Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s ashes were interred early Sunday morning, capping nine days of mourning for the iconic revolutionary after his death at 90.
Thousands of people lined the procession route as his remains were carried to Santa Ifigenia cemetery in the island nation’s east, many shouting “Viva Castro,” or “Long Live Castro,” according to reports.
He was buried next to Cuban independence leader Jose Marti, and a memorial to Castro’s slain rebels during a failed attack on the Moncada barracks.
International media were unexpectedly barred from covering the event after Cuban authorities cancelled plans to broadcast the event at the last minute.
The previous night hundreds of thousands packed the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square in the city where Castro was laid to rest, Santiago de Cuba, cheering and waving Cuban flags as they remembered the deceased commander.
Santiago de Cuba is considered to be the birthplace of Cuba’s revolution. Castro famously declared victory there after waging a three-year guerrilla campaign in the mountains outside of the city.
Castro’s younger brother, Raul, 85, told the throngs of supporters that Castro “never lost faith in victory,” nor in the country’s socialist system.
He also said his brother refused to have monuments and streets named after him in order to avoid a “cult of personality.”
“The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality and was consistent in that through the last hours of his life, insisting that, once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statutes, or other forms of tribute would never be erected,” he said.
Castro ruled the country for 47 years from 1959 to 2006. The younger Castro took over the leadership in 2006 as his older brother’s health declined.
Raul Castro is not expected to seek re-election after his second term ends in 2018. If that comes to pass, it will end nearly 60 years of Castro rule in Cuba.