Fidel Castro died just over one week ago and in a speech that marked the end of a nine-day period of mourning, President Raul of Cuba revealed the surprising request of Fidel that after his death he did not wish to be “worshiped.”

Addressing thousands of people who gathered in Santiago to pay their last respects, the Cuban President pointed out that Fidel Castro had motivated the whole nation to overcome any obstacles to building socialism in Cuba. He also assured them that Cuba would continue along the path of building their social revolution, saying that Cuba must remain loyal to the vision of Fidel who died aged 90 just over a week ago.

Surprise wishes of Fidel revealed in speech by president of Cuba

The tens of thousands of people were surprised to find out during the gathering in the square where the ashes were conveyed to the mausoleum, that Fidel Castro had specifically requested that his people do not turn him into an object of “worship.”

This means that Castro requested that post-death the Cuban people did not build lifelike statues of him or name roads and avenues after him. The people of Cuba will not be allowed to turn Fidel into some kind of a cult figure. In fact, the National Assembly will be tasked with ensuring that these wishes of the deceased revolutionary leader are complied with.

Cuba's leading family planned ahead before Fidel's death

This is was not a last minute decision by Fidel’s surviving family. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Castro's son said that they have been preparing for this moment for a long time now, not just the fact that they want to honour their father’s wishes, and keep on the same path of the revolution, but had even already discussed what will happen and the path the leadership of the country will take when Raúl steps down – possibly as soon as February next year.

Vigil by students at the mausoleum

On this the last day of the official mourning period, tens of thousands of mourners were surprised by the announcement, which set Fidel apart from many socialist and communist leaders across the world. In a few hours, they know that the ashes will be taken to a private cemetery and will be interred at an intimate and exclusive family funeral ceremony.

In the meantime, while many people left the square after their last farewells to their leader, students remained, keeping vigil over the ashes until they will be removed to Castro’s final resting place.

Fidel Castro governed Cuba as Prime Minister between the years of 1956 and 1976 and then as President until 2006. He was a dedicated and self-declared Marxist–Leninist.