Crowds pay last respects to Fidel Castro in Santiago
December 4th, 2016 at 3:24 pm
Crowds pay last respects to Fidel Castro in Santiago

International desk – Tens of thousands of people have paid respect to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro as his memorial service arranged in the city of Santiago.

Cuban President Raul Castro has led final tributes to his brother at an event, also attended by world leaders, in the city

Raul Castro vowed to honour the socialist principles and goals of the revolution led by Fidel, who died on November 25 aged 90.

He also announced that Cuba would ban naming any monuments or roads after Fidel Castro, at the request of the late leader.

“The leader of the revolution strongly opposed any manifestation of cult of personality,” said Raul Castro.

No statues or busts of Fidel will be erected in Cuba, he said.

The urn with his ashes will be interred on Sunday in Santiago, known as the birthplace as the Cuban Revolution. It arrived on Saturday in Santiago, after a four-day journey from the capital, Havana.

Large crowds shouting ‘Long live Fidel!” and “I am Fidel!” greeted his funeral cortege through the streets of Santiago.

The leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have attended the ceremony, ashes will be interred in Santiago on Sunday

“All of us who love Fidel, who is a father to us. He cleared a path for us and the people will follow him,” Tania Maria Jimenez said.

She was among thousands of Cubans watching as the urn with Castro’s ashes was driven past the historic Moncada barracks in Santiago.

Fidel Castro was part of the small group of revolutionaries who launched an attack on the barracks on July 26, 1953.

The attacked failed, but it was considered the first act of the revolution that would depose the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959.

Opinion on Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century, remains divided.

Supporters say he returned Cuba to the people and praise him for some of his social programmes, such as public health and education.

But critics call him a dictator, who led a government that did not tolerate opposition and dissent.

Raul Castro took over when his brother’s health deteriorated in 2006.

Fidel Castro’s ashes will be placed in the Ifigenia Cemetery, where Cuban independence hero Jose Marti is buried.