HAVANA – Cuba’s National Assembly at its last session of the year on Tuesday approved a law prohibiting the use of Fidel Castro’s name to designate public sites or using his image for monuments, according to the wishes of the former president, who died on Nov. 25.
At the session, headed by President Raul Castro, the more than 600 Cuban lawmakers unanimously approved the bill adhering to the desire of the late leader “to avoid any appearance of a personality cult,” the state-run Cuban News Agency reported.
The wishes of the Cuban Revolutionary leader, who died in Havana at age 90, were made public by his brother Raul on Dec. 3 during a huge farewell ceremony in Santiago de Cuba, where the next day Fidel’s ashes were interred.
According to the law, “as an expression of the will and the political ethics that always accompanied Fidel, it is prohibited to use his name to name institutions, plazas, parks, avenues, streets and other public places, as well as for any kind of decoration, recognition or honorific title.”
The law also “prevents using his image to erect monuments, busts, statues, commemorative plaques and other similar forms of tribute.”
The prohibition also includes the use of Castro’s image or “allusions of any nature” referring to him “as a brand name or other distinctive sign, domain or design names, for commercial or advertising ends.”
The law will also stipulate limitations on industrial property, including emblems or commercial slogans, or the signs of business establishments, and it will seek to prevent “the use of the figure of the leader of the Revolution on business traffic, or for commercial publicity ends.”
However, the law establishes exceptions involving the study and dissemination of the knowledge and work of the former president.
The secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, said during the reading of the bill that it will also be “valid” for an artist to be inspired by – or to use – the figure of Castro to create an artistic work.
The law also sets forth that no “limitations” will be imposed “on the use, at public events, of the iconography and images accumulated during the revolutionary career of the commander in chief, and his photographs will be maintained at places of work or study, military units and institutions.”
On March 20, 1959, less than three months after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution headed by Castro, the new Council of Ministers approved Law No. 174 prohibiting the creation of any monuments, statues or busts to living national personalities.
A similar prohibition has never been issued for Ernesto “Che” Guevara, whose photographs and image have been used countless times for an endless variety of purposes, including both artistic and commercial ends.