Castro ashes memorial homage Alexis Tamayo
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ACZPL3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Cubans began gathering early on Monday (November 28) in Havana's historic Revolution Square to pay homage to Fidel Castro following the iconic leader's death on Friday (November 25).
Supporters waited patiently in the darkness as the sun rose over Havana.
Alexis Tamayo once served in Castro's rebel army and remembered his commander fondly.
"Today signifies a new phase in the development of the world revolution, that he will be an immoral man and will continue living in the present. He is a man who guides us, he was a friend, a teacher for Cuba and for the world," he said.
Castro was cremated on Saturday (November 26) and a nine-day period of mourning declared. 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.
The government has invited people to Revolution Square for a two-day ceremony starting at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT). The urn holding the late leader's ashes could be displayed.
"I was here very early with all Cubans at a very sad moment but, well, we have the consolation that our commander is here and will be here forever. He is an example for all Cubans in this country," said Cuban, Marisela Mazorra.
Workers rushed to install speakers and light standards in the plaza, where a giant photograph of Castro was draped over the national library, the same space where an enormous poster of Jesus Christ was hung for last year's visit by Pope Francis.
If previous public memorials are any guide, Raul Castro and other government, Communist Party and military leaders will lay flowers near the monument to Cuban national hero Jose Marti, followed by a long line of ordinary Cubans.
The ceremony in the capital will end on Tuesday night when foreign leaders are expected to pay their respects to a man who dedicated his life to fighting capitalist and colonial oppression, aligned his country with the Soviet Union and outlasted nine U.S. presidents who had sought to oust or undermine him.
Some world leaders will be notably absent.
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend the funeral as he was preparing for a major speech. His close ally and speaker of the Russian State Duma or lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, would lead the Russian delegation, it said.
North Korea called for three days of mourning and said it would keep flags at half mast to honor Castro, its state news agency said.
A cortege will carry Castro's remains east across the 750-mile-long (1,200-km long), eyebrow-shaped island to Santiago de Cuba. His cremated ashes will be laid to rest in the birthplace of the revolution when the mourning period ends on Dec. 4.
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