Great Cuban Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro Passes Away...Nine Days of Mourning Declared


HAVANA- Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, agiant of 20th century politics, has passed away, aged 90.

On Saturday, Cuba's Prensa Latina news agency reported the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. The revolutionary was known for his love of life, and was a figure recognized by both friends and foes as a legend of 20th century politics and history.

The Cuban Council of State on Saturday declared nine days of mourning for the death of the late leader.

A council statement said "during the national mourning public activities and shows will be halted, the national flag will be flown at half-mast in public buildings and military establishments and radio and television will broadcast informational, patriotic and historical programming."

 Having overthrown the Batista dictatorship in 1959, Castro and his fellow revolutionaries embraced socialism in Cuba, to the ire of the US superpower, just 90 miles from Cuba's shores. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Castro's Cuba actively struggled against colonialism and Western imperialism, and played an instrumental role in the non-aligned movement. In the 1990s, contrary to the expectations of many, Castro's Cuba not only survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, but lived on and preserved its independence.

Castro's passing has resulted in a virtual flood of condolences from leaders around the world. Russia, which has a long and rich history of relations with Cuba, thanks in no small part to the Fidel's personal efforts, was no exception. Russian officials, including President Putin, Prime Minister Medvedev, senators and lawmakers, have offered their condolences over Castro's passing, and marked their gratitude for the Cuban leader's immense contributions to the Russian-Cuban friendship.

According to Sputnik , Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a personal appeal to President Raul Castro and the Cuban people. "I express to you and to the whole Cuban people our deepest condolences on the passing of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, your brother Fidel Castro," Putin said in a telegram sent to the Cuban president.

"The name of this outstanding statesman is rightfully considered to be a symbol of an entire era in contemporary world history," the Russian President added. "The free and independent Cuba that was built by him became an influential member of the international community, and has served as an inspiring example for many countries and peoples."

Putin stressed that Fidel Castro had made a huge contribution to the development of Russian-Cuban relations, and to strategic cooperation between the two countries in all areas. Castro was "a sincere and reliable friend of Russia," according to the president.

"This strong and wise human being always looked with confidence to the future," Putin's telegram continued. "He embodied the highest ideals of politics, citizenship and patriotism, and was sincerely convinced in the rightness of the goal to which he devoted his whole life. His memory will live on forever in the hearts of Russian citizens," Putin concluded, adding that he wished the Castro family "courage and steadfastness in the face of this irretrievable loss."