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A Week of Memorials for Castro Begins in Cuba


A man takes a pictures with his cellphone during a gathering to mourn the death of Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, outside the Cuban embassy in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 27, 2016.

A man takes a pictures with his cellphone during a gathering to mourn the death of Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, outside the Cuban embassy in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 27, 2016.

A huge crowd of people is expected to converge Monday on Cuba's world famous Revolution Square in Havana as the country begins a week-long goodbye to Fidel Castro, the island's revolutionary leader -- a man whom many loved and many loathed.

"Who is not going to be affected by a man who did everything for us," said Jose Luis Herrera. "He is the one who guided me and my children. He is my god."

Berta Soler, leader of the anti-Castro group Ladies in White said, "We are not happy about the death of a man, a human being. We are happy about the death of dictators."

The 90-year-old Castro died Friday. He had long been ill. A cause of death has not been announced.

Flags are flying at half-staff across the island.

Beginning Wednesday, Castro's ashes will be carried eastward across the country, in a three-day procession that follows in reverse the route taken by the young revolutionary and his rebel fighters as they advanced on Havana from the Sierra Maestra mountains before taking power in January 1959.

He will be buried December 4 in the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery.

In Miami Sunday, a representative from the Ladies in White, joined with other dissident organizations in calling for unified public demonstrations Wednesday in support of democracy in Cuba.

The Ladies in White group was founded in 2003 to support husbands jailed for political opposition in the one-party nation. The group has organized weekly marches in Havana for the past 13 years.

In Miami, Florida's "Little Havana" Cuban Americans danced in the streets to celebrate Castro's passing, marking an official end to Castro's controversial life and rule. Men and women, young and old, marched and danced while others demanded a democratic future for their ancestral homeland.

Video showed others banging pots and pans and chanting words of hope for Cuba in Spanish.

Castro, raised near Santiago de Cuba, launched his first failed attempt at revolution in 1953 from the southeastern city. He would go on to mount a second revolt against the rule of Fulgencio Batista, toppling the U.S.-backed leader and seizing power in 1959.

He eventually set up a one-party socialist government, which constantly defied Washington and allied itself with the former Soviet Union.

Castro handed power to his brother Raul in 2006, although he still exercised some power behind the scenes until recent years.

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