His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain has travelled to Cuba, in the company of the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America, Jesus Gracia and the general director for Latin America, Pedro Olea for the funeral service for Fidel Castro. He is leading the Spanish delegation as part of the official funeral program in memory of His Excellency Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, who died on 25 November. Many of the world’s leaders, such as Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and Theresa May had chosen not to attend the funeral.
US senator Ted Cruz, who is of Cuban descent said: “I very much hope that we don’t see any US government officials going to Fidel Castro’s funeral. I hope we don’t see Barack Obama and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and Democrats lining up to lionize a murderous tyrant and thug.”
King Juan Carlos arrived in the early afternoon at José Martí International Airport, where he was received by the Spanish ambassador to Cuba, Francisco Montalbán. In the afternoon, he went to the Plaza de la Revolucion to attend a memorial for Fidel Castro, along with the heads of foreign delegations.
Fidel Castro’s ashes have already its four-day journey across Cuba from Havana to their final resting place in Santiago. A Cuban flag covered the coffin, which had been placed into a trailer covered with flowers pulled by green military jeep for the over 500-mile procession to Santiago. The ashes will be interred there on Sunday, which will then end the nine-day mourning period. The route is in reverse of the victory tour Fidel Castro took after overthrowing Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
Thousands of people in Cuba had lined the streets of Havana to say goodbye to Fidel Castro. In the city of Malecón, the procession was greeted with near-total silence among the crowd.
“We love the comandante and I think it’s our obligation to be here and see him out,” said Mercedes Antúnez.