HAVANA – Cuban President Raul Castro on Monday presided at a ceremony paying tribute to his late brother, former President Fidel Castro, upon the first anniversary of the interment of his ashes in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.
When dawn broke on Monday, Raul Castro, along with top government officials and the head of the Cuban Communist Party paid tribute to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, who died on Nov. 25, 2016, at age 90 and has been remembered a year later with multiple ceremonies and events around the Caribbean island.
During Monday’s ceremony, broadcast live by state-run television, a floral offering was placed in the name of the Cuban people before the gray granite monolith marking Fidel Castro’s grave.
Raul Castro and the other officials deposited flowers before the tomb of his older brother, who governed the island from 1959-2006, when he delegated power to his brother due to a serious intestinal ailment.
Also honored at the ceremony were the “Apostle of Cuba,” Jose Marti (1853-1895); Carlos Manuel de Cespedes (1819-1874), who is considered to be the “Father of the Homeland” and the initiator of the wars for independence; and Mariana Grajales (1815-1893), the mother of Generals Antonio and Jose Maceo and dubbed the “Mother of the Cubans,” whose mausoleums are near Fidel Castro’s gravesite.
A large number of citizens arrived at the grave immediately after the ceremony after first congregating on Santiago de Cuba’s Plaza de la Revolucion, the last place to welcome Castro’s ashes before interment and after they had been taken on a tour of several cities on the island so that people could pay homage to the departed leader.
It is forecast that some 250,000 people will march to the Santiago cemetery to pay homage to Castro on Monday, official media reported.
Over the past two weeks, the state-run press has given wide coverage to Castro’s memory and legacy, as well as to the many tributes and other events surrounding the first anniversary of his death.