HAVANA – The remains of two major Cuban independence heroes were buried on Tuesday next to the mausoleums of Jose Marti and Fidel Castro at a cemetery in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
The military ceremony to inter the remains of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, who on Oct. 10, 1868, launched the so-called Ten Years War against Spain that eventually led to Cuba’s independence in 1902, and Mariana Grajales, an icon in the struggle for women’s rights and Cuban independence, also served to mark the 149th anniversary of the start of the independence struggle on the Caribbean island.
De Cespedes (1819-1874) and Grajales (1815-1893) are known as the father and mother, respectively, of the Cuban nation.
The bell that De Cespedes rang at his La Demajagua sugar mill on the day of his uprising was sounded during the ceremony, which was attended by top government officials, including President Raul Castro. For the occasion, that bell had been brought from its normal place of honor in Bayamo, a city in the neighboring province of Granma.
Castro personally transported Cespedes’ urn to his tomb, while the secretary-general of the Federation of Cuban Women, Teresa Amarelle, carried a wooden box with Grajales’ remains.
The Havana city historian, Eusebio Leal, who delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony, said the main figures in the history of Cuban independence, De Cespedes, Marti and Castro, had now been laid to rest together, concluding that the latter – through his Communist revolution – had continued the wishes of the nation’s founding fathers.
The inauguration of the permanent honor guard responsible for safeguarding the burial places followed the interment ceremony.