- Title: Cubans begin their mourning after death of Fidel Castro
- Date: 26th November 2016
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (NOVEMBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) WOMAN CRYING IN COURTYARD CUBAN FLAG AT HALF-STAFF EXTERIOR OF HAVANA CATHEDRAL CROSS AT CATHEDRAL INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH OF CHARITY VARIOUS OF CANDLES WOMAN PRAYING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN WOMAN, LETICIA FONSECA, SAYING: "It's very sad, painful, because he really was a person who always helped us a lot. The Cuban people, specifically the those who struggled the most, and it's something that truly left us all traumatized. We are sad and he's a person we will never forget." VARIOUS OF FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MAN, ROGELIO SARABOZO, SAYING: "The most important legacy I think is that he built Cuba. He made it over. That is his legacy, the legacy of '68, of Marti, of Cespedes, and with much security, and much humanity among us all." FLAGS IN WINDOW STREETLIGHTS IN REVOLUTION SQUARE TELEVISION TRUCKS GUARDS CUBAN FLAG AT HALF-MAST MONUMENT TO ERNESTO "CHE" GUEVARA MONUMENT TO JOSE MARTI IN REVOLUTION PLAZA
- Embargoed: 11th December 2016 16:50
- Keywords: Fidel Castro Revolution Plaza Havana Cathedral mourning
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015A2ZKG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The mourning has begun in Cuba.
Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him, died on Friday (November 25). He was 90.
A towering figure of the second half of the 20th Century, Castro stuck to his ideology beyond the collapse of Soviet communism and remained widely respected in parts of the world that had struggled against colonial rule.
He had been in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006. He formally ceded power to his younger brother Raul Castro two years later.
Wearing a green military uniform, a somber Raul Castro, 85, appeared on state television on Friday night to announce his brother's death.
Tributes came in from allies, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who said "revolutionaries of the world must follow his legacy."
Flags were lowered to half-staff throughout the island nation.
Although Raul Castro always glorified his older brother, he has changed Cuba since taking over by introducing market-style economic reforms and agreeing with the United States in December 2014 to re-establish diplomatic ties and end decades of hostility.
Fidel Castro offered only lukewarm support for the deal, raising questions about whether he approved of ending hostilities with his longtime enemy. Some analysts believed his mere presence kept Raul from moving further and faster, while others saw him as either quietly supportive or increasingly irrelevant.
He did not meet Barack Obama when he visited Havana earlier this year, the first time a U.S. president had stepped foot on Cuban soil since 1928.
Days later, Castro wrote a scathing newspaper column condemning Obama's "honey-coated" words and reminding Cubans of the many U.S. efforts to overthrow and weaken the Communist government.
The news of Castro's death spread slowly among Friday night revelers on the streets of Havana. One famous club that was still open when word came in quickly closed.
Some residents reacted with sadness to the news.
"It's very sad, painful, because he really was a person who always helped us a lot. The Cuban people, specifically the those who struggled the most, and it's something that truly left us all traumatized. We are sad and he's a person we will never forget," said one Cuban woman after praying at the Church of Charity in Havana.
But in Miami, where many exiles from government live, a large crowd waving Cuban flags cheered, danced and banged on pots and pans.
Castro's body will be cremated, according to his wishes. Cuba declared nine days of mourning, during which time the ashes will be taken to different parts of the country. A burial ceremony will be held on Dec. 4.
The bearded Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution and ruled Cuba for 49 years with a mix of charisma and iron will, creating a one-party state and becoming a central figure in the Cold War.
The mourners were already taking the long view of the 'comandante.'
"The most important legacy I think is that he built Cuba. He made it over. That is his legacy, the legacy of '68, of Marti, of Cespedes, and with much security, and much humanity among us all," said Cuban man, Rogelio Sarabozo.
Castro was last seen by ordinary Cubans in photos showing him engaged in conversation with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang earlier this month.
Transforming Cuba from a playground for rich Americans into a symbol of resistance to Washington, Castro crossed swords with 10 U.S. presidents while in power, and outlasted nine of them.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None