Leader of the Cuban Revolution and former Cuban president, Fidel Castro, who survived 638 assassination attempts, passed away aged 90 years old.
Leader of the Cuban Revolution and former Cuban president, Fidel Castro, died on 91st year of his life, chairman of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, brother of the deceased, Raul Castro said on Cuban state television.
“With profound sadness I am appearing to inform our people and our friends across [Latin] America and the world that today, 25 November 2016, at 10.29pm, Fidel Castro, the commander in chief of the Cuban revolution, died,” Raul Castro said.
He also added that in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, “his remains will be cremated.”
Raul Castro concluded his address with the famous revolutionary slogan: “Onwards to victory!”
— CubanitoenCuba (@CubanitoenCuba) 26 ноября 2016 г.
On Saturday, the Cuban government announced that Fidel Castro’s ashes will be interred at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba on December 4. The public viewing for Fidel Castro will begin on November 28 near the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana. On November 29, a demonstration will take place at the Revolution Square in the Cuban capital. Reportedly, the next day after the demonstration, transportation of Fidel Castro’s ashes will be begun in Santiago de Cuba on a route, retracing the path of rebels, led by Fidel Castro in January 1959, after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista’s regime.
The government decreed nine days of mourning – from November 26 to December 4, “public activities and shows will cease, the national flag will fly at half mast on public buildings and military installations.”
A number of leaders of countries of all over the world, politicians and diplomats have already expressed their condolences to Cuban people.
“The name of this distinguished statesman is rightly considered the symbol of an era in modern world history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram to Raul Castro.
French President Francois Hollande said that Fidel Castro “represented, for Cubans, pride in rejecting external domination.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the main ally of Cuba in the region, wrote on his Twitter: “It is up to us to continue his legacy and carry his flag of independence.”
Chinese president Xi Jinping said that “Chinese people have lost a good and true comrade. Comrade Castro will live forever.” He also added that Castro was “a great man of our time” and that “history and people will remember him.”
Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang, who was among the last heads of state to visit Castro on November 16, said that “for all Vietnamese, Fidel was a great friend, a comrade and a very close brother”. He also added that he was “a pure symbol of true internationalism in the fight for independence of nations.”
Fidel Castro was born in the village of Biran in a family of an owner of a large sugar plantation in the Cuban province of Oriente. In 1945 he entered the University of Havana, received a law degree. In 1953 Fidel Castro led the assault on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was arrested and sentenced to a long prison term. In December 1956, Fidel Castro, his brother Raul and Argentine doctor Ernesto Che Guevara led the revolutionary movement against Batista in the island. After the victory of the revolution in January 1959, Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba. In 1965, he became the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and transformed Cuba into a one-party socialist republic. From 1976 to 2008, he held positions of chairman of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, as well as a position of the Supreme Commander. On February 19, 2008, 5 days prior to the expiration of the term of office, Fidel Castro announced that he refused from a new term in office. On April 19, 2011, Castro officially resigned as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. All his powers passed to his brother, Raul Castro.
In December 2011, Fidel Castro was included in the Guinness Book of Records as a man, who survived the greatest number of assassination attempts – 638. In 167 cases, participants of conspiracies were arrested and brought to the trial; judicial cases of some of them were transferred to judicial authorities of other countries. Reportedly, the most part of assassination attempts was prepared by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at the time, when Fidel Castro held office of the President of Cuba. From the famous exploding cigars to poison pills, hidden in a cold-cream jar, the CIA and Cuban exile groups spent nearly 50 years devising ways to kill Fidel Castro, however, they did not manage to do it.
“Soon, I will be turning 90 years old. I never imagined it and it has not been the fruit of any labor. It was purely a whim by destiny. Soon I will be like everybody else, everybody will get their turn, but ideas of the Cuban Communists will stay as proof that on this planet, if you work with diligence and dignity, you can produce material and cultural values, which people need, and we must to work hard to get them,” Fidel Castro said during one of his latest speeches in April 2016.