Fidel Castro

RIP Fidel Castro

Thousands of Cubans began lining up early near Havana's Plaza of the Revolution Monday carrying portraits of Fidel Castro, flowers and Cuban flags for the start of week-long services bidding farewell to the man who ruled the country for nearly half a century.

One of the first in line was Tania Jimenez, 53, a mathematician who arrived at 04:00 carrying a rose.

"Fidel is everything to us, the soul of this country who gave everything, all his life," Jimenez said in tears.

RIP Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro's ashes were laid to rest on Sunday, capping nine days of official mourning when hundreds of thousands of Cubans said farewell with a combination of tears, Castro-like defiance and choruses of "I am Fidel!" ringing out across the island.

A private ceremony was held at Santiago's Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, state media reported. Castro's cremated remains were due to be placed a few steps from the mausoleum of independence hero Jose Marti, another towering figure of Cuban history who Castro long admired.

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