Today the world awoke to the news that Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution has died. Heralded by some as a hero, a mastermind who freed Cuba from the clutches of Capitalism. Condemned by others as a villain with little regard for human rights, ‘Fidel’ was in his lifetime certainly a divisive figure, and surely will continue to be so after death.
What’s undeniable is the monolithic status he occupies in twentieth century history. It seems everybody knows at least who Fidel is, if nothing else about him. Yet whether regarded as a liberator or a dictator his passing surely marks the end of an era.
What interests me the most from a travel perspective is the mood of the place. Having been in Cuba myself only a month ago, it would be interesting to see first-hand the reactions of Cubans to such an event – albeit one that was coming sooner or later. Announcing 9 days of mourning and a memorial to be held on the 4th December, shock is bound to resonate around the island nation, for the death of a figure who seemed omnipresent for many decades.
Surely, the world will hold its breath to see how events unfold, and how Cuba’s place in the world may change – if it all.