Cuba declares 9 days of national mourning for Fidel Castro

The Cuban government has declared nine days of national mourning for the death of Fidel Castro, ending when his remains are interred on Dec. 4.

Ashes of Cuban leader to be interred in Santiago, where he attended school

Castro, seen in this 1961 photo, was born on Aug. 13, 1926, in what was then Oriente province in the eastern part of the island of Cuba. (The Associated Press)

The Cuban government has declared nine days of national mourning for the death of Fidel Castro, ending when his remains are interred on Dec. 4.

Public activities and events will be cancelled, and the Cuban flag will fly at half-mast outside public and military establishments. The Council of State says state radio and television "will maintain informative, patriotic and historic programming."

A memorial for the public to pay their respects will start Monday at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana and run until Tuesday at noon. On those days, Cubans throughout the country will have the chance to pay homage and pledge their allegiance by signing a "solemn oath of complying with the concept of the revolution."

There will be a mass gathering, starting at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, in Havana's Plaza of the Revolution, where Castro often addressed crowds for hours.

Castro formally stepped down in 2008, and public appearances became increasingly rare. In this 2016 photo, Castro is pictured at the Cuban Communist Party Congress in Havana. (Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate/Associated Press)

Starting Wednesday, Castro's ashes will travel throughout the country, leaving Havana for the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, retracing in reverse the route Castro took when the revolution triumphed in 1959.

The tour ends on Saturday, Dec. 3, with another mass gathering in the Plaza Antonio Maceo in the Santiago.

Cuba's government says Castro's ashes will be interred in the Tanta Ifigenia cemetery on Sunday, Dec. 4 in Santiago, a city that was key to his early life and the Cuban revolution. A funeral service is set to begin at 7 a.m. ET.

Castro stepped down from the presidency provisionally in 2006 due to a severe illness, and left office permanently two years later. He was succeeded by his younger brother Raul, who announced Fidel's death on state TV.

On Saturday, the nightly news started as usual on Cuban state television when suddenly President Raul Castro appeared, seated before a desk in military uniform and delivered the news that his older brother had died at the age of 90.


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