Cuban President Raul Castro has pledged to uphold his brother Fidel’s socialist revolution at a massive rally in honour of the communist icon before his burial.
Tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters recited the oath with Raul Castro at the Revolution Plaza of Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of Fidel’s guerrilla struggle.
“He 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,” he said.
“In front of Fidel’s remains … we swear to defend the fatherland and socialism,” said Castro, who took over when his brother fell ill in 2006.
“Fidel! Fidel! Until victory, always!” Castro said at the evening rally attended by a few foreign leaders, including Cuba’s leftist Latin American allies from Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, but also figures such as Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.
Capping a nine-day mourning period, Castro’s ashes will be interred today during a “simple” ceremony at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, near the mausoleum of 19th-century independence hero Jose Marti, his brother said.
But Castro said that before dying at the age of 90 on November 25, his brother requested that no monuments or statues be erected in his honour, and that no streets or buildings be named after him.
Legislation will be presented at the next national assembly, which meets later in December, to fulfill his dying wish, Castro said.
“The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality,” Raul Castro said.