CUBANS MOURN FIDEL’S PASSINGBy: Stephen Lendman
Frail and weakened by earlier serious illness nearly taking his life, Fidel’s passing didn’t surprise.
Yet his larger than life persona, extraordinary revolutionary spirit and redoubtable anti-imperial resolve for so long made losing him hard to imagine he’s gone.
Around midnight on Friday, Raul Castro announced it on national television. Granma, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba, published his statement, saying:
“Dear people of Cuba:
With deep pain I appear to inform our people, the friends of our America and the world, that today November 25, 2016, at 10.29 p.m., the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died.
In compliance with the expressed will of Comrade Fidel, his remains will be cremated.
In the early hours of Saturday 26, the Organizing Committee of the funeral will provide our people with detailed information on the organization of the posthumous tribute that will be taxed to the founder of the Cuban Revolution.
Hasta la victoria siempre (Ever onward to victory)!”
The Havana Times said he “left his mark on the history of Cuba and the world…(H)e stood with the poor (and) deserves respect” from allies and enemies alike. A new era begins with his passing, hopefully continuing and building on the best of what he accomplished and stood for.
Little Havana Miami Cubans shamefully celebrated his passing, symbolically dancing on his grave – despicable revelry at a time millions worldwide mourn the death of Cuba’s liberator.
They took to the streets, waving Cuban flags, banging pots and pans, setting off fireworks, some popping champagne, others carrying shovels for a symbolic burial.
Police closed off streets. Helicopters hovered overhead. All night Friday into pre-dawn Saturday morning, Miami television networks broadcast live, joining the macabre festive mood.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado disgracefully said “(a)s the world celebrated when Hitler died, today Cubans are celebrating the death of Fidel Castro, and it will go on for hours and for days.” Crowds chanted “Fidel, tyrant, bring your brother.”
In Havana and across Cuba, millions mourn his passing. All day Saturday, Cuban media aired his speeches, likely continuing through the weekend with much more to come on his life and achievements for nine official days of mourning from November 26 through December 4.
When Raul announced his death, sadness replaced music in Havana. Streets emptied. Earlier reports of Fidel’s death were false. Now it’s true.
One Havana resident likely spoke for others, saying “(l)osing Fidel is like losing a father.” Others said he’ll never be forgotten. “Of course I’m crying,” a mourner said. “We Cubans are Fidelista.”
During his last public appearance in April, he said “(s)oon I will end up like everyone does.” On November 25, his end time came.
His redoubtable spirit remains eternal. Cuba won’t be the same without him.
A Final Comment
In a letter of condolence to Cuban leader Raul Castro, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said “(t)he name Fidel Castro will live forever in the minds of generations and remain an inspiration for all the peoples who aspire to achieve real independence and liberation from the yoke of colonialism and hegemony.”