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Cuba to Observe Nine Days of Mourning for Fidel Castro

  • VOA News

People with images of Fidel Castro gather one day after his death in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 26, 2016. Cuba will observe nine days of mourning for the former president.

People with images of Fidel Castro gather one day after his death in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 26, 2016. Cuba will observe nine days of mourning for the former president.

Cuba's Communist Party has decreed nine days of national mourning for Fidel Castro, in a directive that will largely shutter day-to-day life on the island nation until December 4 as Cubans commemorate Castro's life in a series of memorials and vigils.

The plans were announced Saturday by the party's powerful central committee, hours after Cuban state television announced Castro's death. The broadcast said the 90-year-old former leader was to be be cremated, but it offered no further details.

During the official time of grieving, the committee has banned all public activities and public entertainment in the country. A party statement also said radio and television broadcasts would be limited to "informative, patriotic and historic programs."

Authorities said Cubans could show their respects beginning Monday morning at the Havana memorial to 19th-century poet and independence leader Jose Marti. Further public mourning is scheduled Tuesday in Havana's Plaza of the Revolution, as well as at designated sites nationally.

On Wednesday, Castro's ashes will be carried eastward across the country in a three-day procession that follows in reverse the route taken by the young revolutionary and his rebel fighters as they advanced on Havana from the Sierra Maestra mountains before taking power in January 1959.

Castro will be buried December 4 in the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery.

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