Cuba buries Fidel Castro in a low-key ceremony

Cuba opens a new era without the communist leader who ruled the island for decades.

Cuba buries Fidel Castro in a low-key ceremony

Santiago de Cuba: Fidel Castro's ashes were taken to a cemetery on Sunday in the shelter of his revolution.

Cuba opens a new era without the communist leader who ruled the island for decades.

After a week of tributes and mass rallies, a jeep pulled the cedar urn into the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba as a crowd chanted "viva Fidel!"

Castro died on November 25 at age 90, will be attributed to rest during a simple ceremony near the mausoleum of 19th-century independence hero Jose Marti, said his brother and successor, President Raul Castro.

The funeral ceremony closed to the public.

In honour of Castro, his brother Raul Castro led a massive and final rally at Santiago's Revolution Plaza on Saturday, leading the crowd into a pledge to uphold the socialist ideals.

"In front of Fidel's remains ... We swear to defend the fatherland and socialism," Raul Castro said.

"He demonstrated that, yes we could, yes we can, yes we will overcome any obstacle, threat, turbulence in our firm resolve to build socialism in Cuba," he said.

Fidel Castro had been sidelined as the matter of his own fate due to his emergency intestinal surgery a decade ago, he still remained a towering figure in Cuba.

Castro was deeply respected by supporters for the free health care and education he spread across the island and vilified by protesters who saw him as a brutal dictator.

Castro's dying wish was that no statues be erected in his memory and no streets or building be named after him.

Castro was an omnipresent figure in the lives of Cubans,

"The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality," Raul Castro said.

Cubans often encouraged by the government and flooded the streets to pay acute tribute to Castro, chanting "I am Fidel!"

His obsequies end a nine-day period of mourning and his ashes were taken across the Caribbean country this week.

"I am very sad because we have lost a father," said Marta Loida, a 36-year-old university professor sitting on the ground and holding a picture of Fidel Castro after Raul's speech.

The state media called Castro the "eternal comandante”

Cubans were advised to go to schools and other public buildings to sign an oath of loyalty to Castro's revolution.

"I trust Raul because Raul is Fidel's brother. Fidel taught him everything," said Irina Hierro Rodriguez, a 23-year-old teacher at yesterday's rally 

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