Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro often marched to the beat of his own drum; in fact, he did so until the very end.
Unlike other transformative Communist leaders, such as Russia’s Vladimir Lenin, China’s Mao Zedong and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh, Castro’s embalmed body will not be on display in perpetuity. Per his wishes, Castro was cremated the day after his death.
Castro’s ashes then took a nine-day journey through the country and were eventually buried in the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba on Sunday, December 4.
According to the National Funeral Directors’ 2015 Cremation and Burial Report: Research,
Statistics and Projections, cremation rates in Cuba are a low 12.5 percent. In Japan, cremation rates are close to 100 percent, and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, Thailand and Sweden all have cremation rates of 80 percent or higher, according to the report.
However, it appears cremation in Cuba is on the rise. According to an article on the In Cuba Today website, Cuban records show that in 2015, 6,131 of the 23,641 people who died in Havana were cremated. In 2006, there were only 90 cremations in the city.
The article posits that the country’s rising cremation rate is the result of the increasing number of tomb desecrations across the country. The Afro-Cuban religion Palo Monte uses human bones in some of its secret rituals.