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Castro’s Last Wishes: No Monuments or Statues in my Name | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cubans chant ‘I am Fidel!’ as the motorcade carrying the late ruler’s ashes leaves Cespedes Park in Santiago Cuba on Friday (AP)

Santiago de Cuba – Cuba laid the ashes of Fidel Castro at Santiago de Cuba’s Santa Ifigenia cemetery in a private ceremony that was closed to the general public, concluding with that the country’s nine days of mourning. Thousands of people lined on the sides of the road leading to the cemetery chanting: “Long Live Fidel!”

Cuban officials at the last minute cancelled plans to broadcast the event live on national and international television and barred foreign media from the service.

Cuban President Raul Castro announced that in honor of his brother’s last wishes, no monument will be erected in the memory of Fidel.

Castro said the national assembly would fulfill the late leader’s dying wish by passing a law to prohibit erecting statues or monuments in Fidel’s name, or naming streets or parks after him.

“The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality,” he told tens of thousands of people at a rally Saturday night.

“His attitude was consistent until the final hours of his life, insisting that once he died, his name and his image would never be used to denominate institutions, plazas, parks, avenues, streets or other public places,” he confirmed.

French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, representing her government at a tribute for Fidel Castro in Cuba, said: “There were no speeches. It was very simple. There were just the ashes that were interred, the family, the government and officials.”

Minister Royal was highly criticized by several French politicians for defending Castro.

The tomb stands to the side of a memorial to the rebel soldiers killed in an attack that Castro led on Santiago’s Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953, and in front of the mausoleum of Cuban national hero Jose Marti.

Ted Piccone, a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and Latin America Initiative in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, said that the memory of Fidel will cast a shadow over Cuba for a long time.