Cuba to observe 9 days of mourning for Fidel Castro

Associated Press

Cuba will observe nine days of mourning for Fidel Castro, including a three-day journey by his ashes along the route taken by the rebel army he led on a victorious march across the island in 1959.

The plans were announced Saturday by the Organizing Committee of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, State and Government, which is one of the most powerful organs of the single-party state put in place by Castro.

It said Cubans can show their respects for Castro beginning at 9 a.m. Monday at the Havana memorial to national hero Jose Marti, a poet and leader of Cuba’s 19th century fight for independence from Spain. Mourners will be able to pay their respects until 10 p.m. Monday and again on Tuesday at the memorial in the Plaza of the Revolution as well as specially designated sites across the country.

People with images of Fidel Castro gather one day after his death in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. Cuba will observe nine days of mourning for the former president who ruled Cuba for half a century.

Cubans will be able to “pay homage and sign the solemn oath of fulfilling the concept of revolution … as an expression of the will to continue Castro’s ideas and our socialism,” the committee said.

Officials say Castro will be cremated, but offer no details about how or when.

The committee said Cubans will be called to a demonstration at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Plaza of the Revolution, which was the site of a series of huge rallies led by Castro as he consolidated power in the years after the revolution.

On Wednesday, Castro’s ashes will begin traveling eastward across Cuba following in reverse the route taken by his rebels from the Sierra Maestra mountains to the capital, Havana. The cortege is to take three days.

At 7 p.m. Dec. 3, a mass commemoration will be held at the Antonio Maceo plaza in central Santiago de Cuba, the largest city in the east.

Castro’s ashes are to be interred at 7 a.m. the following day at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where Marti is also buried.