“Fidel is not dead”: Havana said goodbye to his “Comandante”

milliers-cubains-tous-ages-rassemblesThe leaders of the Latin American left have joined together to call to perpetuate the legacy of Fidel Castro, before hundreds of thousands of Cubans mobilized at a major posthumous ceremony in honor of the “Comandante” in Havana.

Facing the memorial of independence hero Jose Marti located in Revolution Square, the crowd said farewell to the “Comandante” before the ashes left the capital on Wednesday to cross the island to Santiago de Cuba.

“Where is Fidel? Where is Fidel? “Exclaimed the rostrum Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. “Here!” Replied the crowd with one voice, summing up the tone of the evening devoted to point out that the death of the “Comandante” is only a “natural death” as many have repeated Cuban state media in recent days.

“He did not hand it stays there, unbeaten among us, absolved, completely absolved by history,” exclaimed the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a close ally of Cuba, referring to the famous “History will absolve me “launched by Fidel Castro at his trial in 1953 after the assault of the Moncada barracks, which coined the beginning of his legend.

“Today more united than ever, the people of Latin America (…) We will continue to fight for these ideas, we make the oath!”, Pledged his side Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.

“They tried to kill the 1000 ways, but more than 10 American presidents did not succeed (…) Fidel and Cuba have changed the world” in the twentieth century, then noted another unconditional, the Bolivian Evo Morales.

After four hours long speeches socialist fervor of loans, President Raul Castro, who succeeded his brother Fidel in 2006, listed the most significant speech of his elder commented on this emblematic plaza.

Then concluded: “Dear Fidel (…) here, we commemorate our victory, we say to you along with our dedicated people, combative and heroic: Until victory, always!” ( “Hasta la victoria, siempre ! “), repeating the refrain well-known Cuban revolutionaries.

The evening of tributes to the very political accents was largely shunned by Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, however craftsman of a historic rapprochement since late 2014 between the two former enemies of the Cold War.

Similarly, presidents of friendly countries, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, preferred to be represented by high-ranking emissaries.

However, the leaders of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe and South Africa Jacob Zuma, as the former King of Spain Juan Carlos, were present to bid farewell to this key figure in the Cold War.

A symbol

“Fidel reached out Cuba from the dictatorship to transform it into international symbol of resistance,” said for his part the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the only European leader to have made the trip.

“Long live the Revolution!”, “Fidel, Fidel!” Chanted between speeches thousands of Cubans of all ages. Students, civil servants, police and military in uniform were mobilized for the occasion, filling the 72,000 m2 of the site but also the surrounding streets, full of people.

Olivia Martinez, retired from 71 years police also wore the uniform. “This human tide shows that my commander was much loved by all the people and no one can defeat this revolution,” she assured.

Came with her mother, Sandra Heredia, 11, was once the right to bed very late, “I am proud to live this moment in such a historic place where Fidel spoke many times to the people”, was -it pleased.

During the day, tens of thousands of Cubans, often in tears, marched face portraits of Fidel, presentations on the same site since Monday.

Everywhere on the island, they have also been numerous Tuesday to sign the registers for “swear” continue the socialist legacy that has shaped for half a century the fate of the country – many have said that they were strongly encouraged do not miss the call.

Criticized by the UN and by his opponents for violations of human rights, however, Fidel Castro remains revered by many Cubans, who suffered a shock at the news of his death on Friday in 90 years.

After the farewell given by Havana, the urn containing the ashes of the Lider Maximo cross from Wednesday to Saturday the thousands of kilometers between La Havana Santiago de Cuba, repeating in reverse the path taken by the young Fidel in his “caravan freedom “at the launch of his revolution in 1959.

On Sunday, Fidel Castro remains will be buried in the cemetery of Santa Ifigenia in Santiago, already home to the tomb of Jose Marti, sealing the end of the declared national mourning for nine days, during which the dissidents have preferred to be discreet, including fear of reprisal.

But then they plan to resume their struggle against the Castro regime, now embodied by the younger brother of Fidel, Raul, 85.

The Stopru