Hundreds of Thousands Gather in Havana to Mark Castro's Death

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans gathered in Havana’s Revolution Squre on Monday to pay homage to revolutionary leader and former President Fidel Castro.

Castro, who is said to have survived over 600 assassination attempts, died Friday at the age of 90.

“It was Fidel that led the Revolution and took important steps to eradicate illiteracy, promote health and education,” said Guantánamo resident Manuel de Jesús Catalá Balón to Cuban state publication Granma. “Today will be remembered with sadness,” he said.

The memorial comes as the first regularly scheduled commercial fight departed from Miami to the Cuban capital, and as President-elect Donald Trump threatens to “terminate” the Obama administration’s thawed relations with the island nation.

The Associated Press reports that “[a] nine-story image of a young Castro joined the towering images of fallen guerrillas overlooking the massive square. The government also said Cubans would ‘sign a solemn oath to carry out the concept of the revolutionary’ as expressed by the late leader, but that activity did not appear to be taking at the site of the tribute of Fidel.”

The Wall Street Journal adds: 

His fans, as Al Jazeera reports,

“He’s going to have a very controversial legacy,” said Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project and co-author of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana, but it is indisputable that he took a small Caribbean island and transformed it into a major actor on the world stage, far beyond its geographic size.”

Castro, Kronbluh told Democracy Now! on Monday, “stood up to the United States. He became the David versus Goliath, withstood all of the efforts to kill him, overthrow him. And that is what he will go down in history for, in many ways.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.