Candles and flowers around a picture of Fidel Castro in Havana. Photo: 26 November 2016

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The nine-day mourning interval will final till four December

Cuba is mourning its revolutionary chief and former President Fidel Castro, whose dying was introduced late on Friday and has plunged the nation into 9 days of mourning.

The physique of the 90-year-old was resulting from be cremated at a personal ceremony in Havana on Saturday.

Some world leaders have been paying tribute to the 20th century icon.

US President-elect Donald Trump, nevertheless, described Fidel Castro as a “brutal dictator”.

Castro got here to energy in 1959 and ushered in a Communist revolution, defying the US for many years.

His supporters seen him as a person who stood as much as America in the course of the Chilly Conflict and returned Cuba to the individuals. His critics, nevertheless, referred to as him a dictator.

A hero and a tyrant – obituary

His life in pictures

A revolutionary at home and abroad

Flags are flying at half-mast on authorities buildings throughout the island, as many odd Cubans are feeling grief on the lack of somebody who was part of their lives for many years.

In Miami, a US metropolis with a big Cuban group, there have been celebrations shortly after Castro’s dying was introduced, with individuals banging pots and cheering.

Media captionLittle Havana, a neighbourhood in Miami, celebrates Fidel Castro’s dying

The US minimize ties with Cuba in 1961 amid rising Chilly Conflict tensions and imposed a strict financial embargo which stays in place greater than half a century on.

Underneath President Barack Obama, the connection warmed and diplomatic ties had been restored in 2015.

Mr Obama mentioned historical past would “document and choose the large impression” of Castro. America was extending “a hand of friendship to the Cuban individuals” right now, he added.

Reaction as it happened

A mourning interval started on Saturday and will likely be noticed in Cuba till the urn with Castro’s ashes is taken to the south-eastern metropolis of Santiago de Cuba to be laid to relaxation there on four December.

Earlier than that, a collection of memorials will likely be held in Havana and Castro’s ashes will journey alongside the route of the Caravan of Freedom that occurred in January 1959.

Media captionSadness on the streets of Havana: “For us he’s an idol”

Many in Havana had been in tears on Saturday, genuinely moved by the lack of a person they contemplate to have freed their nation from Washington’s grasp, the BBC’s Will Grant studies.

Castro was the longest serving non-royal chief of the 20th Century. He had been retired from political life for a number of years, after handing energy to his brother Raul in 2006 due to sickness.

Reacting to information of Castro’s dying one girl, a authorities worker, mentioned: “I at all times mentioned it could not be. Though they mentioned it now, I say it might’t be.”

However Cuban dissident group Girls in White, which was based by wives of jailed dissidents, tweeted: “Might God forgive him, I will not”.

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How Castro defied the US

All through the Chilly Conflict, Fidel Castro was a thorn in Washington’s aspect.

An completed tactician on the battlefield, he and his small military of guerrillas overthrew the army chief Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread standard assist.

Inside two years of taking energy, he declared the revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature and allied Cuba firmly to the Soviet Union – a transfer that led to the missile disaster in 1962, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear warfare earlier than the Soviet Union deserted its plan to place missiles on Cuban soil.

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Castro within the mid-1950s with one other main revolutionary – Che Guevara

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Years later he would meet Pope John Paul II, regardless of declaring Cuba an atheist state

Regardless of the fixed menace of a US invasion in addition to the long-standing financial embargo on the island, Castro managed to take care of a communist revolution in a nation simply 90 miles (145km) off the coast of Florida.

Despised by his critics as a lot as he was revered by his followers, he maintained his rule by 10 US presidents and survived scores of makes an attempt on his life by the CIA.

He established a one-party state, with lots of of supporters of the Batista authorities executed. Political opponents have been imprisoned, the unbiased media suppressed. Hundreds of Cubans have fled into exile.

How has the world reacted?

Many world leaders have paid tribute to Castro. Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as a “dependable and honest good friend” of Russia, whereas Chinese language President Xi Jinping mentioned his individuals had “misplaced an excellent and true comrade”.

The Soviet Union’s final chief, Mikhail Gorbachev, mentioned: “Fidel stood up and strengthened his nation in the course of the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal stress on him.”

UN Secretary Common Ban Ki-moon acknowledged advances in schooling, literary and well being below Castro, however mentioned he hoped Cuba would “proceed to advance on a path of reform, higher prosperity and human rights”.

Pope Francis, who met Castro, an atheist, when he visited Cuba in 2015, referred to as his dying “unhappy information”.

In Venezuela, Cuba’s primary regional ally, President Nicolas Maduro mentioned “revolutionaries of the world should comply with his legacy”.

Fidel Castro’s key dates

Media captionIn April, Castro made a uncommon look at Cuba’s Communist Get together congress
  • 1926: Born within the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba
  • 1953: Imprisoned after main an unsuccessful rising towards Batista’s regime
  • 1955: Launched from jail below an amnesty deal
  • 1956: With Che Guevara, begins a guerrilla warfare towards the federal government
  • 1959: Defeats Batista, sworn in as prime minister of Cuba
  • 1961: Fights off CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles
  • 1962: Sparks Cuban missile disaster by agreeing that USSR can deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba
  • 1976: Elected president by Cuba’s Nationwide Meeting
  • 1992: Reaches an settlement with US over Cuban refugees
  • 2006: Fingers over reins to brother Raul resulting from well being points, stands down as president two years later

Cuba’s revolutionary leader