(WFLA) – News Channel 8’s Jeff Patterson is in Cuba reporting on the reaction to longtime leader Fidel Castro’s death.
His reign over the island-nation 90 miles from Florida was marked by the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The bearded revolutionary, who survived a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died 10 years after ill health forced him to hand power over to Raul.
Currently, Castro’s ashes are being taken across Cuba in a a flag-draped cedar coffin. The ashes are being taken through small towns and cities where Castro’s rebel army fought its way to power nearly 60 years ago.
Tens of thousands of people lined the route, which retraces in reverse the path of the triumphant march of Castro and his rebels across the island to enter Havana on Jan. 1, 1959. Many waved flags and shouted “Long may he live!”