Cuba to observe nine days of mourning for Fidel Castro
Cuba will observe nine days of mourning for Fidel Castro, including a threeday journey in which his ashes will travel along the route taken by the rebel army he led on a victorious march across the island in 1959.
The plans were announced yesterday by the Organizing Committee of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, State and Government, which is one of the most powerful organs of the single-party state put in place by Castro.
It said Cubans can show their respect for Castro tomorrow at the Havana memorial to national hero Jose Marti, a poet and leader of Cuba’s 19th century fight for independence from Spain. Mourners will be able to pay their respects from 9am until 10pm. People can also pay their last respects at the memorial in the Plaza of the Revolution as well as specially designated sites across the country tomorrow and Tuesday.
Cubans will be able to “pay homage and sign the solemn oath of fulfilling the concept of revolution ... as an expression of the will to continue Castro’s ideas and our socialism“, the committee said.
Officials said Castro will be cremated, but offered no details about where or when.
The committee said Cubans will be called to a demonstration at 7pm on Tuesday in the Plaza of the Revolution, which was the site of a series of huge rallies led by Castro as he consolidated power in the years after the revolution.
On Wednesday, Castro’s ashes will begin travelling eastward across Cuba following in reverse the route taken by his rebels from the Sierra Maestra mountains to the capital, Havana. The cortege will take three days.
On 3 December at 7pm, a mass commemoration will be held at the Antonio Maceo Plaza in central Santiago de Cuba, the largest city in the east.
Castro’s ashes are to be interred at 7am the following day at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where Marti is also buried.
Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule of Cuba, died at age 90 late on Friday.