Thousands bid Castro farewell
CUBANS came out in their hundreds of thousands on Tuesday night to fill Revolution Square to the brim during a mass rally to bid farewell to the leader of the Cuban revolution, Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz who passed on last Friday night.
So impressive was the turnout that crowds overflowed the capacious square into surrounding streets.
President Mugabe was among the array of progressive leaders from all five continents including Greece’s left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Panama, and South Africa, at the rally that was reminiscent of a United Nations General Assembly grand debate as speaker after speaker chronicled how Castro had touched the lives of people across the developing world during a four-hour long rally.
Russia, Iran and China sent in high level dignitaries who all paid glowing tributes to the commandante.
People who had travelled from all over Cuba trooped to Revolution Square throughout the day, some with placards, others draped in Cuban flags or donning T-shirts emblazoned with Castro’s face or that of his comrade-in-arms, Che Guevara.
The crowd chanted “long live the revolution!”, “I am Fidel” and “Fidel! Fidel!” as the rally got underway after the singing of the national anthem before ending with a moving tribute from Castro’s brother, Raul.
In his address, South African President Jacob Zuma praised Cuba’s record on health care and education and its support for African countries.
“We join the progressive forces of the world in mourning and celebrating the life of a nationalist and anti-imperialist who defended those who are exploited,” said President Zuma.
Earlier on President Mugabe had described Cde Fidel Castro’s death as a loss not only to Cuba but the entire developing world as he chronicled his legacy of revolution and human resource development in Africa and South America.
“Fidel was not just your leader, he was our leader and the leader of all revolutionaries. We followed him, listened to him and tried to emulate him,” President Mugabe said.
President Raul Castro closed the rally, thanking the world for its extraordinary solidarity and pledging to follow his brother´s footsteps.
Cde Castro´s ashes were due to be taken by caravan yesterday to Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, retracing the journey he took during the 1959 revolution, where they are to be placed on Sunday in the Ifigenia Cemetery, where Cuba´s independence hero Jose Marti is buried.
See also Page 9