Dawn breaks over the Plaza de la Revolución Mayor General Ignacio Agramonte Loynaz, of this city. At seven o’clock in the morning, the funeral procession bearing the remains of the Comandante resumes its journey, in the midst of a sea of people who say their final goodbyes amid tears and grief.
Minutes earlier, the crowds of people gathered since dawn very close to the Jimaguayú Hall, in the Plaza’s memorial complex, silently observe the accompanying convoy, made up of senior officers and combatants of the FAR and Minint, as they make the preparations for the departure.
The planned route sees the caravan pass through the old Plaza de la Caridad, a historical site from where Fidel first addressed the people of Camagüey on January 4, 1959, in a brief and unforgettable stop during his triumphal march toward the country’s capital.
The words of that night, spoken from the balcony of one of the surrounding buildings, acquire a touching relevance: “From now on the people will win all their battles, because the people learned how to win on having not only triumphed with the Revolution, but having secured it for themselves.”
The flags seem to wave with more force; the national anthem is heard clearly and vibrantly; a veteran salutes the urn as it passes; faces express equal sorrow and resolve; everyone, almost in unison, shouts passionately: ¡Hasta siempre, Comandante! ¡Fidel, el pueblo está contigo! ¡Viva Cuba libre!
“We have experienced very impressive scenes over the past days, but they are still small in terms of the tribute that a man who has done so much for us and for the Revolution deserves,” says Jesús Zamora Sánchez, director of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Camagüey, founded by Fidel 27 years ago.
“The key tribute,” he adds, “will be in our daily actions, in the efforts that we scientists dedicate to bringing the research, technological development projects and productive advances with high added value, to a successful conclusion, in order to consolidate the prestige of Cuban biotechnology.”
Laura Castelló, a junior high school student, speaks on behalf of all pioneers: “We, the younger generation, have always placed in Fidel an infinite trust, because he represents that light that guides our people, that keeps our dreams alive, the man responsible for millions of smiles.
“We children were always your priority and your concern. All I can do now is fulfill the dream of honoring you with my actions, with my revolutionary commitment, which is the dream of all Cuban pioneers. For you, Fidel, my Fidel, the purest of my kisses,” she adds emotionally.
The funeral procession finally heads toward the eastern end of this historic city, and proceeds along the Central Highway with its precious cargo of love until it completes the 163 kilometers of the extensive plains of Camagüey, passing through the municipalities of Jimaguayú, Sibanicú and Guáimaro.