Cubans gather to farewell Fidel Castro

  • 04/12/2016
Cubans farewell Fidel Castro (Getty)
Cubans farewell Fidel Castro (Getty)

Cuban President Raul Castro says his government will prohibit the naming of streets or public monuments after his brother Fidel in keeping with the former leader's desire to avoid the development of a personality cult.

Raul Castro told a crowd gathered to pay homage to Fidel Castro in the eastern city of Santiago that the country's National Assembly would pass in its next session a law prohibiting the naming of "institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, or erecting busts statutes or other forms of tribute".

Fidel Castro, who died on November 25 at 90, kept his name off public sites during his time in office because he said he wanted to avoid the development of a cult of personality.

Tens of thousands of Cubans have packed into a public square in Santiago de Cuba, joining dignitaries to bid farewell to Castro in the city where his ashes will be entombed.

On Sunday morning, his ashes will be interred near the remains of Cuba's independence hero Jose Marti in a cemetery in the eastern city, in what is likely to be a solemn ceremony.

Drawn in a trailer behind an olive green army jeep, Castro's ashes have made a 1000km journey in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans, many chanting "I am Fidel!" have lined up on roadsides and gathered in plazas for a final tribute.

Castro's ashes will be interred Sunday morning in Santiago's Santa Ifigenia cemetery, ending the official mourning period.

Mourning for Castro has reached near-religious peaks of public adulation across Cuba since his death, particularly in rural eastern Cuba. Huge crowds have been shouting his name and lining the roads to salute the funeral procession carrying his ashes from Havana to Santiago.