BBC reported hundreds of thousands came to bid farewell to Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba
The act in tribute to Comandante Fidel in Santiago de Cuba began at 7:00pm this Saturday, December 3, with the national anthem.
Various representatives of the Cuban people spoke during the mass act in the city’s Plaza de la Revolución Antonio Maceo, with President Raúl offering the final, central remarks.
The first to speak was Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, secretary general of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC), who expressed the deep pain of Cuban workers on hearing the news of the death of the leader of the Cuban Revolution. “Fidel unconditionally defended revolutionary ideas and principles of social justice,” he noted.
Guilarte de Nacimiento emphasized that the Revolution fulfilled the objectives set out in Fidel’s famous defense, known as “History will absolve me” and that with the triumph of January 1, 1959, the working class became a protagonist in the construction of the new social project. “Fidel always encouraged consultation with the labor movement regarding the most important tasks of the Revolution,” he added.
He concluded that thanks to Fidel, Cuba is a dignified, independent, anti-imperialist and solidary country, and that he would live on in the hearts of all Cuban workers.
Rafael Ramón Santiesteban Pozo, president of the Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), noted that Fidel has marked the history of Latin America and the world. He added that the Comandante en Jefe combined word and action like no one else, and that those principles are defended at all costs.
He stressed that since the very beginning, the Cuban Revolution assumed Martí’s legacy of working for the poor of the earth. He recalled that Cuban campesinos also supported the insurrection forces before the January 1959 triumph. Santiesteban recalled the transformations promoted by Fidel to contribute to the development of agriculture on the island.
He concluded that Fidel’s work will always be a beacon and guide for Cuban campesinos, noting “He will always be present in the effort and sacrifice of every campesino,” and reaffirming the commitment of all campesinos to continue to build a sovereign, independent, socialist and prosperous nation.
Major General José Antonio Carrillo Gómez, president of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, reported that the news of Fidel’s death moved everyone, as it was the reaction to the physical loss of the man who did the most for his country, who always provided exemplary courage and who knew how to interpret the ideas of Bolívar and Martí and translate them into the Revolution.
The Association of Combatants feels the loss of the Comandante en Jefe, undefeated in all battles of the Cuban people, Carrillo Gómez stated. He assured that they will never give up his legacy and that his teachings are present in every Cuban when we say “I am Fidel.”
“We have the challenge of being worthy of all those who fell for the Homeland,” he stated, highlighting that the best way to pay tribute to Fidel is to maintain unity at any cost.
Carlos Rafael Miranda, a member of the Party Central Committee and National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), noted that Fidel is Cuba because Fidel is the people who continue to love him. He added that Fidel is present in the work of builders, doctors, intellectuals and teachers, and that he is present “in the spirit of solidarity that he instilled in us.”
The National Secretary of the Federation of Cuban Women, Teresa Amarelle, stated that “with the conquest of a true emancipation, for the first time, Cuban women were protagonists of our own destiny.”
She stressed, “We Cuban women are the Revolution. Here, in the heroic Santiago, pioneers, campesinas, workers, artists, fighters, homemakers and retirees. “Raúl, you can count on Cuban women. Ever onward to victory!” she concluded.
Miguel Barnet, president of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, stated that this is the saddest occasion in his life as a writer and revolutionary. He noted that Fidel was a tireless fighter for peace. His work made him a paradigm of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and none of his contemporaries can compare.
Fidel was the architect of unity during the revolutionary struggle. No one surpassed him, nor could his most powerful enemy defeat him, he noted. “Fidel articulated in a harmonious way Bolivarian, Martian and Marxist thinking, which gave the Cuban Revolution a singularity in the world.” His mobilizing capacity was unprecedented in Cuban history. In his historic words to intellectuals he designed the Cuban cultural policy with inclusive characteristics. “Cuba without Fidel would not be the Cuba it is today,” Barnet concluded.
The president of the University Students’ Federation, Jennifer Bello, stressed that Cuban students will continue to defend the Revolution. She noted, “Cuba is ours to take care of and defend. Each university classroom will be our Moncada,” adding, “We will be faithful followers of Martí and Maceo. Cuban students today say that Cuba is and will be an eternal Baraguá!”
Sucelys Morfa, secretary of the Young Communists League, noted “Solidarity and internationalism make us grow as human beings.” She added that Fidel was a tireless fighter for the force of truth and ideas. She concluded her speech reaffirming that this generation aspires to be like Fidel. Thank you, dear Comandante, thank you, dear Raúl, for giving us this free and dignified country. Your children and young people have sworn allegiance and commitment. This youth is the fruit of your struggle, she stressed.
Finally, President Raúl Castro, delivered the central remarks in tribute to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, his brother Fidel.
Raúl began by highlighting the demonstrations of affection from the Cuban people all along the route of the funeral procession from Havana to Santiago de Cuba.
Raúl noted that tomorrow his ashes will be buried in a simple ceremony in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, near national hero José Martí and his companions of the Moncada assault, the Sierra Maestra, the clandestine struggle and internationalist struggles. A few steps away are the tombs of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and the legendary Mariana Grajales. There is also the pantheon with the remains of the unforgettable Frank País, assassinated by thugs of the tyranny aged barely 22, he noted.
He stressed that since the news of the death of the Historic Leader of the Cuban Revolution late on the night of November 25, pain and sadness seized the Cuban people, who demonstrated their integrity, patriotic conviction and discipline in organizing mass activities in tribute to Fidel and reaffirming their commitment to his concept of Revolution as stated on May 1, 2000.
On behalf of our People, the Party, the state and government and the family, I reiterate my deepest gratitude for the countless demonstrations of affection for Fidel, his ideas and his work that continue to come from all over the world, Raúl stated.
The Cuban President recalled key moments of the life and work of Fidel, his internationalist efforts, his dedication to the peoples of the world and his friendships with global leaders.
Raúl asserted that Fidel showed us that we could reach the coast on the Granma yacht, that we could resist the enemy, the hunger and the cold; organize a revolutionary army in the Sierra Maestra; that new guerrilla fronts could be organized in the East; that it was possible to defeat with 300 rifles the offensive of more than 10,000 soldiers; that one could repeat the epic feats of Maceo and Gómez with the columns of Che and Camilo towards the west of the island; that it was possible with the support of the whole people to defeat the Batista tyranny.
Fidel taught us that we could defeat in 72 hours or less the invasion at Playa Girón and continue the literacy campaign; that the socialist character of the Revolution could be proclaimed within 90 miles of the empire; that the principles of our sovereignty could be firmly maintained; that we needn’t fear the U.S. during the Missile Crisis; that solidarity could be sent to other sister nations in the struggle against colonial oppression and external aggression and racism; that it was possible to defeat the South African racists, saving the territorial integrity of Angola and ensuring the independence of Namibia.
Fidel demonstrated that Cuba could become a medical power and reduce child mortality to rates comparable to the first world. That we could transform Cuba into a great scientific center, advance in the modern and decisive fields of genetic engineering and biotechnology. That we could resist, survive and develop without renouncing the principles and achievements of socialism in the unipolar and transnational world that emerged after the collapse of the socialist camp of Europe and the USSR.
The permanent teaching of Fidel is that yes, we can; that man is able to overcome the harshest conditions if his will to win does not yield, he makes an evaluation of each situation and does not renounce his noble and just principles.
He showed that it was possible, that we could and can overcome any obstacle or threat in our firm commitment to build socialism in Cuba, to guarantee the independence and sovereignty of the country.
“Hasta la victoria siempre!” Raúl concluded, as the thousands gathered in the square cried, “Fidel is Raúl!”