Fidel Castro interred in rock, closing last chapter of historic life

Fidel Castro’s ashes were placed in the niche of a boulder 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!”

President Raul Castro placed the wooden box containing his elder brother’s cremated remains in the 10 foot (3 meter) rounded stone at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, photos released by state media showed.

Castro died on Nov. 25 at age 90.

A dark plaque engraved with the word “Fidel” was then fixed over the niche. Dressed in his four star general military uniform, Raul Castro saluted the rock, which was flanked by two honor guards in white uniform.

Castro gave Cuba an outsized influence in world affairs. He was feted by Nelson Mandela for helping to end apartheid at a time when the West supported the racist system, but helped take the world to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

His monument sits 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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