Thousands in Cuba pay final respects to Fidel Castro

Reuters

Cubans are mourning the death of Fidel Castro, who ruled for half a century and resisted the US throughout the Cold War.

Tens of thousands of Cubans, some wrapped in red, white and blue national flags, have paid final respects in Havana to Fidel Castro.

Castro died on Friday at the age of 90, a decade after stepping down due to poor health and ceding power to his brother Raul Castro.

Castro led a leftist revolution, ruled for half a century and resisted the United States throughout the Cold War. He was admired by leftists and people of the developing world who saw him as a revolutionary champion of the poor, but he was vilified by many who viewed him as a dictator who oppressed Cubans and ruined the economy through socialism.

A large portrait of Cuba's late president Fidel Castro hangs from a building while people wait in line to pay their last ...
Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

A large portrait of Cuba's late president Fidel Castro hangs from a building while people wait in line to pay their last respects in Havana, Cuba.

"Long live Fidel! We can hear him, we can feel him, he'll always be here", chanted a crowd which gathered near Havana's Revolution Square. They held up banners that read "We are Fidel". 

READ MORE:
* Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies, aged 90
* World leaders react to the death of Fidel Castro
* Donald Trump dubs Fidel Castro a 'brutal dictator'
* Canada's Justin Trudeau mocked over Castro eulogy

 


The government invited people to the square for a two-day commemoration that started with a 21-gun salute heard throughout much of the capital.

Students of Havana University pay tribute to Cuba's late president Fidel Castro as they march to Revolution Square in ...
Reuters

Students of Havana University pay tribute to Cuba's late president Fidel Castro as they march to Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba.

Thousands queued in snaking lines to walk past a portrait of a young Fidel dressed in military fatigues, with a rifle and pack slung over his back. Raul Castro and his top lieutenants held a separate, private ceremony, where they signed a book in front of an identical portrait, and laid white flowers.

While some world leaders have sent admiring messages of condolence, Castro has been condemned by critics, including US President-elect Donald Trump, who in a weekend statement called him "a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people."

Before Castro's death, Trump had threatened to reverse US President Barack Obama's rapprochement with Cuba, which has included restoring diplomatic ties, increasing trade and pressing the US Congress to end years of economic embargo.

Fidel Castro was cremated on Nov 26 and the Cuban government has declared a nine-day period of mourning.
Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Fidel Castro was cremated on Nov 26 and the Cuban government has declared a nine-day period of mourning.

The Republican Trump, who takes office on January 20, reiterated that on Monday, saying in a Twitter message he would end the US "deal" with Cuba if the government in Havana did not reciprocate with "a better deal for the Cuban people". He did not give details of what this might entail.

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Castro was cremated on Saturday and the government has declared a nine-day period of mourning.

His ashes will be carried in a cortege to a final resting place in Santiago de Cuba, the city in eastern Cuba where he launched the revolution.

 - AAP

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