SANTIAGO DE CUBA.– The polished boulder bearing his name is a point of arrival and departure for many, experiencing a solemn moment that generates the awareness that here lies a father and a friend, the paradigm of the man who dreamed of a better world for all.
Figures provided to Granma by authorities at the historic Santa Ifigenia Cemetery indicate that, as of last Monday, March 26, precisely 1,008,392 men, women, and children – 838,288 Cubans and 170,104 from abroad – visited the site, people who came with Fidel on their minds and left with him beating in their hearts.
But the numbers registered do not convey what is truly important: the gestures, the expressions of: Thank you, Fidel, the tears, intimate conversations, flowers, personal letters, poems, flags, a fistful of dirt from another land - and in the case of Santiago natives, the commitment to honor him with concrete acts.
According to the statistics, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the United States lead the long list of countries from which visitors have come, while every corner of the island is represented, a clear reflection of the reality that all of Cuba is Fidel.
Since last October 10, the 149th anniversary of the initiation of our struggles for independence, in the cemetery's central patrimonial area, joining the monument to our national hero José Martí, are those of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, and Mariana Grajales, and to one side, the polished boulder bearing Fidel's ashes.