The Americas

AP PHOTOS: Cubans honor Castro, express sadness, gratitude

  • Junior Cardozo, a 19-year-old soldier assigned to the Interior Ministry, waits in line with colleagues to pay tribute to the late Fidel Castro, near Revolution Plaza, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. “I feel deep pain over Fidel’s death,” said Cardozo, “He is a very good man. We will never forget him.” (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

    Junior Cardozo, a 19-year-old soldier assigned to the Interior Ministry, waits in line with colleagues to pay tribute to the late Fidel Castro, near Revolution Plaza, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. “I feel deep pain over Fidel’s death,” said Cardozo, “He is a very good man. We will never forget him.” (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)  (The Associated Press)

  • National School of Art students Omar Alayo, 15, and Idemis Hernandez, 17, wait in line to pay tribute to the late Fidel Castro, near Revolution Plaza, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. "Because of Fidel's revolution I was able to study in a public school, that's impossible in many Latin American countries. We have to be very proud of this country."  (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

    National School of Art students Omar Alayo, 15, and Idemis Hernandez, 17, wait in line to pay tribute to the late Fidel Castro, near Revolution Plaza, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. "Because of Fidel's revolution I was able to study in a public school, that's impossible in many Latin American countries. We have to be very proud of this country." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jhoanna Jimenez, 30, graduated from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medical Sciences, poses for a photo as she waits in line to pay tribute to the late Fidel Castro, near Revolution Plaza, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. “I am sharing with the Cuban people all this pain. As a professional I owe this country a lot,” Jimenez said, adding that in her native El Salvador, getting a university education is a near-impossible dream for poor people. “Here it is possible. That’s why I love Cuba and Fidel.” (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

    Jhoanna Jimenez, 30, graduated from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medical Sciences, poses for a photo as she waits in line to pay tribute to the late Fidel Castro, near Revolution Plaza, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. “I am sharing with the Cuban people all this pain. As a professional I owe this country a lot,” Jimenez said, adding that in her native El Salvador, getting a university education is a near-impossible dream for poor people. “Here it is possible. That’s why I love Cuba and Fidel.” (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have filed solemnly through a memorial to the late leader Fidel Castro.

They come from all walks of life — soldiers, doctors, students, government workers — many of their own accord, and many in groups organized by schools and their government employers.

Among those arriving to pay their respects, two emotions are common: sadness at the passing of a man who profoundly transformed Cuban society, and gratitude for opportunities for which they give him credit.

"I feel deep pain over Fidel's death," said Junior Cardozo, a 19-year-old soldier assigned to the Interior Ministry. "He is a very good man. We will never forget him."

Cardozo came with colleagues who were also clad in olive-green uniforms. Other islanders arrived in their school uniforms or doctor's smocks. Some clutched Cuban flags or signs with revolutionary slogans and portraits of Castro.

Mixed in with the throngs were a number of people from other countries. Jhoanna Jimenez, 30, graduated from Cuba's Latin American School of Medical Sciences, a Castro initiative that trains doctors from around the world, many of them for free.

"I am sharing with the Cuban people all this pain. As a professional, I owe this country a lot," Jimenez said, adding that in her native El Salvador, getting a university education is a near-impossible dream for poor people. "Here it is possible. That's why I love Cuba and Fidel."