Photo: Estudio Revolución

SANTIAGO DE CUBA.- Santa Ifigenia, long sacred to the homeland, today dawns as a site where our Comandante en Jefe will be eternally honored.

Close to Martí, an enormous boulder of gray granite stands. Within it, the ashes of Fidel rest, flanked by the niches of those who fell on July 26, 1953, and the pantheon of internationalist combatants.

A few meters away, inscribed in bronze is the concept of Revolution which Fidel expressed on May Day of 2000.

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, along with members of the Party Central Committee Political Bureau, Comandante de la Revolución Guillermo García Frías, family members and comrades in the struggle, special guests, friends… came to pay their respects to the eternal leader.

There was silence, as the cedar urn arrived, under an immense flag waving at half mast, delivered by the funeral procession which had traveled more than 1,000 kilometers across the country, since leaving Havana this past November 30.

Raúl and the Party leaders first stopped to honor Martí, depositing white flowers in his mausoleum, the first tribute of the day to Cuba's national hero, the intellectual author of the Moncada who inspired Fidel's ideas.

Photo: Estudio Revolución

Next, the solemn interment ceremony. Dalia, Fidel's wife, carried the small chest which held the Comandante en Jefe's ashes.

Standing before the niche, Raúl - always loyal - accepted the urn and placed it into the heart of the rock, as if embracing his brother in struggle and in blood. A green marble slab was placed to cover the niche, bearing in bronze letters only the name: FIDEL.

Raúl's salute is eloquent, his final farewell to the unquestionable leader of the Cuban Revolution. A trumpet signals "Attention," and the glorious national anthem breaks the silence, accompanied by 21 artillery salutes in honor of the maximum leader of the Cuban Revolution.

The trumpet now signals silence, and Fidel seems to return to life, his voice sounds, unhurried, firm, unbreakable, defining his concept of Revolution, which again inspires.

Precise military steps break the calm which has settled on those present, as the changing of the guard at Martí's mausoleum begins, now including the first honor guard which will forever accompany our undefeated Comandante en Jefe.

Raúl is the first to deposit a white rose before the Comandante's final resting place, followed by Party leaders and Comandante de la Revolución Guillermo García Frías.

Next, Fidel's family places their roses, followed by those invited to the ceremony, including presidents, leaders ,and friends who have come from all corners of the world to share this moment of pain with our homeland.

Silence, again silence. A strange sadness reigns, it is not a simple pain, it is deep, infinite, beyond measure. Santa Ifigenia mourns, but this sacred site, where Fidel rests, continues to emanate light, a dawn, a seed, an example… life.