MIAMI (AP) — Cuban exiles and their descendants in Miami are reflecting and jubilating in the hours after the government’s announcement of Fidel Castro’s death.
The news of Castro’s death was long anticipated by the exiles who left after Castro took power, and in the decades since. Rumors have come and gone for decades, and Castro’s death had become something of a joke — mostly because it seemed to happen so frequently.
This time, it was real. Folks banged pots with spoons, rapped on cowbells and whooped in jubilation on Calle Ocho early Saturday, Nov. 25. Cars honked horns, and police blocked off streets.
Gabriel Morales is a 40-year-old financial executive. His parents left Cuba decades ago. He says the news of Castro’s death “seems unreal.”
The Cuban government has declared nine days of national mourning following the death of longtime leader Fidel Castro. Public activities and events will be canceled, and the Cuban flag will fly at half staff. Castro’s remains will make a cross-country tour from Havana to Santiago, retracing in reverse the route Castro took when the revolution triumphed in 1959. He will be interred in a Santiago cemetery on Dec. 4.
Cuban President Raul Castro announced his 90-year-old brother’s death Friday night.
Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba and embraced Soviet-style communism, had a reign marked by the failed, U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The bearded revolutionary survived a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots.
He survived long enough to see Raul Castro negotiate an agreement with U.S. President Barack Obama to move to restore diplomatic ties for the first time since they were severed in 1961.