70K people visited Fidel Castro’s tomb in a month
Havana, Jan 8 (IANS) About 70,000 people have visited Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s tomb in the city of Santiago de Cuba over the past month since his interment.
The large gray stone at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, marked simply “Fidel” under which Castro’s ashes have rested since December 4, is visited by an average of 2,000 Cubans and foreigners daily, EFE news quoted cemetery administrator Yudis Garcia as saying on Saturday.
According to Garcia, she is keeping in her office letters, flags and drawings that visitors — most of them Cuban citizens, but also foreigners from countries as diverse as Guatemala, Mexico, Japan and Italy — have brought to the tomb in tribute to Castro, who died on November 25 at the age of 90.
Also visiting Castro’s tomb have been international dignitaries and personalities, including “a Saudi Arabian prince who promised not to cut his beard until he came to the tomb”, the administrator said.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who attended the intimate interment ceremony for the Cuban leader, wrote in the tomb’s registry book that he had come to the site “with revolutionary fervour… to pay tribute to the Father of all revolutionaries of Our Americas and the world”.
After being honoured for two days here, Castro’s ashes were transported by caravan to Santiago de Cuba along the same — albeit reversed — route that Castro had taken from that city to Havana after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
Castro’s tomb is located beside that of Cuban independence hero Jose Marti.
To avoid the development of a personality cult and in compliance with the leader’s wishes, the Cuban government approved a law prohibiting the use of his name and/or image by institutions on monuments or for commercial ends.