Castro’s ashes set off on last journey

LOYAL FOLLOWER: A woman with ‘Fidel lives’ written on her cheek participates in a massive tribute to Fidel Castro. Picture: REUTERS
LOYAL FOLLOWER: A woman with ‘Fidel lives’
written on her cheek participates in a massive
tribute to Fidel Castro. Picture: REUTERS

The ashes of Fidel Castro began a four-day journey across Cuba yesterday to his final resting place, retracing the late communist leader’s revolution victory tour of 1959.

The “caravan of freedom” left from Havana, and will make symbolic stops along the 950km trek that will end in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba at the weekend.

The trip follows two days of tributes in Havana, where hundreds of thousands were encouraged by the government to view a picture memorial to Castro at the Revolution Square.

The commemorations in the capital ended with a massive rally on Tuesday night at the square attended by Latin American, African and Caribbean leaders, along with the Greek prime minister – the only European leader at the event.

Raul Castro, 85, thanked the countless gestures of solidarity and affection from around the world, ending with the revolutionary battle cry, “Until victory, always!”

But the presidents of Western powers, and even friendly nations including Russia, China and Iran, sent deputies in their place.

The absences underscored the divisive legacy of a leader who defied the United States, backed guerrilla movements in Latin America and deployed his army to conflicts in Africa during the Cold War.

Leftist Latin American leaders vowed to carry the torch of Castro’s revolution as they addressed the rally on Tuesday night and the crowd chanted “I am Fidel!”
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