Cuba | Cubans join dignitaries to bid farewell to Fidel Castro
  • Residents wave as the caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    Residents wave as the caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
  • Cuban President Raul Castro speaks at a tribute to his brother and late former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria
    Cuban President Raul Castro speaks at a tribute to his brother and late former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria
  • Schoolchildren wave Cuban flags as the caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    Schoolchildren wave Cuban flags as the caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
  • Former Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attend a tribute in honor of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria
    Former Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attend a tribute in honor of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria
  • A student kisses a portrait of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro as the caravan carrying Castro's ashes arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    A student kisses a portrait of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro as the caravan carrying Castro's ashes arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
  • Former Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff (L) and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) stand with Cuban President Raul Castro (2nd from R) as they attend a tribute in honor of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016.  Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria
    Former Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff (L) and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) stand with Cuban President Raul Castro (2nd from R) as they attend a tribute in honor of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria
  • A student wears decorated eyeglasses as the caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado
    A student wears decorated eyeglasses as the caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado
  • Students carry a portrait of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro as the caravan carrying Castro's ashes arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016.  Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    Students carry a portrait of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro as the caravan carrying Castro's ashes arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
  • The caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016.  Photo: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado
    The caravan carrying the ashes of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado
  • People hold up images of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro at different stages in his life as they attend a tribute in honor of Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria -
    People hold up images of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro at different stages in his life as they attend a tribute in honor of Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria -
  • Schoolchildren wave Cuban flags as others carry a portrait of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro as the caravan carrying Castro's ashes arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016.  Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    Schoolchildren wave Cuban flags as others carry a portrait of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro as the caravan carrying Castro's ashes arrives in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
  • Ibrahim Aryc of Turkey poses for a photo during a tribute in honor of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo:  Reuters/Edgard Garrido
    Ibrahim Aryc of Turkey poses for a photo during a tribute in honor of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Edgard Garrido
  • People raise a banner and cheer at a tribute to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    People raise a banner and cheer at a tribute to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, December 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Fidel's last march

Tens of thousands of Cubans packed into a public square in Santiago de Cuba on Saturday, joining dignitaries to say goodbye to revolutionary leader

December 4, 2016 9:21 AM (UTC+8)

Tens of thousands of Cubans packed into a public square in Santiago de Cuba on Saturday, joining dignitaries to bid farewell to revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in the city where his ashes will be entombed.

Cuba’s current President Raul Castro was set to commemorate the legacy of a his older brother, a man once feted by Nelson Mandela for helping to end apartheid, but who also helped take the world to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

The thundering comandante, who built a Soviet-sponsored Communist state 90 miles from the United States and survived a half century of US attempts to topple or kill him, died on November 25 at 90 years old.

On Sunday morning, his ashes will be interred near the remains of Cuba’s independence hero Jose Marti in a cemetery in the eastern city, in what is likely to be a solemn ceremony.

Drawn in a trailer behind an olive green army jeep, Castro’s ashes have made a 600-mile journey in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans, many chanting “I am Fidel!,” have lined up on roadsides and gathered in plazas for a final tribute.

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