A mass memorial rally was held Saturday evening at the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square in eastern Santiago de Cuba, as residents of that and other eastern Cuban provinces, representing the entire Cuban people, paid tribute to Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro.
Foreign personalities, who have traveled here to join the Cuban people in this time of grief and pay tribute to Fidel include Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, former Brazilian presidents Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, former President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández.
The mass rally in Santiago marks the final of a series of public tributes across the country, which began on Monday, November 27th.
General Secretary of the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) Ulises Guillarte de Nacimiento was the first to take the podium. On behalf of Cuban workers, he noted that Fidel Castro promoted and defended the rights of the working class through the adoption of measures and programs to benefit workers.
Guillarte stressed that the participation of the people in decision-making has always being a pillar of the Cuban Revolution.
The President of the Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) Rafael Ramón Santiesteban Pozo spoke on behalf of Cuban farmers and agricultural workers. He praised the profound transformations in the sector carried out along the five decades of Revolution, from the 1st Agrarian Reform in 1959 to the granting of idle land in usufruct to private farmers and agricultural cooperatives, as a way to promote food production on the island.
President of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, General Division José Carrillo López. He said that Cuban war veterans, along with the younger generations of Cuban officials and soldiers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and the entire people will remain loyal to the legacy of Fidel Castro and will defend the Cuban Revolution to their last drop of blood.
National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs), Carlos Rafael Miranda took the podium and spoke on behalf of the members of Cuba’s largest grassroots organization. He said the best tribute that the CDRs could pay to Fidel is to close ranks around the Communist Party to defend our homeland and all the achievements of our people over the past five decades of Revolution.
A representative of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) said Cuban women will be for always grateful to the Revolution and Fidel Castro for all the programs implemented to empower Cuban women and defend their rights. FMC General Secretary Teresa Amarelle said the Cuban Revolution gave Cuban women the opportunity to a dignified life. She added that the Revolution brought about the emancipation of Cuban women, for which they will be forever grateful to Fidel.
She said that President Raúl Castro can always count on Cuban women to continue the legacy of leader Fidel Castro.
President of the Association of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) Miguel Barnet said that Fidel was a brilliant strategist, a man who articulated in the Cuban Revolution the thinking of such renowned world figures as Lenin, Bolivar and Martí.
A representative of the Federation of University Students (FEU) said Cuban students will remain faithful to Fidel and his revolutionary legacy. She said that Fidel symbolizes the strength, energy and enthusiasm that characterize university students and the younger generations of Cubans, who will always be grateful and faithful to their historic leader and his legacy. She said: “Our Universities and schools will be our Moncada, our Granma.”
In his closing remarks, Cuban President Raúl Castro stressed that upon learning of Fidel’s passing, millions of Cubans have paid tribute to their historic leader. He thanked the millions of Cubans, men, women, children, young people and the elderly, who have signed the solemn oath, reaffirming their loyalty to Fidel’s legacy and particularly to his concept of Revolution. The Cuban head of state also thanked the world leaders, who have traveled here to accompany our people in this time of grief, and all those who have sent messages of condolences from around the world.
President Raúl said that Fidel was always against the cult of personality until his dying day. He added that Fidel personally requested that no streets, no institutions be named after him, nor monuments erected in his honor. President Raúl Castro said in the coming days, the National Assembly will meet to pass resolution to make sure Fidel’s wishes are respected.
The Cuban head of state highlighted Fidel’s internationalism, from the key role played by Cuban troops in the liberation of several African countries against foreign intervention to the hundreds of thousand of Cuban doctors and teachers, who have traveled and continue today traveling around the world to save lives and teach people how to read and write.