IN CUBA, DAYS OF MOURNING FOR FIDEL CASTRO
Cuba - The Cuban people will stop to pay their respects this week to the late Fidel Castro, the country’s former leader who dominated the island nation for decades.
The national nine-day mourning period began Saturday, as the nation woke up to the news that the man who had long been the face of their nation was gone. “The Cuban people are feeling sad because of the loss of our commander in chief Fidel Castro Ruz, and we wish him, wherever he is, that he is blessed, and us Cubans love him,” a young Cuban woman told CNN, Castro died Friday at 90. His brother, Raul Castro, announced his death in a televised statement.
“I say to the people of Cuba, with profound pain I come here to inform our people, our friends of America and the world, that today, 25 November, 2016, at 10:29 pm, died the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz”, Raul Castro said.
All activities and public performances will stop, and the flag will be flown at half-staff in public and military establishments. Radio and television will broadcast patriotic and historical programming, state news outlet Granma reported. A concert by famed tenor Placido Domingo was canceled and clubs that were usually alive with music were silent.
Cubans will be able to pay their respects throughout the country at different memorials on Monday and Tuesday. A public mass will be held in the Jose Marti Revolution Square in Havana on Tuesday evening. Fidel Castro’s body was cremated and on Wednesday, his ashes will be taken along the reverse route he took across the island after seizing power in 1959.
The trek with Castro’s ashes finishes on Saturday and culminates with another mass in Plaza Antonio Maceo in Santiago de Cuba. Castro’s funeral will be held Sunday morning at Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba. At the University of Havana, where Castro attended law school 70 years ago, people placed flowers and photos by a statue on the main steps of the college.
In Bíran, a town near Cuba’s eastern tip where Castro was born, people were calling and knocking on the door of his half-brother, Martin Castro. They wanted to know whether the hometown revolutionary was dead.
“They have been knocking and calling and asking if it is true”, said Angel Daniel Castro, a nephew of Fidel Castro’s. “Many people are crying. Some complain of high blood pressure. Fidel was a good man. “For us, he was like a father. And Cuba sees him as a father. One woman just called crying and saying she had lost her father. Everyone feels it.” (CNN)
Young people participate of an act to honor late Fidel Castro at Habana Unversity on November 26, 2016, in Havana, Cuba. (Fortune)