Cuba begins planning an institute dedicated to life of Fidel Castro

Fifteen months after the passing of Fidel Castro, Cuba has taken the first step toward creating an institution dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of the former leader.

State media reported this week that Cuba formed a working group and convened about 30 people from various disciplines and government agencies to begin planning for the center.

Cuban leader Raúl Castro presided over the meeting with Miguel Díaz-Canel, first vice president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, at his side.

In another sign that Díaz-Canel is the likely successor to Raúl Castro when he is due to retire from the presidency on April 19, the first vice president was put in charge of ensuring the completion of the project.

The goal of the Castro institute, Díaz-Canel said, will be “to perpetuate and gather” information about the thoughts and work of Castro that form part of the “historic memory of the nation.”

Before Fidel Castro died on Nov. 25, 2016, at the age of 90, he had said that such an institute would be fine, but he wanted no statues or monuments erected in his image or roads, plazas or other public places named after him.

Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power followed up in December 2016 by passing a law prohibiting the use of Castro’s name in public spaces, but billboards and signs with his image that were put up prior to his death continue to dot the countryside.

The law allows for the display of photos, portraits and images of Castro accumulated during his “rich revolutionary trajectory.”

Castro’s ashes reside in an unadorned granite tomb in Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of the Cuban Revolution. The tomb says simply “Fidel.”

Follow Mimi Whitefield on twitter: @HeraldMimi

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