Long Lines In the Plaza Of The Revolution To Say Goodbye To Fidel Castro
14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 28 November 2016 — The memorial to José Martí in
the Plaza of the Revolution opened its doors on Monday so that Cubans
could say goodbye to former president Fidel Castro, who died on the
25th, and whose ashes have been installed in this emblematic place in
Havana where they will remain for two days. People arriving in groups
from their workplaces, and schools are assigned gathering points near to
Hundreds of people lined up from the early hours waiting for 9:00 in the
morning (14:00 GMT) to render tribute to the Cuban leader in the same
iconic scene where he delivered the greater part of his long harangues.
The authorities asked people to come dressed in red, blue or white,
without caps or hats. Some brought gladioli, others roses.
At the same hour that the tribute commenced there were, simultaneously
in Havana and Santiago de Cuba, 21 gun salutes in homage to the
Commander in Chief of the Revolution, who died at 90 years of age, after
a decade removed from power because of health problems.
In the Plaza of the Revolution three different entry points have been
set up to expedite people’s access, to three tributes, exactly alike, in
none of which the presence of the ashes can be observed with the naked
eye. All these points are presided over by a large photograph of Fidel
Castro, in which he is seen in full body view looking at the horizon and
wearing his iconic olive green uniform.
There are also two wreaths, one from the Communist Party of Cuba and one
on behalf of the Cuban people, as well as an exhibit with the major
awards Fidel Castro received in life.
Flanking these quasi-altars is a bodyguard of members of the Ceremonies
Battalion of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and representatives from the
Council of State, among whom are the Comptroller General of the
Republic, Gladys Bejerana, the Minister of Transport, Adel Yzquierdo,
and the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Homero Acosta.
Currently Cuban President Raul Castro is not present at the memorial,
nor are other family members of the deceased leader such as his wife,
Dalie Soto de Valle, or his sons.
People file past smoothly: there are women throwing kisses, many drying
their tears with handkerchiefs, and some who cannot help sobbing, which
resonates above the whispers and the sounds of cameras, in the solemn
atmosphere that prevails.
“I have come to due to patriotic and revolutionary duty, in hone or our
commander in chief, who died as an undefeated comandante,” said Jesus,
an 85-year-old man who engaged in the clandestine struggle before the
Revolution in Ciego de Avila.
Also reluctant to say goodbye to the comandante were high school
students such as Idolaris, 16, who while waiting in the long ling to
enter the memorial felt “tremendous pain” for having lost a leader of
his magnitude, although “his memory is always present.”
“There is a lot of sadness here. We are all very upset by the death of
our comandante because we all love him from the bottom of our hearts,
without hypocrisy,” Felix Jardines, a 58-year-old lawyer told EFE, while
waiting in line to enter the tribute.
Although Cuba has experienced two days of mourning of the nine decreed
by the government, this event marks the beginning of a week of funeral
rites that will culminate this coming Sunday with the interment of Fidel
Castro’s mortal remains in Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.
The residents of Havana will have until tomorrow to pay tribute to
Castro in this plaza where, at 7:00 PM, there will a massive act of
farewell, attended by leaders and personalities.
Source: Long Lines In the Plaza Of The Revolution To Say Goodbye To
Fidel Castro / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba –