Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s ashes began a four-day journey that will take them from the emblematic Revolution Square here to city of Santiago de Cuba via caravan, where the revolutionary leader’s funeral service will take place on Sunday.
Draped in a Cuban flag, a cedar chest containing the ashes was taken from the Armed Forces Ministry building in Havana at 7.15 a.m. on Wednesday by a pair of soldiers and placed in a trailer decorated with bouquets of white flowers, Efe news agency reported.
Castro’s younger brother and Cuban President, Raul Castro presided over the brief military ceremony, which was also attended by other top government officials as well as Castro’s widow, Dalia del Soto and two of their children.
Lines of people gathered for the send-off in Revolution Square, where a mass outdoor farewell ceremony was held on Tuesday night. Many of those in attendance also took part in an all-night vigil.
The convoy will trace the route of the triumphant “Freedom Caravan” in reverse that Castro led from east-to-west across Cuba from January 1-8, 1959, after his rebels had defeated Gen. Fulgencio Batista’s forces.
Castro died on November 26 at the age of 90.