With national flags at half-mast on public buildings and military installations, a 9-day mourning starts in Cuba on November 26 to remember revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died last night at the age of 90.
(Soundbite, English) Emilia Gil, Cuban
“Hear me, a day like today we have dropped something very big, a pedestal for us and for the world. But in addition you see in the streets, it shows that there is sadness, a state of restlessness in the whole society, but we are confident that we will continue, we will continue and our country will go ahead.”
Castro’s remains will be cremated and his ashes buried in the southeastern city of Santiago on December 4, after a 4-day procession through the country.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Jose Antonio Vazquez, Cuban
“Every Cuban must feel sad today, because he has been an irreproachable man in the history of the revolution. Not only for Cuba, but for all the oppressed peoples of the whole world, he has fought for a just and noble cause.”
Born on August 13, 1926, Castro built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for 5 decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Maria Teresa Garcia, Cuban
“I feel sad because it is many years to have a leader and to trust a person who has guided us, one way or another, but he has guided us.”
Castro became well-known worldwide, after he led the 1959 Cuban Revolution that overthrew U.S.-supported dictatorship.
(Spanish) Raul Wong, Cuban
“My grandmother said in difficult times people grow. We always have to grow for she told us, when I die, do not feel sorry, you go ahead and that is the thing to do. There is no choice.”
During Castro’s ruling, Washington pressed Cuba on many fronts, including a trade embargo starting in February 1962 and still going on today.
Meanwhile, all failed with Washington’s covert war on Castro himself, typically numerous assassination attempts, only adding to his legends and myths.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Jose Fernandez, Cuban
“An irreparable loss that has no comparison and that will be an eternal pain. Raul is as prepared as Fidel. Let’s follow the same line. This is not going to change”.
Fidel Castro had led Cuba for nearly half a century before stepping down in 2006 for health reasons. He was succeeded by his brother Raul Castro.