Cuba to give grand farewell to the great leader

The Myanmar Times - - World -

NIGHT­CLUBS closed, base­ball games were sus­pended and booze was banned as Cuba pre­pared to send off rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader Fidel Cas­tro with days of trib­utes and a cross-coun­try fu­neral pro­ces­sion.

Cubans braced for a se­ries of events to com­mem­o­rate the life of the man who ruled the com­mu­nist is­land for decades, played a ma­jor role in the Cold War and was loved or loathed by many.

Stu­dents left can­dles burn­ing next to a por­trait of the black-bearded com­mu­nist fire­brand dur­ing a vigil at Ha­vana Univer­sity.

A gi­ant photo of Cas­tro was hung out­side the Na­tional Li­brary on Revo­lu­tion Square, where throngs of peo­ple are ex­pected to pay their last re­spects start­ing yes­ter­day.

The por­trait shows a young Fidel car­ry­ing a back­pack and ri­fle dur­ing the Cuban Revo­lu­tion, which brought him to power in 1959.

A ti­tan of the 20th cen­tury who beat the odds to en­dure into the 21st, Cas­tro died late Novem­ber 25 af­ter surviving 11 US ad­min­is­tra­tions and hun­dreds of as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempts. No cause of death was given.

Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro had said that his older brother’s re­mains would be cre­mated on Novem­ber 26. There was no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion of whether that had hap­pened.

Dis­si­dents who en­dured Fidel’s iron-fisted rule kept a low pro­file. The Ladies in White op­po­si­tion group can­celled a reg­u­lar Sun­day protest in what they said was a show of re­spect for those mourn­ing Cas­tro.

The news of Cas­tro’s death drew strong – and po­larised – re­ac­tions across the world.

In Mi­ami, just 370 kilo­me­ters (230 miles) away, crowds of cel­e­brat­ing Cuban-Amer­i­cans danced in the streets to mark the oc­ca­sion.

Some two mil­lion Cubans live in the United States, nearly 70 per­cent of them in Florida, where so many is­landers have fled to since the 1959 revo­lu­tion.

Cas­tro’s ashes will go on a four­day is­land-wide pro­ces­sion start­ing to­mor­row be­fore be­ing buried in the south­east­ern city of San­ti­ago de Cuba on De­cem­ber 4. –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.