SANTIAGO, Cuba, Sunday December 4, 2016 – In a private ceremony that was in stark contrast to the public mourning and tributes paid to Fidel Castro since he died on November 25 at the age of 90, the ashes of the late Cuban leader were laid to rest this morning in the city known as the birthplace of the revolution he led.
The ashes were interred next to next to the 85-foot mausoleum of 19th Century Cuban independence hero José Martí in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in the southeastern city of Santiago.
The interment brought an end to nine days of national mourning that saw, according to Castro’s brother and President Raul Castro, “millions” coming out to pay tribute.
— JoseCarlosRodRuiz (@JoseCarlosRguez) December 4, 2016
They said Fidel Castro oppressed his people of Cuba. Pictures of his funeral say otherwise. pic.twitter.com/ArxZm4Jxe9
— Ahmed Mohamed (@asmali77) December 3, 2016
Castro’s crypt is a boulder-like structure with a metal plate bearing one word – Fidel – covering the entrance through which the ashes had been placed.
President Castro said yesterday that, in keeping with his brother’s wishes, there would be no statues of him or places named after him.
He said his late brother, from whom he took over when his health deteriorated in 2008, “strongly opposed any manifestation of cult of personality”.
Opinion on Castro, who ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century, remains divided. Those who mourned his passing say he returned Cuba to the people and praise him for some of his social programmes, such as public health and education; while critics called him a dictator, who led a government that repressed opposition and dissent.