Fidel Castro's death brings joy, grief – CNN

Story highlights

  • Fidel Castro was cremated and his ashes soon will be displayed in Revolution Square
  • Havana quiet while celebrations spill out in Miami streets over news of Castro’s death

Havana, Cuba (CNN)The streets of Havana were as somber Saturday as the streets of Little Havana in Miami were festive.

The death of Fidel Castro, the polarizing strongman who dominated Cuba for decades and agitated his neighbors in the United States, triggered both mourning and celebration.
    In Cuba, a period of nine days of national mourning began.
    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.
    Read More
    The mood was decidedly different just across the Straits of Florida in Miami. In the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, home to Cuban exiles, revelers partied all day, waving Cuban or US flags while some sang to festive music.
    Read more
    Castro died Friday at 90. His brother, Raul Castro, announced his death in a televised statement. Fidel Castro’s body was cremated and his ashes will be publicly displayed in the capital’s Revolution Square the first few days next week. Then they will be taken by vehicle to Santiago de Cuba, the nation’s second most populous city, where they will be interred.
    “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.
    A sign that reads, "Long live Fidel," stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

    A sign that reads, "Long live Fidel," stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

    A sign that reads, “Long live Fidel,” stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

    Havana quiet as news slowly spreads

    The streets of Havana were quiet overnight into Saturday, with some Cubans unaware of Castro’s death until CNN asked them for their reaction.
    Their mood seemed downcast, with some shedding tears and many others appearing preoccupied by what might come next.
    One young Cuban woman told CNN, “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.”

    Finally got a copy of today’s Granma. pic.twitter.com/9f2IGpR63E

    — Patrick Oppmann CNN (@CNN_Oppmann) November 26, 2016

    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.
    Cuban government-run website Cubadebate tweeted photos from the site: “Because your people love you, they cry for you. Goodbye Comandante! #alwaystowardvictory #cuba #fidelcastro #untilforevercommandante

    Conmovedora concentración de estudiantes y profesores de la #UniversidadDeLaHabana en la histórica escalinata. #HastaSiempreComandante pic.twitter.com/lYWLRrl3cT

    — Cubadebate (@cubadebate) November 26, 2016

    Facebook photos from Cubadebate showed scores of young people at a gathering at the statue. Many held posters and some cried.
    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.”

    Jubilation in Miami

    But to the north in Florida, revelers spilled into the streets of Miami. They popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved the Cuban flag in jubilation. They stood outside the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, “Satan, Fidel is now yours.”

    This was the scene on the streets of Miami after Fidel Castro’s death was announced https://t.co/iEmf4bCiMC pic.twitter.com/H1iivfbkDF

    — CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016

    “This is a celebration, but not a celebration of death, but a beginning of liberty that we’ve been waiting for many years. The hope is … that it opens up Cuba a little bit more,” a Cuban-American man said.
    “It means a lot for us Cubans,” another reveler told CNN affiliate WSVN. “It’s a moment that we’ve been waiting for 55 years. We’re free at last. The man that caused so much suffering, so much people to be sad in my country … has passed away.”
    Castro reigned in Havana for nearly five decades with an iron hand, defying a US economic embargo intended to dislodge him.

    We’re in Little Havana, Miami, where people have been celebrating the death of Fidel Castro all day https://t.co/iRG8RmzqFz pic.twitter.com/fuEgyGb29v

    — CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016

    But he lived long enough to see a historic thaw between Cuba and the United States. The two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in July, and President Barack Obama visited the island this year.
    Obama extended “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” as he offered his condolences to Castro’s family in a statement.
    “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” he said.
    “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

    Historic figure of the 20th century

    To some, Castro became a romantic figure and a legendary survivor despite what Cuban officials say were more than 600 attempts to kill him. During a rare public appearance in April, Castro marveled that he had lived to his ninth decade.
    “Soon I will turn 90 years old, never would such a thing have occurred to me, and it’s not the outcome of any effort; it was fate’s whim,” Castro said, discussing his health, usually a taboo subject on the island. “Soon I will be like everyone else. To all of us comes our turn.”
    Castro had many admirers, who saw him as a stalwart with his ubiquitous military fatigues and fiery oratory. He clung to a socialist economic model and one-party Communist rule, even after the Soviet Union disintegrated and most of the rest of the world concluded that state socialism was an idea whose time had come and gone.
    The Cuban Communist Party mourned for “the commander of the Cuban Revolution” with the hashtag #UntilVictoryAlwaysFidel.

    #Cuba Falleció el Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana #FidelCastro #HastaLaVictoriaSiempreFidel

    — Partido Com. de Cuba (@PartidoPCC) November 26, 2016

    Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed Castro as a “great leader” for the Cuban people and said China had lost “an intimate and sincere friend,” according to a statement read out on Chinese state TV.
    “He achieved immortal historical achievements for the development of world socialism. He was the great person of our era, and people and history will remember him,” Xi said. “Great Castro will live forever. “
    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Castro a friend of Mexico, who had promoted bilateral relationships based on “respect, dialogue and solidarity.”

    Lamento el fallecimiento de Fidel Castro Ruz, líder de la Revolución cubana y referente emblemático del siglo XX.

    — Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) November 26, 2016

    In an official Kremlin statement sending condolences to the Cuban people, Russian President Vladimir Putin remembered him as a “symbol of an era in recent world history” and “a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”
    Putin saluted Castro for building a “free and independent Cuba” and described him as “an influential member of the international community.”
    Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he and Castro had become “very good friends,” in comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass, and that the Cuban “was an outstanding personality, unique.”
    Pakistani politician Imran Khan hailed Castro as “an iconic revolutionary leader” who stood against the United States.

    1. Today the world lost an iconic revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who liberated his nation from all vestiges of imperialism.

    — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 26, 2016

    2. Castro reasserted the Cuban nation’s dignity & self worth that withstood US aggression & became a global ldr for anti colonial struggles

    — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 26, 2016

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.”

    Fidel Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.

    — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 26, 2016

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Castro as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation.”

    ‘End of an era for Cuba’

    Other leaders noted Castro’s global impact but did not praise a man whose record on human rights was questionable.
    French President François Hollande said Castro “embodied the Cuban revolution, with the hopes it aroused and then in the disillusion it provoked. Actor of the Cold War, he corresponded to an era which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Hollande also said he welcomed the recent thaw in US-Cuba relations.
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had had a “lively discussion” with Castro during a visit to Cuba in 2014. “Under former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health. I hope Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity,” Ban said.
    Pope Francis sent a telegram to Raul Castro expressing his sorrow for Castro’s family and the Cuban people, and offering his prayers.

    Dissidents repressed

    Many viewed Castro as an enemy of human rights, who suppressed and imprisoned dissidents.
    “I am shedding tears tonight, but they’re tears of joy,” said Armando Salguero, a Miami Herald columnist. “Hell has a special place for Fidel Castro and there’s one less vacancy in hell tonight.”
    He said many Cubans were cheering, because they had been forced to come to the United States when they couldn’t have the freedom to make a life in their homeland.
    Repressive laws allow the government to jail and punish its critics, such as dissidents and journalists with long prison sentences, according to Human Rights Watch. The government also uses beatings and public acts of shaming, the organization reported.
    US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who fled Cuba with her family when she was 8 and went on to become the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, cautioned that “the death of one dictator will not usher a new wave of change because the rulers of Cuba, whether it’s Fidel, Raul, whatever names you give them, they just rule over Cuba with an iron fist.”

    A tyrant is dead + a new beginning can dawn on the oppressed island of #Cuba.#Cuban ppl must b guaranteed #liberty, #democracy, #humanrights

    — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 26, 2016

    Speaking to CNN, she lashed out at the Canadian Prime Minister’s statement describing Castro as a “legendary revolutionary.
    “I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba,’ ” she said, while urging any foreign leaders praising Castro to look at the “real record” of his decades in charge.
    “The only thing that Fidel has been successful in, has not been health nor education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding onto power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections,” she said.

    CNN’s Patrick Oppman — the only US TV correspondent in Cuba — reported from Havana, while Madison Park wrote from San Francisco and Laura Smith-Spark from London. CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Julia Jones, Alla Eshchenko, Nanling Fang, Yuli Yang, Simon Cullen, Richard Roth, Eliza Mackintosh, Diane Ruggiero and Camille Verdier contributed to this report.

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      Fidel Castro's death brings joy, grief – CNN

      Story highlights

      • Fidel Castro was cremated and his ashes soon will be displayed in Revolution Square
      • Havana quiet while celebrations spill out in Miami streets over news of Castro’s death

      Havana, Cuba (CNN)The streets of Havana were as somber Saturday as the streets of Little Havana in Miami were festive.

      The death of Fidel Castro, the polarizing strongman who dominated Cuba for decades and agitated his neighbors in the United States, triggered both mourning and celebration.
        In Cuba, a period of nine days of national mourning began.
        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.
        Read More
        The mood was decidedly different just across the Straits of Florida in Miami. In the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, home to Cuban exiles, revelers partied all day, waving Cuban or US flags while some sang to festive music.
        Read more
        Castro died Friday at 90. His brother, Raul Castro, announced his death in a televised statement. Fidel Castro’s body was cremated and his ashes will be publicly displayed in the capital’s Revolution Square the first few days next week. Then they will be taken by vehicle to Santiago de Cuba, the nation’s second most populous city, where they will be interred.
        “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.
        A sign that reads, "Long live Fidel," stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

        A sign that reads, "Long live Fidel," stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

        A sign that reads, “Long live Fidel,” stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

        Havana quiet as news slowly spreads

        The streets of Havana were quiet overnight into Saturday, with some Cubans unaware of Castro’s death until CNN asked them for their reaction.
        Their mood seemed downcast, with some shedding tears and many others appearing preoccupied by what might come next.
        One young Cuban woman told CNN, “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.”

        Finally got a copy of today’s Granma. pic.twitter.com/9f2IGpR63E

        — Patrick Oppmann CNN (@CNN_Oppmann) November 26, 2016

        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.
        Cuban government-run website Cubadebate tweeted photos from the site: “Because your people love you, they cry for you. Goodbye Comandante! #alwaystowardvictory #cuba #fidelcastro #untilforevercommandante

        Conmovedora concentración de estudiantes y profesores de la #UniversidadDeLaHabana en la histórica escalinata. #HastaSiempreComandante pic.twitter.com/lYWLRrl3cT

        — Cubadebate (@cubadebate) November 26, 2016

        Facebook photos from Cubadebate showed scores of young people at a gathering at the statue. Many held posters and some cried.
        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.”

        Jubilation in Miami

        But to the north in Florida, revelers spilled into the streets of Miami. They popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved the Cuban flag in jubilation. They stood outside the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, “Satan, Fidel is now yours.”

        This was the scene on the streets of Miami after Fidel Castro’s death was announced https://t.co/iEmf4bCiMC pic.twitter.com/H1iivfbkDF

        — CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016

        “This is a celebration, but not a celebration of death, but a beginning of liberty that we’ve been waiting for many years. The hope is … that it opens up Cuba a little bit more,” a Cuban-American man said.
        “It means a lot for us Cubans,” another reveler told CNN affiliate WSVN. “It’s a moment that we’ve been waiting for 55 years. We’re free at last. The man that caused so much suffering, so much people to be sad in my country … has passed away.”
        Castro reigned in Havana for nearly five decades with an iron hand, defying a US economic embargo intended to dislodge him.

        We’re in Little Havana, Miami, where people have been celebrating the death of Fidel Castro all day https://t.co/iRG8RmzqFz pic.twitter.com/fuEgyGb29v

        — CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016

        But he lived long enough to see a historic thaw between Cuba and the United States. The two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in July, and President Barack Obama visited the island this year.
        Obama extended “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” as he offered his condolences to Castro’s family in a statement.
        “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” he said.
        “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

        Historic figure of the 20th century

        To some, Castro became a romantic figure and a legendary survivor despite what Cuban officials say were more than 600 attempts to kill him. During a rare public appearance in April, Castro marveled that he had lived to his ninth decade.
        “Soon I will turn 90 years old, never would such a thing have occurred to me, and it’s not the outcome of any effort; it was fate’s whim,” Castro said, discussing his health, usually a taboo subject on the island. “Soon I will be like everyone else. To all of us comes our turn.”
        Castro had many admirers, who saw him as a stalwart with his ubiquitous military fatigues and fiery oratory. He clung to a socialist economic model and one-party Communist rule, even after the Soviet Union disintegrated and most of the rest of the world concluded that state socialism was an idea whose time had come and gone.
        The Cuban Communist Party mourned for “the commander of the Cuban Revolution” with the hashtag #UntilVictoryAlwaysFidel.

        #Cuba Falleció el Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana #FidelCastro #HastaLaVictoriaSiempreFidel

        — Partido Com. de Cuba (@PartidoPCC) November 26, 2016

        Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed Castro as a “great leader” for the Cuban people and said China had lost “an intimate and sincere friend,” according to a statement read out on Chinese state TV.
        “He achieved immortal historical achievements for the development of world socialism. He was the great person of our era, and people and history will remember him,” Xi said. “Great Castro will live forever. “
        Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Castro a friend of Mexico, who had promoted bilateral relationships based on “respect, dialogue and solidarity.”

        Lamento el fallecimiento de Fidel Castro Ruz, líder de la Revolución cubana y referente emblemático del siglo XX.

        — Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) November 26, 2016

        In an official Kremlin statement sending condolences to the Cuban people, Russian President Vladimir Putin remembered him as a “symbol of an era in recent world history” and “a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”
        Putin saluted Castro for building a “free and independent Cuba” and described him as “an influential member of the international community.”
        Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he and Castro had become “very good friends,” in comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass, and that the Cuban “was an outstanding personality, unique.”
        Pakistani politician Imran Khan hailed Castro as “an iconic revolutionary leader” who stood against the United States.

        1. Today the world lost an iconic revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who liberated his nation from all vestiges of imperialism.

        — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 26, 2016

        2. Castro reasserted the Cuban nation’s dignity & self worth that withstood US aggression & became a global ldr for anti colonial struggles

        — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 26, 2016

        Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.”

        Fidel Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.

        — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 26, 2016

        Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Castro as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation.”

        ‘End of an era for Cuba’

        Other leaders noted Castro’s global impact but did not praise a man whose record on human rights was questionable.
        French President François Hollande said Castro “embodied the Cuban revolution, with the hopes it aroused and then in the disillusion it provoked. Actor of the Cold War, he corresponded to an era which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Hollande also said he welcomed the recent thaw in US-Cuba relations.
        UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had had a “lively discussion” with Castro during a visit to Cuba in 2014. “Under former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health. I hope Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity,” Ban said.
        Pope Francis sent a telegram to Raul Castro expressing his sorrow for Castro’s family and the Cuban people, and offering his prayers.

        Dissidents repressed

        Many viewed Castro as an enemy of human rights, who suppressed and imprisoned dissidents.
        “I am shedding tears tonight, but they’re tears of joy,” said Armando Salguero, a Miami Herald columnist. “Hell has a special place for Fidel Castro and there’s one less vacancy in hell tonight.”
        He said many Cubans were cheering, because they had been forced to come to the United States when they couldn’t have the freedom to make a life in their homeland.
        Repressive laws allow the government to jail and punish its critics, such as dissidents and journalists with long prison sentences, according to Human Rights Watch. The government also uses beatings and public acts of shaming, the organization reported.
        US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who fled Cuba with her family when she was 8 and went on to become the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, cautioned that “the death of one dictator will not usher a new wave of change because the rulers of Cuba, whether it’s Fidel, Raul, whatever names you give them, they just rule over Cuba with an iron fist.”

        A tyrant is dead + a new beginning can dawn on the oppressed island of #Cuba.#Cuban ppl must b guaranteed #liberty, #democracy, #humanrights

        — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 26, 2016

        Speaking to CNN, she lashed out at the Canadian Prime Minister’s statement describing Castro as a “legendary revolutionary.
        “I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba,’ ” she said, while urging any foreign leaders praising Castro to look at the “real record” of his decades in charge.
        “The only thing that Fidel has been successful in, has not been health nor education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding onto power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections,” she said.

        CNN’s Patrick Oppman — the only US TV correspondent in Cuba — reported from Havana, while Madison Park wrote from San Francisco and Laura Smith-Spark from London. CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Julia Jones, Alla Eshchenko, Nanling Fang, Yuli Yang, Simon Cullen, Richard Roth, Eliza Mackintosh, Diane Ruggiero and Camille Verdier contributed to this report.

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          Fidel Castro's death brings joy, grief – CNN

          Story highlights

          • Fidel Castro was cremated and his ashes soon will be displayed in Revolution Square
          • Havana quiet while celebrations spill out in Miami streets over news of Castro’s death

          Havana, Cuba (CNN)The streets of Havana were as somber Saturday as the streets of Little Havana in Miami were festive.

          The death of Fidel Castro, the polarizing strongman who dominated Cuba for decades and agitated his neighbors in the United States, triggered both mourning and celebration.
            In Cuba, a period of nine days of national mourning began.
            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.
            Read More
            The mood was decidedly different just across the Straits of Florida in Miami. In the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, home to Cuban exiles, revelers partied all day, waving Cuban or US flags while some sang to festive music.
            Read more
            Castro died Friday at 90. His brother, Raul Castro, announced his death in a televised statement. Fidel Castro’s body was cremated and his ashes will be publicly displayed in the capital’s Revolution Square the first few days next week. Then they will be taken by vehicle to Santiago de Cuba, the nation’s second most populous city, where they will be interred.
            “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.
            A sign that reads, "Long live Fidel," stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

            A sign that reads, "Long live Fidel," stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

            A sign that reads, “Long live Fidel,” stands on a Cuban government building early Saturday in Havana.

            Havana quiet as news slowly spreads

            The streets of Havana were quiet overnight into Saturday, with some Cubans unaware of Castro’s death until CNN asked them for their reaction.
            Their mood seemed downcast, with some shedding tears and many others appearing preoccupied by what might come next.
            One young Cuban woman told CNN, “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.”

            Finally got a copy of today’s Granma. pic.twitter.com/9f2IGpR63E

            — Patrick Oppmann CNN (@CNN_Oppmann) November 26, 2016

            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.
            Cuban government-run website Cubadebate tweeted photos from the site: “Because your people love you, they cry for you. Goodbye Comandante! #alwaystowardvictory #cuba #fidelcastro #untilforevercommandante

            Conmovedora concentración de estudiantes y profesores de la #UniversidadDeLaHabana en la histórica escalinata. #HastaSiempreComandante pic.twitter.com/lYWLRrl3cT

            — Cubadebate (@cubadebate) November 26, 2016

            Facebook photos from Cubadebate showed scores of young people at a gathering at the statue. Many held posters and some cried.
            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.”

            Jubilation in Miami

            But to the north in Florida, revelers spilled into the streets of Miami. They popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved the Cuban flag in jubilation. They stood outside the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, “Satan, Fidel is now yours.”

            This was the scene on the streets of Miami after Fidel Castro’s death was announced https://t.co/iEmf4bCiMC pic.twitter.com/H1iivfbkDF

            — CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016

            “This is a celebration, but not a celebration of death, but a beginning of liberty that we’ve been waiting for many years. The hope is … that it opens up Cuba a little bit more,” a Cuban-American man said.
            “It means a lot for us Cubans,” another reveler told CNN affiliate WSVN. “It’s a moment that we’ve been waiting for 55 years. We’re free at last. The man that caused so much suffering, so much people to be sad in my country … has passed away.”
            Castro reigned in Havana for nearly five decades with an iron hand, defying a US economic embargo intended to dislodge him.

            We’re in Little Havana, Miami, where people have been celebrating the death of Fidel Castro all day https://t.co/iRG8RmzqFz pic.twitter.com/fuEgyGb29v

            — CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016

            But he lived long enough to see a historic thaw between Cuba and the United States. The two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in July, and President Barack Obama visited the island this year.
            Obama extended “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” as he offered his condolences to Castro’s family in a statement.
            “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” he said.
            “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

            Historic figure of the 20th century

            To some, Castro became a romantic figure and a legendary survivor despite what Cuban officials say were more than 600 attempts to kill him. During a rare public appearance in April, Castro marveled that he had lived to his ninth decade.
            “Soon I will turn 90 years old, never would such a thing have occurred to me, and it’s not the outcome of any effort; it was fate’s whim,” Castro said, discussing his health, usually a taboo subject on the island. “Soon I will be like everyone else. To all of us comes our turn.”
            Castro had many admirers, who saw him as a stalwart with his ubiquitous military fatigues and fiery oratory. He clung to a socialist economic model and one-party Communist rule, even after the Soviet Union disintegrated and most of the rest of the world concluded that state socialism was an idea whose time had come and gone.
            The Cuban Communist Party mourned for “the commander of the Cuban Revolution” with the hashtag #UntilVictoryAlwaysFidel.

            #Cuba Falleció el Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana #FidelCastro #HastaLaVictoriaSiempreFidel

            — Partido Com. de Cuba (@PartidoPCC) November 26, 2016

            Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed Castro as a “great leader” for the Cuban people and said China had lost “an intimate and sincere friend,” according to a statement read out on Chinese state TV.
            “He achieved immortal historical achievements for the development of world socialism. He was the great person of our era, and people and history will remember him,” Xi said. “Great Castro will live forever. “
            Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Castro a friend of Mexico, who had promoted bilateral relationships based on “respect, dialogue and solidarity.”

            Lamento el fallecimiento de Fidel Castro Ruz, líder de la Revolución cubana y referente emblemático del siglo XX.

            — Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) November 26, 2016

            In an official Kremlin statement sending condolences to the Cuban people, Russian President Vladimir Putin remembered him as a “symbol of an era in recent world history” and “a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”
            Putin saluted Castro for building a “free and independent Cuba” and described him as “an influential member of the international community.”
            Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he and Castro had become “very good friends,” in comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass, and that the Cuban “was an outstanding personality, unique.”
            Pakistani politician Imran Khan hailed Castro as “an iconic revolutionary leader” who stood against the United States.

            1. Today the world lost an iconic revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who liberated his nation from all vestiges of imperialism.

            — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 26, 2016

            2. Castro reasserted the Cuban nation’s dignity & self worth that withstood US aggression & became a global ldr for anti colonial struggles

            — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 26, 2016

            Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.”

            Fidel Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.

            — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 26, 2016

            Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Castro as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation.”

            ‘End of an era for Cuba’

            Other leaders noted Castro’s global impact but did not praise a man whose record on human rights was questionable.
            French President François Hollande said Castro “embodied the Cuban revolution, with the hopes it aroused and then in the disillusion it provoked. Actor of the Cold War, he corresponded to an era which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Hollande also said he welcomed the recent thaw in US-Cuba relations.
            UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had had a “lively discussion” with Castro during a visit to Cuba in 2014. “Under former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health. I hope Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity,” Ban said.
            Pope Francis sent a telegram to Raul Castro expressing his sorrow for Castro’s family and the Cuban people, and offering his prayers.

            Dissidents repressed

            Many viewed Castro as an enemy of human rights, who suppressed and imprisoned dissidents.
            “I am shedding tears tonight, but they’re tears of joy,” said Armando Salguero, a Miami Herald columnist. “Hell has a special place for Fidel Castro and there’s one less vacancy in hell tonight.”
            He said many Cubans were cheering, because they had been forced to come to the United States when they couldn’t have the freedom to make a life in their homeland.
            Repressive laws allow the government to jail and punish its critics, such as dissidents and journalists with long prison sentences, according to Human Rights Watch. The government also uses beatings and public acts of shaming, the organization reported.
            US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who fled Cuba with her family when she was 8 and went on to become the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, cautioned that “the death of one dictator will not usher a new wave of change because the rulers of Cuba, whether it’s Fidel, Raul, whatever names you give them, they just rule over Cuba with an iron fist.”

            A tyrant is dead + a new beginning can dawn on the oppressed island of #Cuba.#Cuban ppl must b guaranteed #liberty, #democracy, #humanrights

            — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 26, 2016

            Speaking to CNN, she lashed out at the Canadian Prime Minister’s statement describing Castro as a “legendary revolutionary.
            “I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba,’ ” she said, while urging any foreign leaders praising Castro to look at the “real record” of his decades in charge.
            “The only thing that Fidel has been successful in, has not been health nor education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding onto power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections,” she said.

            CNN’s Patrick Oppman — the only US TV correspondent in Cuba — reported from Havana, while Madison Park wrote from San Francisco and Laura Smith-Spark from London. CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Julia Jones, Alla Eshchenko, Nanling Fang, Yuli Yang, Simon Cullen, Richard Roth, Eliza Mackintosh, Diane Ruggiero and Camille Verdier contributed to this report.

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              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA — For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions, and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe the death of Castro at age 90 will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western Hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006, and the system he created has carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back the changes.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represented, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student who was walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him that Castro had died and that this time it wasn’t a mere rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but, perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: They went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor of the Cuban journal Casa de Las Americas. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” Alonso said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years, foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably healthier brother, Raúl, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raúl Castro plans to step down in 2018, and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Fidel opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land Monday.

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans access to health care, education and food rations but has failed for decades to provide them with more than the essentials. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              With the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 2013, Fidel Castro lost his political protege and Cuba’s main economic benefactor. Chávez sent billions of dollars in petroleum shipments, helping the government in Havana keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled, and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raúl Castro led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raúl Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the Communist one, Raúl added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hard-liners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than with his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raúl Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid, state-dominated economic model. “Raúl Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him,” he said. “But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raúl probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that Trump could tighten the Cuba trade embargo and toughen travel restrictions. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statues of himself to be put up in Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lie in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 when they seized power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to Havana’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              Castro’s death is “a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along Havana’s Malecón seawall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning.

              “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)

              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA — For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions, and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe the death of Castro at age 90 will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western Hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006, and the system he created has carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back the changes.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represented, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student who was walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him that Castro had died and that this time it wasn’t a mere rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but, perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: They went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor of the Cuban journal Casa de Las Americas. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” Alonso said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years, foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably healthier brother, Raúl, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raúl Castro plans to step down in 2018, and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Fidel opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land Monday.

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans access to health care, education and food rations but has failed for decades to provide them with more than the essentials. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              With the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 2013, Fidel Castro lost his political protege and Cuba’s main economic benefactor. Chávez sent billions of dollars in petroleum shipments, helping the government in Havana keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled, and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raúl Castro led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raúl Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the Communist one, Raúl added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hard-liners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than with his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raúl Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid, state-dominated economic model. “Raúl Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him,” he said. “But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raúl probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that Trump could tighten the Cuba trade embargo and toughen travel restrictions. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statues of himself to be put up in Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lie in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 when they seized power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to Havana’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              Castro’s death is “a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along Havana’s Malecón seawall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning.

              “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)

              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA — For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions, and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe the death of Castro at age 90 will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western Hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006, and the system he created has carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back the changes.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represented, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student who was walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him that Castro had died and that this time it wasn’t a mere rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but, perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: They went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor of the Cuban journal Casa de Las Americas. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” Alonso said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years, foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably healthier brother, Raúl, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raúl Castro plans to step down in 2018, and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Fidel opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land Monday.

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans access to health care, education and food rations but has failed for decades to provide them with more than the essentials. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              With the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 2013, Fidel Castro lost his political protege and Cuba’s main economic benefactor. Chávez sent billions of dollars in petroleum shipments, helping the government in Havana keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled, and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raúl Castro led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raúl Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the Communist one, Raúl added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hard-liners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than with his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raúl Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid, state-dominated economic model. “Raúl Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him,” he said. “But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raúl probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that Trump could tighten the Cuba trade embargo and toughen travel restrictions. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statues of himself to be put up in Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lie in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 when they seized power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to Havana’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              Castro’s death is “a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along Havana’s Malecón seawall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning.

              “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)

              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA — For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions, and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe the death of Castro at age 90 will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western Hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006, and the system he created has carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back the changes.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represented, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student who was walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him that Castro had died and that this time it wasn’t a mere rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but, perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: They went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor of the Cuban journal Casa de Las Americas. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” Alonso said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years, foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably healthier brother, Raúl, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raúl Castro plans to step down in 2018, and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Fidel opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land Monday.

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans access to health care, education and food rations but has failed for decades to provide them with more than the essentials. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              With the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 2013, Fidel Castro lost his political protege and Cuba’s main economic benefactor. Chávez sent billions of dollars in petroleum shipments, helping the government in Havana keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled, and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raúl Castro led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raúl Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the Communist one, Raúl added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hard-liners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than with his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raúl Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid, state-dominated economic model. “Raúl Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him,” he said. “But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raúl probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that Trump could tighten the Cuba trade embargo and toughen travel restrictions. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statues of himself to be put up in Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lie in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 when they seized power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to Havana’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              Castro’s death is “a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along Havana’s Malecón seawall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning.

              “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)

              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA — For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions, and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe the death of Castro at age 90 will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western Hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006, and the system he created has carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back the changes.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represented, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student who was walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him that Castro had died and that this time it wasn’t a mere rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but, perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: They went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor of the Cuban journal Casa de Las Americas. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” Alonso said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years, foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably healthier brother, Raúl, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raúl Castro plans to step down in 2018, and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Fidel opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land Monday.

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans access to health care, education and food rations but has failed for decades to provide them with more than the essentials. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              With the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 2013, Fidel Castro lost his political protege and Cuba’s main economic benefactor. Chávez sent billions of dollars in petroleum shipments, helping the government in Havana keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled, and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raúl Castro led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raúl Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the Communist one, Raúl added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hard-liners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than with his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raúl Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid, state-dominated economic model. “Raúl Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him,” he said. “But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raúl probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that Trump could tighten the Cuba trade embargo and toughen travel restrictions. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statues of himself to be put up in Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lie in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 when they seized power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to Havana’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              Castro’s death is “a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along Havana’s Malecón seawall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning.

              “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)

              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA — For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe the death of Castro at age 90 will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western Hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006, and the system he created has carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The Communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back the changes.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represented, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student who was walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him that Castro had died, and that this time it wasn’t a mere rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but, perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: They went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor of the Cuban journal Casa de Las Americas. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” Alonso said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years, foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably healthier brother, Raúl, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raúl Castro plans to step down in 2018, and vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Fidel opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land Monday

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans access to health care, education and food rations but has failed for decades to provide them with more than the essentials. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              With the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 2013, Fidel Castro lost his political protege and Cuba’s main economic benefactor. Chávez sent billions of dollars in petroleum shipments, helping the government in Havana keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled, and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raúl Castro led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raúl Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the Communist one, Raúl added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hard-liners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raúl Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid, state-dominated economic model. “Raúl Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him,” he said. “But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raúl probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that Trump could tighten the Cuba trade embargo and toughen travel restrictions. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statutes of himself to be put up in Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lay in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 when they seized power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to Havana’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              Castro’s death is “a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along Havana’s Malecón sea wall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning.

              “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)

              Cubans worry about what comes next after Fidel Castro's death – Washington Post

              By ,

              HAVANA – For the nearly five decades Fidel Castro ruled this country, he was a daily presence in Cubans’ lives. His speeches echoed on their televisions and his stern rules shaped almost every aspect of their existence.

              They woke up Saturday and found out he was gone.

              A numbness has set in here since. Few Cubans seemed to believe Castro’s death will bring immediate transformation of their country, the only one-party state in the Western hemisphere. After all, poor health forced Castro aside in 2006. The system he created has long since carried on without him.

              But Castro’s death nonetheless represents a psychological break with Cuba’s past and the figure who has dominated it for three generations. There is enormous, built-up pressure, especially among younger generations, for a faster pace of change that brings new freedoms and better living standards.

              Now the Cuban government must manage those expectations at a time at a moment of new uncertainty in the island’s all-important relationship with the United States. The Communist government has tentatively embraced improved relations with the Obama administration and a new surge of American visitors. Many here fear that President-elect Trump will roll back the reforms.

              Among the Cubans who want change to come faster, and who are tired of the political divisions and tensions that Castro represents, there was a hushed sense of relief Saturday at the news of his death.

              “People here are so tired. He destroyed this place,” said a university engineering student walking home Saturday morning from the market in Havana’s central Vedado neighborhood. He began trembling when a reporter told him Castro had died and this time it wasn’t a false rumor.

              “I think you have to look at both the good and the bad, but there was more bad,” said the student, who declined to give his name, saying it would land him in trouble at school.

              As reports of the Cuban leader’s death spread Saturday morning in the capital, there were no signs of unrest but perhaps just as tellingly, not much spontaneous mourning either. Cubans went on with their lives in a world that is very much Castro’s creation: they went shopping at government stores, waited in government hospitals and tuned in to (or turned off) round-the-clock Castro tributes on government television.

              “This isn’t like the death of Stalin, or Mao, when people threw themselves into the streets and thought the world was coming to an end,” said Aurelio Alonso, a sociologist and the deputy editor at Cuba’s Casa de Las Americas journal. It was something they have been expecting. “People are mourning, sure,” he said, “but he had a long life.”

              [Facing new test, Cuba’s revolution circles back]

              For years foreigners speculated about whether the death of Castro would bring dramatic change. But Castro’s succession plans were completed years ago, leaving his noticeably-healthier younger brother Raul Castro, 85, fully in charge. Cuba’s military and security services remain firmly in control of the state and allow no organized opposition or public dissent.

              Raul Castro plans to step down in 2018, and vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, a career Communist Party official who is not related to the Castros, is in line to succeed him.

              Cuba has mostly recovered from the post-Soviet austerity period that left Cubans hungry and desperate in the early 1990s, when riots broke out in Havana and Fidel Castro showed up to quell the crowds.

              Castro opened Cuba up to tourism, and a record 3.5 million visitors arrived last year, far more than the number who came here before his 1959 Revolution shuttered the island’s casinos and led to the seizure of all the hotels. Those travelers include an increasing number of U.S. visitors, providing a cash infusion at a moment when economic growth is otherwise stalled. The first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than a half-century is scheduled to land on Monday

              Still, there is growing discontent with the system Castro created and declared “irrevocable.”

              The socialist system affords Cubans basic access to health care, education, and food rations, but has failed for decades to provide them with enough to survive on. And the country’s economic outlook appears to be going from bad to worse.

              Fidel Castro lost his political protégé and Cuba’s main economic benefactor, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in 2013. Chavez sent billions of dollars’ in petroleum shipments, helping the government keep the lights on and the air conditioners running, with enough left over for Cuba to re-export the oil at a profit.

              But oil prices have crashed, Venezuela is mired in crisis, and no other easy income source is coming to the Cuban government’s rescue. Cuba’s economic growth is once more stalled and emigration is at a 10-year high.

              Modest steps toward economic liberalization undertaken by Raul Castro have led to a boom in small businesses, especially restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, but the opening has lost momentum. The government has kept American firms at arm’s length despite a surge of interest from U.S. businesses after Obama’s normalization moves.

              Some have speculated that Raul Castro may pick up the pace of reforms now that his older brother is gone.

              In an April speech, the younger Castro quipped that Cuba was not actually a one-party state: “We have two parties here, just like in the United States,” he said. “Fidel’s and mine.”

              Fidel’s is the communist one, Raul Castro added, “and you can call mine whatever you want.”

              Critics found nothing to laugh at, but former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said it wasn’t entirely a joke. Hardliners within Cuba’s hermetic power circles identified more with Fidel than his younger brother.

              Many of the liberalization moves introduced by Raul Castro represent an implicit rejection of his older brother’s rigid state-dominated economic model. “Raul Castro will have a freer hand now,” Alzugaray said.

              “It’s not that Fidel Castro would have opposed him. But it’s like when you have a sick relative and don’t want to upset them. There are things Raul probably didn’t want to do while his brother was still around.”

              But many Cubans worry about the possibility that that Trump could re-tighten the Cuba trade embargo and tighten up travel restrictions again. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would reverse Obama’s policy of expanding relations with Cuba unless the Castro government allowed more religious freedom and freed political prisoners.

              [A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project]

              Fidel Castro never wanted any statutes of himself to be put up around Cuba. There are no streets or parks named for him. That will almost certainly now change.

              The government has declared a nine-day period of mourning, heavy with revolutionary symbolism.

              Castro’s body will lay in state Monday and Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Cubans will be able to “pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution,” according to a statement in the Communist Party daily Granma.

              After a mass gathering in the plaza planned for Tuesday, Castro’s body will be carried to Santiago de Cuba, at the southeastern end of the island, reversing the journey that his bearded rebels made in January 1959 after seizing power.

              Castro will be cremated on the morning of Dec. 4 and laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, the site of the tomb of Cuban national hero José Martí and other 19th-century independence leaders.

              On Saturday, police and soldiers sealed off access to the city’s central plaza, where most of the headquarters of the Communist Party and government buildings are clustered. But there was no heavy security deployment visible in the city’s streets.

              “It’s a huge loss for us,” said Jose Candia, 70, who woke up to the news and took his dachshund for a walk along the Malecón sea wall.

              Candia and other older Cubans dedicated their entire lives to low-paying government jobs that demanded absolute loyalty and discipline. The news of his death seemed to hit them hardest.

              “I think of his bravery. His honesty. I’ve been committed to him all my life,” said Yolanda Valdes, 75, a history teacher and Communist Party member. Tears began running down her face. She said that she had been crying all morning. “I adored him,” she said.

              Read more:

              A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project

              How Cuba is and isn’t changing a year after the thaw with the United States

              The other migrant crisis: Cubans are streaming north in large numbers

              Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

              Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

              Let’s block ads! (Why?)