Cubans began gathering early Monday morning in Havana's historic Revolution Square to pay homage to Fidel Castro following the iconic leader's death. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Cubans began gathering early on Monday (November 28) in Havana's historic Revolution Square to pay homage to Fidel Castro following the iconic leader's death on Friday (November 25). Supporters waited patiently in the darkness as the sun rose over Havana. Alexis Tamayo once served in Castro's rebel army and remembered his commander fondly. "Today signifies a new phase in the development of the world revolution, that he will be an immtoral man and will continue living in the present. He is a man who guides us, he was a friend, a teacher for Cuba and for the world," he said. Castro was cremated on Saturday (November 26) and a nine-day period of mourning declared. His ashes will be carried in a cortege to a final resting place in Santiago de Cuba, the city in eastern Cuba where he launched the revolution. The government has invited people to Revolution Square for a two-day ceremony starting at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT). The urn holding the late leader's ashes could be displayed. "I was here very early with all Cubans at a very sad moment but, well, we have the consolation that our commander is here and will be here forever. He is an example for all Cubans in this country," said Cuban Marisela Mazorra. Workers rushed to install speakers and light standards in the plaza, where a giant photograph of Castro was draped over the national library, the same space where an enormous poster of Jesus Christ was hung for last year's visit by Pope Francis. If previous public memorials are any guide, Raul Castro and other government, Communist Party and military leaders will lay flowers near the monument to Cuban national hero Jose Marti, followed by a long line of ordinary Cubans. The ceremony in the capital will end on Tuesday night when foreign leaders are expected to pay their respects to a man who dedicated his life to fighting capitalist and colonial oppression, aligned his country with the Soviet Union and outlasted nine U.S. presidents who had sought to oust or undermine him. A cortege will carry Castro's remains east across the 750-mile-long (1,200-km long), eyebrow-shaped island to Santiago de Cuba. His cremated ashes will be laid to rest in the birthplace of the revolution when the mourning period ends on Dec. 4.