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Celebration, Sorrow Mingle After Death of Fidel Castro

Associated Press

First published: November 26, 2016, 2:57 PM IST | Updated: November 26, 2016
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Celebration, Sorrow Mingle After Death of Fidel Castro
People in Miami celebrate the death of Cuba's Fidel Castro in front of Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, early on Saturday. (AP Photo)

The death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro prompted celebrations among the country's exiles in Miami, and expressions of sorrow from some world leaders.

Within half an hour of the Cuban government's announcement of the death of the 90-year-old revolutionary leader, cheers were heard in Miami's Little Havana. Thousands of people banged pots, waved Cuban flags and whooped in jubilation. "Cuba si! Castro no!" they chanted, while others screamed "Cuba libre!"

"Feels weird," said Gabriel Morales, a 40-year-old financial executive in Miami, whose parents left Cuba after Castro came to power.

"Been waiting to hear this news all my life. Seems unreal," Morales said in a text message to an AP reporter.

However, Castro was mourned by some national leaders.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the president of El Salvador, said he felt "deep sorrow ... of my friend and eternal companion, Commander Fidel Castro Ruz."

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that "Fidel Castro was a friend of Mexico, promoting bilateral relations based on respect, dialogue and solidarity."

"India mourns the loss of a great friend," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

The country's president, Pranab Mukherjee tweeted: "Heartfelt condolences on sad demise of Cuba's revolutionary leader, former president & friend of India, Fidel Castro."

Peter Hain, a former member of the British Cabinet and anti-apartheid campaigner, tempered praise for Castro with criticism of some aspects of his long rule.

"Although responsible for indefensible human rights and free-speech abuses, Castro created a society of unparalleled access to free health, education and equal opportunity despite an economically throttling USA siege," Hain said. "His troops inflicted the first defeat on South Africa's troops in Angola in 1988, a vital turning point in the struggle against apartheid."

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