News Channel 8 in Cuba: Jeff Patterson reports after Fidel Castro’s death

Bertha Socarras, 91, wipes away tears as she recalls the time she personally waited on the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, as a waitress in Camaguey, Cuba. AP Photo.
Bertha Socarras, 91, wipes away tears as she recalls the time she personally waited on the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, as a waitress in Camaguey, Cuba. AP Photo.

(WFLA) – News Channel 8’s Jeff Patterson is in Cuba reporting on the reaction to longtime leader Fidel Castro’s death.

Castro died Friday at the age of 90.

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.

Watch Jeff’s reports from MondayTuesday and Wednesday.

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!”

Others filmed the procession with cellphones, a luxury prohibited in Cuba until an ailing Castro gave up power in 2006 to his younger brother, Raul, who began a series of slow reforms.
The ashes will be interred Sunday in the far-eastern city of Santiago, ending a nine-day period of mourning that saw Cuba fall silent as thousands paid tribute to photographs of Fidel Castro and sign oaths of loyalty to his socialist, single-party system across the country on Monday and Tuesday.

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