In the middle of a national 9-day mourning period, the normally lively Cuban capital of Havana is somber and silent in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death. The revolutionary communist leader who captained the Cuban government for nearly 5 decades was loved and hated, feared and revered by many, and his passing at 90 has cast a pall over the land of mambo and mojitos.
A great many tourists on the island, a number higher than in past years due to the recent loosening of U.S. sanctions have found themselves immersed in a historical and unexpected moment in which there is a temporary national ban on live music, with most bars and clubs closed and almost all sales of alcohol suspended.
Today Castro’s ashes will begin to travel the reverse of the historic route he travelled across the island nation after coming to power in 1959, ending on Saturday upon arrival in Santiago de Cuba. There his funeral will take place in a local cemetery in the afternoon.
The normally vibrant streets of Havana and lively beaches of colourful Cuban towns have turned empty and ghostly silent in the wake of this momentous event. Fidel Castro, the man who survived a revolution, survived being the number one enemy of the most powerful nation in the world, and survived 638 highly planned assassination attempts by the CIA, has died.