The ashes of late Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro have been laid to rest in the city of Santiago, nine days after his death at the age of 90.
Crowds lined the streets to see the cortege heading to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery for a private ceremony.
On December 3, Fidel Castro’s brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, promised “to defend the fatherland and socialism”.
In a family ceremony, Fidel Castro’s ashes were interred next to those of the 19th Century Cuban independence hero, Jose Marti.
The city of Santiago is known as the birthplace of the Cuban Revolution.
The funeral brings an end to nine days of national mourning across Cuba.
Fidel Castro’s remains arrived in December 3 in Santiago after a four-day journey from the capital, Havana.
He was part of the small group of revolutionaries who launched an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago on July 26, 1953.
The attacked failed, but it was considered the first act of the revolution that would depose the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959.
Opinion on Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century, remains divided.
Raul Castro took over when his brother’s health deteriorated in 2006.
The Cuban president has announced that his government will ban naming any monuments or roads after Fidel Castro, at the request of the late leader who “strongly opposed any manifestation of cult of personality”.
Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90, his brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, has announced in an unexpected late night broadcast on state TV.
Raul Castro said: “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening.”
Fidel Castro was Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution.
He ruled the country as one-party state for almost 50 years before Raul Castro took over in 2008.
Rau Castro’s supporters said he had given Cuba back to the people. But he was also accused of suppressing opposition.
Ashen and grave, the president told the nation that Fidel Castro had died and would be cremated on November 26.
There would now be several days of national mourning in Cuba.
Throughout the Cold War, Fidel Castro was Washington’s bête noire.
An accomplished tactician on the battlefield, Fidel Castro and his small army of guerrillas overthrew the military leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread popular support.
Within two years of taking power, Fidel Castro declared the revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature and allied Cuba firmly to the Soviet Union.
Yet, despite the constant threat of a US invasion as well as the long-standing economic embargo on Cuba, Fidel Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
Despised by his critics as much as he was revered by his followers, Fidel Castro outlasted ten US presidents and defied scores of attempts on his life by the CIA.
In April 2016, Fidel Castro gave a rare speech on the final day of Cuba’s Communist Party congress.
He acknowledged his advanced age but said Cuban communist concepts were still valid and the Cuban people “will be victorious”.
“I’ll soon be 90,” he said, adding that this was “something I’d never imagined”.
“Soon I’ll be like all the others, to all our turn must come,” Fidel Castro said.
Fidel Castro temporarily handed over the power to his brother in 2006 as he was recovering from an acute intestinal ailment.
Raul Castro officially became Cuba’s president in 2008.
It’s a common grumble that politicians’ lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president – who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay. Jose Mujica.
Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.
This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders.
President Jose Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife’s farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo.
The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers.
This austere lifestyle – and the fact that Jose Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000, to charity – has led him to be labeled the poorest president in the world.
“I’ve lived like this most of my life,” Jose Mujica says, sitting on an old chair in his garden, using a cushion favored by Manuela the dog.
“I can live well with what I have.”
His charitable donations – which benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs – mean his salary is roughly in line with the average Uruguayan income of $775 a month.
In 2010, his annual personal wealth declaration – mandatory for officials in Uruguay – was $1,800, the value of his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.
This year, Jose Mujica added half of his wife’s assets – land, tractors and a house – reaching $215,000.
That’s still only about two-thirds of Vice-President Danilo Astori’s declared wealth, and a third of the figure declared by Jose Mujica’s predecessor as president, Tabare Vasquez.
Elected in 2009, Jose Mujica spent the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Uruguayan guerrilla Tupamaros, a leftist armed group inspired by the Cuban revolution.
He was shot six times and spent 14 years in jail. Most of his detention was spent in harsh conditions and isolation, until he was freed in 1985 when Uruguay returned to democracy.
Those years in jail, Jose Mujica says, helped shape his outlook on life.
President Jose Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife’s farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo
“I’m called <<the poorest president>>, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more,” he says.
“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself,” Jose Mujica says.
“I may seem a mad and eccentric old man. But this is a free choice.”
The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.
“But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?
“Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet.”
Jose Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”.
But however large the gulf between the vegetarian Jose Mujica and these other leaders, he is no more immune than they are to the ups and downs of political life.
“Many sympathize with President Mujica because of how he lives. But this does not stop him for being criticized for how the government is doing,” says Ignacio Zuasnabar, a Uruguayan pollster.
The Uruguayan opposition says the country’s recent economic prosperity has not resulted in better public services in health and education, and for the first time since Jose Mujica’s election in 2009 his popularity has fallen below 50%.
This year Jose Mujica has also been under fire because of two controversial moves. Uruguay’s Congress recently passed a bill which legalized abortions for pregnancies up to 12 weeks. Unlike his predecessor, Jose Mujica did not veto it.
He is also supporting a debate on the legalization of the consumption of cannabis, in a bill that would also give the state the monopoly over its trade.
“Consumption of cannabis is not the most worrying thing, drug-dealing is the real problem,” he says.
However, Jose Mujica doesn’t have to worry too much about his popularity rating – Uruguayan law means he is not allowed to seek re-election in 2014. Also, at 77, he is likely to retire from politics altogether before long.
When he does, Jose Mujica will be eligible for a state pension – and unlike some other former presidents, he may not find the drop in income too hard to get used to.
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