May Cubans will spend this week paying their respects to the deceased Fidel Castro, while others will continue celebrating his long-anticipated death. Fidel Castro governed the Republic of Cuba for 47 years. He was Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then President from 1976 to 2006 and was responsible for turning Cuba into a one-party socialist state. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011.
Mourning in Havana, Cuba
The streets of Havana were somber Saturday as citizens of Cuba mourned the death of their historical leader. Using the hashtag #HastaSiempreComandante (English: Forever Commander), Cubans posted endless photos across all social media platforms, many expressing their undying respect for Castro and the major social and political changes he made for the people throughout his years as a ruler.
Translation of text above: “To be an internationalist is to pay off our own debt to humanity. Whoever is unable to fight for others will never be able to fight for himself. -Fidel Castro”
For many, Fidel Castro Castro went down in history as a loved and respected revolutionary. His body was already cremated and on Wednesday, his ashes will be taken along the reverse route he took across the island after seizing power in 1959.
Celebration in Miami
The world saw quite the opposite response from Cuban exiles now residing in Miami, Florida. Revelers poured into the streets of the city and in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, the party began Saturday night as soon as Fidel Castro’s death was announced. Until mid-day Sunday they popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved both Cuban and American flags in pure celebration. They stood outside the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, “Satan, Fidel is now yours” and sung and danced for hours. To them, the death marked the potential end to a cruel and unjust dictatorship in their homeland.
Flights from Miami to Havana
Ironically enough, the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place this morning at the Miami International Airport launching American Airlines’ service to Havana. American Airlines’ flight 17 will be making its first journey shortly. The last flight between the USA and Cuba was 55 years ago.