Thousands Honor Fidel in Santiago
by Stephen Lendman
Hundreds of thousands turned out Saturday evening for a public vigil honoring Fidel in Santiago’s Plaza Antonio Maceo.
Raul Castro lead it. Numerous world leaders and dignitaries attended. Later this week, Cuba’s National Assembly will enact legislation, fulfilling Fidel’s wish.
Raul announced it, saying “(t)he leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality and was consistent in that through the last hours of his life, insisting that, once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statutes or other forms of tribute would never be erected.”
Fidel “demonstrated that yes we could, yes we can, yes we will overcome any obstacle, threat, turbulence in our firm resolve to build socialism in Cuba. In front of Fidel’s remains…we swear to defend the fatherland and socialism.”
Crowds chanted “Fidel! Fidel! I am Fidel! Until victory always!” Photos showed children with Fidel written on their foreheads.
Mourning him will continue long after the official nine-day period, ending Sunday with his burial in Santiago’s Ifigenia cemetery beside “Apostle of Cuban Independence” Jose Marti.
During Saturday’s vigil, Cuban civil society leaders paid tribute to Fidel. He “showed us that another world is possible,” said Trade Union Confederation of Cuba head Ulises Guilarte.
“We will continue Fidel’s work with sacrifice and dignity,” added Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution division general Jose Antonio Carrillo.
Cuban Federation of Women member Teresa Amarelle said “Cuba is invincible. Cuban women are the revolution. Thank you Comandante for your example, for your unshakable faith in Cuban women.”
Separately on Cuban television, retired Argentine football star Diego Maradona called Fidel his “second father,” adding “(h)e was the greatest without a doubt. But now his legend must survive in our hearts. Fidel is not dead.”
“I am a Cuban soldier. I would give my heart and all by body for this flag, for Cuba, Fidel and Che.”
From the early 1950s through his November 25, 2016 passing, he was a redoubtable anti-imperial revolutionary giant – the most extraordinary world figure in my lifetime.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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