Thou­sands bid Cas­tro farewell

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - From Cae­sar Zvayi in HA­VANA, Cuba

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

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