tv The Seventies CNN November 25, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PST
blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. if you're still just managing your symptoms, talk with your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news on cnn. hi everyone, thank you for joining us. >> we are following breaking news. the former leader of cuba, fidel castro, dead at the age of 90 years old. >> former president and revolutionary leader was 9 # years old. for years he had been out of the public eye.
his proer, the current president, raoul castro, made the announcement on cuban television. here it is. >> translator: dear people of cuba, with profound pain i have to sadly inform you, to our friends, from our america, and to the world, that today, november 25th, 2016, at 10:29 in the evening, the commander and leader of the cuban revolution, fidel castro ruiz died. following the explicit instructions. his remains will be cremated in the early hours of tomorrow, saturday, the 26th. the organizing commission of the funerals will give our people detailed information about the organization of the post humous tribute that we will give to the founder of the cuban revolution. until victory, always. >> we can speak now to patrick altman, cnn correspondent int
cuba in the capital, havana. patrick what are the reactions you have been seeing? i know it's early in the night, almost the middle of the night in havana. what are you hearing from cube abs? what reactions are you getting? >> just about everyone that knows about it that i talked about learned it from me. we got the news fairly quickly. and began telling people. and there was just stunned silence. they almost didn't believe it. but they -- there wasn't mourning that i saw. peep weren't crying. but there was just a sense of really kind of forbidding and not knowing what the future bringings. to go back to what raoul castro was saying, we do now know that fidel castro will be cremated. typically -- i've lived here five years when there is an important death, a revolutionary figure, someone like hugo chavez, when they pass away a funeral atmosphere takes over the island. and music is no longer allowed
to be played in the streets. concerts are canceled. school is canceled. i remember when huga chavez here died in venezuela in my children's school they said the children couldn't sing that day. it takes effect across the island. this is so much bigger than that i expect the period of mourning will be days if not weeks and there will be a state funeral the likes of which scuba has never seen and one of the biggest we've seen in recent years. i think many cuban also ask what now? cuba will continue to be led by raoul castro. so we can expect major changes to take place because he has always said he is the first follower of fidel castro. he has followed hill all his life and will remain true to the revolution but for many rubance, they want to see economic changes, political openings, they want to see a better relationship with the united states. many of the cubance i have talked about over the years would like to see a continuation
of what president obama has embarked on. and now this is, even though it's mostly symbolic, it is going to concern a number of people about what the future looks like here because it is something that many people here have waited for for a long time. and now that it has dawned on them -- and remember, this is an island where people don't have internet their homes, they don't have wi-fi on their cell phones, they don't have roaming data. so a lot of people probably don't know yet and they will wake up and learn the news tomorrow. but across the island we are seeing -- people are calling relatives, people are hearing from relatives outside of cuba where the news is being played up a lot more. and over the next few days we do expect to see some mourning going on. but i think a lot of people very much concerned that this incredible event has happened and what will the impacts be on their lives here on an island that has suffered a lot
throughout the cuban revolution, of course the u.s. maintains an embargo o cuba. and many people after the funeral, after the mourning is completed will wonder how this impacts their lives. they have lived, most people on this island, they have lived their entire lives with a casse toe as president. so very much the era of fidel castro has come to an end tonight many people want to know what that means for them. >> cnn's dedicated correspondent to cuba, patrick ottoman live for us this hour. patrick pointing out that many cubance learned this information from him. the news just starting to spread. >> many don't know yet. >> they are still learning, still learning. which is fascinating. patrick please stand by. i want to bring in cnn correspond enrafael romo. he has covered the geopolitics of latin america for many years. rafael, patrick pointed this out, but many people in cuba are
looking at the changes that have been happening under raoul castro, under the u.s. president barack obama improved travel relations, improved relations as a whole. is this a possible opening for the raoul castro government to push more improvements and the bit of uncertainty with the united states now bringing in a new president, donald trump in january? >> make no mistake about it. the succession plans started ten years ago when fidel castro fell ill and wasn't able to continue governing the island. he gave the reigns to his brother raul, who became the president in 2008. since then they have been trying to educate, indoctrine ate some of the younger members of the party that are of the same political persuasion to take some of the positions that they will no longer be able to have. so it is not going to be an overnight change in cuba.
and the little change that has been over the last year has been because of they have had no choice. for example, when they started allowing people to have their own restaurants, that they changed the name, they don't call them restaurants. they call them -- it is a euphemism for letting people cook their own food. because because essentially people were dying of hunger, were starving to death. and because the government could not pay the salaries anymore of so many government employees. and so they had no other option. and so all of the changes that you have seen are because they have no other option as opposed to being open to the economy. the other thing that i was looking at just a few moments ago is the number of cubance migrating to the united states since president obama announced that there was going to be a
reopening of relationships, the relationship between cuba and the united states. 24,000 in 2014, the year the announcement was made. listen to this, the following year it was almost double that, 43,000. and then fiscal year 2016, meaning up until october, 46,000 people. that means of course that the economy on the island is not very good and that cubance are essentially voting with their feet, leaving again the island if droves. >> voting with their feet. voting with their wallets. >> let's go to patrick ottoman now who is on the ground in cuba in havana. throughout the course of this evening of course as we continue here on cnn to cover this, the passing of fidel castro we are going to look back at his life, his legacy. and we're going to look forward at what the future -- what may be in store for the future of cuba. right now i just want to look forward very short-term future. what can we expect as of tomorrow? we are expecting, as i
understand it, in a few hours, that the additional ceremonies are going to take place. >> we know fidel castro will be cremated early saturday. that announcement was made by raul castro earlier on this evening. late yesterday. late in the evening, very much unexpected speech that was not -- the population was not forewarned in. we heard raul castro like we have never heard him. he was emotional in his voice. i have heard many of his speeches. i have to say in the 1990s when i was covering cuba i had an opportunity to be in a room of fidel cat troes. in a room of his supporters. when he walked in you felt the air change. he had a presence. for the people who worshipped him it was one reaction. for many in cities like miami where i lived many years it was outright hatred.
he split families and forced people to flee the island and killed the economy. in the beginning of the revolution when he was taken prisoner he declared that history will be a solve me. the verdict against fidel castro has never been so cut and dried but that verdict will be written now. bass his life is over. a remarkable life. a life that affected so many people and has caused in cuba incredible divisions and changes. and this island will never be the same, no matter what happens now. so we expect a period of mourning. we expect, certainly, restaurants and bars to be closed. music will not be allowed to be played here. it is typically what happens when an important figure dies. we expect left leaning leaders from around the world to convene on havana. and certainly in the next days get a clearer picture of not
only when fidel castro's state funeral will be carried out, where he could be buried, and then get some sense in the weeks ahead of how this will change cuba. i think people are digesting this news. my del castro always said after all the false reports of his deaths over all the years nobody would believe it when it actually happened. i think there is something of a stunned silence when i've encountered people who have heard this news -- the news is still breaking here tonight because people don't have access to information sources. i'm watching cuban tv right now it is not being announced. it is an old documentary being played right now. unless people happen to see a u.s. newscast, has access to internet, a small slice of the population, they don't know. they won't know perhaps until they read grandma in the morning that they learn of the death of this leader who really touched
their lives, whether they wanted him to or not for so many years. his speeches -- cubans were forced to go listen to them and they were played on all the radio and tv here and really alive -- a life for decades revolved around fidel castro in cuba. that has come to an en. >> breaking news. again that many are learning from him. lets he look at images from miami. the reaction there. people as we are learning from our affiliates many are sill brating in the streets, celebrating th death of this former cuban leader. let's bring in a reporter from the miami herald live on the phone with us. thank you for being with us through the night. let's get your thoughts when you first heard this news. what did you think? >> well first of all i thought that it needed to be resourced. because there is a lot of -- or
there have been through the years a lot of starts and stops on the death of fidel castro. and oftentimes what you have gotten is either false reports or erroneous reports or just it never really was the truth. and so that happened so many times that i think people in south florida decided, well, we're going to, you know, fool us ones, shame on you, fool us a million times, shame on us, we're going to wait this time. but sure enough, i mean, this time is, if you will, directly from raul castro, the horse's mouth. so we are going to choose to believe it. >> again, we did hear, as you point out, from raul castro pointing out that fidel castro will be cremated in short order. >> interesting that that is the direction that they are going to go. i'm sure that there will be monuments built. i'm sure there will be statues
ere erected. and i'm sure that some day when the castros are no longer in power those monuments and those statues -- it reminds me of the saddam hussein statue in baghdad. the one that the americans pulled down with the help of the iraqis. that's going to be the fate of those castro statues. >> a cllist in with the miami herald joining us this hour. stay with us we'll come back to you. >> rafael rommo joins us now. cnn correspondent. rafael, as we now have the confirmation that fidel castro has passed away, as fidel passes, what dies with him? >> i feel like in a way one of the old vestiges of the cold war is dying with him. especially because the role that he played during the cuban missile crisis, and how close
the then ussr and the united states came to a full. >> -- full nuclear war and how he was right in the middle playing one against the other. and the other thing that comes to mind is how incredibly polarizing he was when he was alive, when he left government, and how incredibly polarizing he is this morning. i mean it's incredible to see the reaction from different political factions in latin american, in leftist countries like venezuela, bolivia, like aqua door. they are eulogizing castro as a hero, as a leader. in other countries they are talking about him as a villain, as somebody who murdered thousands and thousands of people. somebody who forced generations after generations to flee cuba. >> you just heard ar mannedo sal guerra putting him in the same
sentence as saddam hussein. >> that's right. there is no middle point with him. people either love him to death or hate him incredibly strongly. and more than ever, now that easy dead we can see that. >> let's look at what is happening right now on the streets of maechl i think we have images you can see. look at this. celebrations, given the news is no spreading. people know, fidel castro, this person that many have, you know, have been impacted in one way or another, they now know that he is dead at the age of 90 years old. rafael, as you point out, there have been so many assassination attempts against koss trae. there have been so many rumors about castro's death. ar mannedo pointed this out, there have been stop starts, people think that it happened but then they learn it was not. he said there was a resourcing to make sure this was indeed the case. >> those of us who have been in this business for more than 20
years have had so many false calls, people calling him dead. and all of a sudden he is not. >> right. >> and you go back and you ask questions and you do your homework, and the reality is that he is alive and well, this time is for real. even those things were controversial about his life. >> so what's going to happen over the next few days? he is going to be cremated. i'm not asking you the blow by blow. we don't have that information yet. i'm thinking more in terms of the politics of cuba. bass when you are dealing with funeral ceremonies and ceremonies after the passing of this kind of momentous anything our who marked not just his country but an entire century there is going to be politics. what should we call it? is it going to be nation building over the next few days. is it going to be building, consolidating the early mo, the legacy of the castros in cuba? >> number one priority is going to be honor the memory of fidel
castro from the cuban government's perspective. number two is going to be showing the international community that his model, his government model and his government system is well and alive. and as i said before, if you take look at for example, the last congress they had, the main thing about the congress is to show the government that is a united front, that there are very small changes and essentially what castro instituted all those years ago in the early 60s is alive and well today from their perspective. of course if you look at the misery, if you look at the hunger that is very palpable in cuba, and if you look at the people who are still leaving desperately, i was just talking a moment ago about the fact that 46,000 people just in fiscal year 2016 alone left, that tells you a very vivid picture of what cuba and cubans are really
experiencing. again, it's -- there's going to be a lot of efforts, a lot of propaganda to try to show the cuban government as a very united front in the next few days. >> as you point out, people either love him or hate him. >> that's right. >> let's bring in cnn writer and producer alejandro fran saka. he is live in miami. i he no you live in atlanta but you were vacationing in miami. w.h.o. what are you seeing? as we also bring back our live images if we still have them. we are seeing people celebrating in the streets. what are you seeing. >> i am here. >> you are live on the phone here on cnn. tell us what hearing and seeing. >> right now i'm seeing a bunch of people out in the middle of the street waving cuban flags. the rain is starting to come down. but that is not deterring anybody from coming out and
celebrating the deft fidel castro. plenty of cuban exiles out in full force. ng abouting pots and pans. they are honking horns like crazy right now. it is pandemonium. police are doing their best right now in order to keep some semblance of order here on the street here on calle ocho. it is cars as long as the eye can see. >> george, you know, it's going to be interesting at some point soon to get reaction from patrick upan ma, our correspond end in havana to compare the scenes. when we spoke to him moments ago i wasn't seeing any movement aniage station in a. he did point out that not many people living in cuba knows yet. marked contrast between reactions in miami and havana. >> you hear people banging on pots and pans. the other thing i just heard is
the chants of freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, that's something we have heard in miami for decades and decades. this moment makes me think of all the exiles who over the years have died waiting for this moment to happen, people who left cuba in the early 1960s and they thought they were going to be gone from the country for two years, three years, maybe five. not more than ten. and the reality was that they had to rebuild their lives in miami, rebuild their lives in florida and elsewhere in the united states and never went back. and they waited in vain for this moment to happen. from their perspective, from their children, this is an incredible moment that let's about alejandro back in. we are seeing images of people as you say, you are at calle ocho and talking about the images that we see, people celebrating in the streets. i'm curious if you have been
able to speak to anyone. rafael mentioned that you talk about these cuban exisles, the families of exisles. this is very personal to so many people. have you heard any personal reactions, thoughts about this? >> one of my closest friends is here in the celebration. and he is talked to me, fighting back tears talking about this moment for his mother and miss father who had to flee the island of cuba. telling me it is a bitter sweet moment. and he is wondering what will come of this in the end, especially with raul still in power. he is just wondering if the this is just -- just a blip on the radar and just a small bitter sweet moment for them. but nonetheless, they are going -- he says they are going to enjoy it for now because what castro took away from him and
his family was just way too much. >> alejandro fran seiko, on the phone with us from miami. he is a cnn writer and producer. stay with us we'll get back to you throughout the hour. >> here is a look back at castro's life and how he transformed the country over the decades. >> reporter: mobbed by admires fidel castro rode into havana in 1959 a conquering hero astride a jeep. he was just 32 when his revolution overthrew a corrupt dictatorship. he promised his country would hold free democratic elections. instead he ruled for the next 30 years trying to make cuba intoa his vision of a socialist utopia and a player on the world stage. castro was born here in the rural eastern cuba. even if he didn't always feel he
belonged there. castro's mother was an uneducated naid and didn't marry his father until after he was born. growing up, castro's southern cal mates teased him about being born out of wedlock. castro studied to be a lawyer. he soon became involved in revolutionary plots. he led a failed uprising. many of his followers were killed and castro was cap youred. during his trial castro declared history will be a solve me. after two years in prison, castro and his fellow revolutionaries were released and went into exile in mexico. they returned to cuba by boat again seeking to overthree the island's dictatorship. and once again, most of castro's soldiers were slaughtered by government troops. at first, castro was also reported as having been killed when it was revealed that he is escaped to the mountains, castro's legend and followers grew. cuba in the 1950s had earned the
reputation as a debotched mob run playground for americans seeking gambling cheap rum and sex shows. after castro took power many cubans hoped he would clean up the island while imrag friendly to the u.s. cuba's largest trading partner. as see in a an interview with cbs's edward r. murrah there were concerns about which side of the cold war he was on. >> there is no threat of bomb coming here in cuba. >> reporter: but castro's prosecution and execution of officials from the previous regime and the nationalization of americans property in cuba caused the u.s. to sever diplomatic ties with cuba. dozen cia plots to assassinate cuba failed, as did an invasion at the bay of pigs. now, in the soviet's camp, castro in 1962 invited moscow to secretly place nuclear missiles
on the island. discovery of the missiles led to a 13-day standoff between the u.s. and soviet union. nuclear war appeared imminent until the soviets agreed to remove the weapons. castro in & the u.s. would remain engaged in proxy wars as the cuban leader tried to permit socialist revolutions around the world. for many cubans, u.s. trade embargo and soviet file economic policies made life intolerable. communism was the only ideology permitted on the island. critics of the government faced lengthy jail sentences. castro announced anyone who wanted to doily to the u.s. 125,000 took him up on his offer. castro resisted major free market reforms or lifting prohibitions on life in cuba. as always, castro claimed he knew best. i don't know for his ever present cigar, beard, fatigues
and speeches, fidel ctro would remain a thorn in the side for ten u.s. presidents. it wasn't an assassination that removed him from power. but a botched stomach surgery. near death he turned over the reigns to brother raul. now a weak and infirm castro retreated from the public spotlight n. 2016 castro made a rare public appearance to call on communist party officials to remain loyal to his revolution after his death. soon i will be like all the rest, castro told the officials, everyone's turn comes. in cuba there are few monuments to phi kell castro, no streets are named after him. unlike other strong men the leader avoided creating a cult of personality. but children once year recreate castro's triumphant arrival as a
revolutionary to havana. once he is done with, fidel castro's influence will endure for years to come. patrick ottoman, cnn, havana. >> he is there in cuba following the story. we'll get back to they will. i want to read this statement. phi dahl castro a figure peter either loved or hated. this is from the residence is way land president, nicolas ma dura reading i just talked with president raul castro to transmit the solidarity and love for cuba for the depart your of commander fidel castro. we are getti reaction, that from nicolas ma bureau. in the streets of miami it is a different picture. people are celebrating the fact that fidel castro is dead. >> you can't overstate the influence that fidel castro has had over a generation of leaders in latin america, leaders and political figures. of course we'll be breaking that down. the emotion and the political
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recapping our breaking news here on cnn, for those of you who are just joining us, former cuban leader fidel castro has died. his life shall be shrouded in secrecy for years now as he avoided the public eye more and more as he aged. >> rumors of his death have come up every so often only to be quickly refuted, dispelled. but we can confirm at this hour fidel castro has indeed died in havana, cuba. died at the age of 90 years old. you cannot tell the story of the 20th century without this controversial leader. again, dead at 90 years old. >> even for cuban as who lofr
long since fled their homeland. fidel castro and his rule oifr the country remain charged issues. ed levin dara sat down with two generations to get their take. >> reporter: it's dinner time for the family. we asked them to sit down for a conversation about fidel castro in cuba to capture how cuban-american families have evolved more than 50 years after castro rose to power. when jorge ga receipto came to the united states in 1960 at age 19 he had hopes of crushing fidel castro's dictatorship. >> i was adamant at that time. now, you know, i guess everybody's tired. >> reporter: everybody's tired? >> everyone is tired because nothing has been done. or -- we lost a lot of opportunities. >> reporter: jorge and his wife lore des have now lived in the united states long hear the than they ever lived in a. fidel castro is a figure that
forever changed their lives? >> what can i tell you about fidel. he is fidel. he is a non-issue at this point. and i think cuba will ever change. where fidel goes, this rej mean will be the same with different people, younger people. maybe i'm wrong. i wish i am. >> reporter: are you as angry today toward him as you were 40, 50 years ago? >> i mean, you know, life makes you change. like the way you think. when i came here, i was too young. but he destroy our lives, you know? most of my life has been here. not my country. so in that sense it has affected me a lot. because i missed all the good things about cuba. >> reporter: but the american-born children of cuban exiles view cuba differently. >> i feel cuban but it is an
abstract for me. it is a culture, a transition. it's family, it's what you do. for them it's more raw. for me, it's -- i don't like castro. i would love to see a democracy there. i think most americans probably would. but what they feel is obviously going to be much greater. >> yeah, because we had to live through the bay of pigs invasion where we both lost a -- yeah. a lot of friends. you know, close friends. i remember clearly the october crisis of the measles. >> reporter: the talk turned toward what could have done differently in last 50 years to bring political change to cuba. it's not something the younger generation thinks of as much. time aft softened cuban american support of the trade embearingo. but jorge and lordes are adamant that castro's regime must go. >> the dinosaurs, if you want to call it, the cronies, they are in power right now, they don't want to let go, and they should have let go a long time ago if
they were really true patriots. yes. i'm very angry at that because we had a beautiful country. >> reporter: did you think you would be at this age and not going back to cuba? >> i did not. >> i thought we were going sooner. but apparently we're stuck here. >> reporter: i understand what you meant. it's not a bad place to be stuck. >> right. you are right. >> reporter: the day may soon come where they all visit cuba gether at least that remains the hope. ed lavendara, cnn, miami. >> ed, thank you. let's take these live images again in miami florida from our affiliate wfor at this point. again you see people standing there in the rain, in fact, people who are celebrating the fact that fidel castro has died. many in front of a cuban you
restaurant on miami's calle ocho. it's part of little havana there in miami. versailles is a very important place. i've been there when i covered news in miami. it is a very important meeting place for people to get together to talk politics. and at this hour they are meeting and it's typically, rafael, correct me if i'm wrong where people will have food together and talk about politics. this time they are coming to talk about fidel castro. >> it is the heart of little havana. where people meet to talk about politics, to talk about the memories they had when they lived back on the island. the talk about the latest occurrence that castro has had, the late rest political shift in the united states. but at the same time it preserved that cubanness of the cuban culture. the food, the way of talking gesticulating with your arms and
hands, it's where people ft free to be cuban in miami. more than anywhere else. i mean, not only in miami, but the entire united states. >> we'll continue to follow the situation in miami, of course. >> yeah, and around the world. we are bringing you all sides of the story here on cnn. let's bring in patrick upman now our correspondent in havana, cuba. patrick what are you hearing? i know it's the middle of the night? are you getting more reactions? you told us earlier you had been the one to inform many cubans. i know you are in the middle of this. are they calling you now? what are you hearing? >> yes, i'm seeing cuban friends that i have who have access to internet, which is a very small slice of the population starting to post on facebook. when i got the news and came rushing to the bureau, the streets were empty. cnn havana bureau employees told me when they came in there was
already a military presence on the streets. that's not something you usually see on the streets. imconstantly surprised how things don't occur the way you expect they would. i am watching cuban television right now. there is old documentaries about fidel. you wouldn't know by watching the government tv channel, the only news service that cuban residents receive, that fidel had died. the website, the official website of the party hasn't been updated. raul castro told me for years they wanted to be the ones to announce this news. they were tonight. they were very much concerned because of all the rumors over the years that the news would like in miami. very clearly because i've been talking to officials who are fairly high-ranking officials and they did not know this.
news was kept a family secret, a state kpret and allowed raul to break the news. many cubans still don't know about this. it hasn't been disseminated widely. they will wake up to the news tomorrow. and then we'll see reactions, celebrating, in mourning or indifference. several cubans are hearing about the news now or in the hours yet to come before this monumental news. i can tell you looking into the eyes of those who i broke the news to tonight, this is a moment whether they love fidel castro or hated him, this is a moment they will remember for the rester their lives. >> patrick, stand by with us. we will be come back to you short l shortly, i'm sure. >> rafael romo is on set with
us. i want to get back to you about everything is i've heard several times from several of our correspondents or guests or people in miami. the difference between a fidelista and a supporter of castro, a castroista? >> for example, i've been thinking a lot about some of the revolutionaries who fought alongside castro. and for whatever reason fell apart over the years. and some were betrayed and some were as nated. i was thinking about one of the original fighters against the relg eem of about teesa in the early 1950s, and because he had disagreement with castro about what they would do with the government. when castro started going in the direction of marxism and he didn't want to do so he was immediately imprisoned and spent 20 years in jail, from 1959 to 1979. after that he was liberated. but he ended up living in exile in the united states for a while. and then in costa rica.
that gives you an example of the kind of politics that castro played. he did not tolerate any difference of ideas, anybody who would tell him we should not be doing this, we should be doing that instead. i've been thinking also a lot about one of the original revolutionaries as well who died very mysteriously in a plane crash in 1959. many people have been wondering all he's years whether it was truly an accident or whether there was some sort of foul play there. we will never know. i have been thinking about also about the way that he played international politics. i remember an incident with the mexican president in the early 2000s where the mexican president, very vente fox didn't want to have an international conflict by having president george w. bush and fidel castro at the same table. so he asked fidel castro, you leave early, please, so that i don't have the situation.
well, fidel castro had the phone conversation recorded and after the fact we leased it to international media -- released it to international immediate why just to embarrass the president. that gives you the idea of the kind of politics he played. and he was not shy about having a fellow head of state be put in such a difficult position as he did with president very vente fox in the early 2000s. >> this is again a figure that -- there are some -- you will hear some responses like the president of venezuela, nicolas ma bureau, some who revered him. but when you look at the streets of miami, this is a man many people hated. people are dancing and celebrating in the streets as they hear the news that fidel castro has died at the age of 90 years old. stand by, our viewers here in the united states and around the world. cnn will continue to bring you the very latest on this breaking news right after the break. for adults with advanced non-small cell lung cancer
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♪ welt cull back to ow viewers here in united states and around the world. 45 minutes past the hour. 2:00 a.m. on the east coast and cnn is following breaking news. fidel castro dead at the age of 90 years old. the images you see here from cmn affiliate wsvn in little a vana where people are celebrating in the streets. there's rain coming down, but this is a place where people come together to talk politics outside the famous versailles restaurant in little havana. many people are excited, many people are relieved and thrilled to hear the news that the former cuban leader has died at 90 years old. to give a little background on fidel castro, born august 13th,
1926, in cuba. he led the cuban revolution in 1959. turning the island nation into the first communist regime in the western hemisphere, castro ruled 49 years i believe as the prime minister and the president of the name. he was known for his cigars, fiery speeches and brought social reforms to cuba, but has been widely criticized for oppressing the people there. many people now are excited to have cellphones and wi-fi. >> let's bring in carlos alberto montenerro. we have been looking at the pictures of what is going on in the streets of miami. we have seen specifically pictures from little havana. can you tell us what you saw and heard? >> well, a lot of people are very happy with what happened in havana. i saw, many years ago i saw
something similar when franco disappeared, many people start drinking champagne. in miami, this is the same type of reaction. >> carlos, as you see these images, give our viewers around the world some context about where this is happening and why it is so significant for many of these families of exiles, for many of the people there to gather at this location outside of the versailles restaurant. >> well, the restaurant is a place that became the most -- the iconic place for the cubans to gather and to have -- they open at 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, and that's -- that's the reason why it is very important for the cubans.
it also is a very big plaza, and there's -- usually there's a lot of people there protesting or in this case manifesting their happiness about what happened in cuba, because fidel castro was not just the leader of the revolution or of the dictatorship, was also a permanent figure in the mind of the cubans inside and outside the island. and that's -- that's a very important -- what happened, even though he's 90 years old, even though everybody was waiting for this news from things many years ago, anyway, this is a very
important news for the cuban society. and now raoul castro has the opportunity to, if he wants to transform the society, if he wants to change the society in a faster way, he has -- now he has the opportunity to do it. this is not the end of an era. this is just the end, the logical end of the dictator, but the era and the revolution and the government is still in the same hands, of the same people that made the revolution close to 60 years ago. >> carlos, if i could get you to talk a little bit more about that, what do you foresee for cuba now? >> it is very interesting because at the same time you
have a change of government in the united states and the disappearance of fidel castro in cuba, and you have two possibilities. one is that because the trump factor could affect the way cuban government will behave, or they may try to be even more closed society because they feel they are in danger with the enemy. that is something that could happen. or it could happen in the other way, that raoul castro without the weight of fidel castro, he could change the course of the revolution and could try to find a way to have a better relation with the united states and at the same time trying to open the
society to more political partie and to democracy and to the human rights, to protect -- or to permit, not to protect, to permit the human rights in cuba. you can expect one of those. it is very difficult to say what will do for raoul castro, but he has two -- he has the opportunity to close more society or to open more. but what i don't expect is that he will not do anything. this is something that i would not expect. he will do something. against the democracy or for the democracy, but he will not maintain the same course in the next few months. >> all right. thank you very much, carlos montero. we understand you're saying there isn't in your view going to be status kwo in havana, you
think it is going to change one way or another. we will stay across the story. >> let's bring in arman armando salgerro. he is a columnist with "the miami herald." he has been with us. i want to ask you this question. we are seeing images of jubilant people, people celebrating on the streets in little havana. i want to ask you, what are your feelings and your thought given uncertainty now? there were improved relations under president barack obama. with president-elect trump, he may take a different approach with cuba. with this news of castro's death, how do you see these things coming together? >> well, i hate to tell you but i'm a little bit pessimistic. i understand what your previous guest said that raoul castro will, you know, move one way or the other, but he will not remain at the status quo. i'm going to have to respectfully disagree. at the end of the day raoul
castro is a castro, and he has been in power for ten years. it is not like this giant weight has been lifted off of him. he was more than free to dial back or go forward at his whim basically for the last ten years, and he did none of those things. what i believe is going to happen is that they are going to entrench themselves and they are going to stay the course and they are going to decide that it is not their move, it is the move of the next incoming american government. let's not mistake the death of fidel castro with a new day in cuba. the government that has been in power for ten years is raoul castro's government. they remain. there's a new government coming into the united states, and so there is where the dynamic may change one way or the other.
but, remember, even as barack obama stretched out his hand to cuba and opened things up a little bit and so forth with executive orders, it was often raoul castro who pushed back and said, well, they're moving toward us, we remain firm where we are. that's notable because even in the face of friendship from president obama, the stance of the cuban government was we will remain status quo. i don't know. if you study history, i mean i guess there are some dictatorships that, you know, bow out gracefully and decide, okay, you have us, we're just going to take a break, we've had a good run, see you later. >> but, armando, if i can just pitch in there, what is interesting about the timing of
this, if i can put it that way, is that raoul castro himself is in a position at a juncture where he is preparing his succession. so do you think that this might influence things in his plans for that succession in any way? >> i don't know enough about his plans. in fact, i don't think any of us do, to speculate with any intelligence as to whether he's going to pick different people, you know, now, or he is going to change or alter the direction of his, you know, next successor. i will say this. my guess, and you're watching, you know, your coverage of the streets of miami and the folks that are celebrating, and your correspondent in cuba who is reporting that nothing is going on except perhaps, you know, the rolling of military. you know, that's a contrast. that's a wonderful contrast of
freedom and repression. on the one hand you've got free people doing their will and celebrating whatever they want, on the other handy would not ie surprised if you see the government deciding there's going to be no movement in this city of havana, there's going to be no, you know, insurgency in the country of cuba just because fidel castro has died. >> armando seguerro, a columnist with the "miami herald." thank you for being with us and lending your voice to the breaking news. we will come back to you if we're able or if we have time in the coming hours as we will be covering this for sometime. again, for our viewers around the world and in the united states, the former cuban leader fidel castro dead at the age of 90 years old. what you see right here, celebrations in the streets of
♪ this is "cnn breaking news." >> one minute before the top of the hour, 3:00 a.m. on the u.s. east coast. welcome back the our viewers here in the united states and around the world. cnn is following breaking news this hour, the death of the former leader of cuba, fidel castro, who died in havana. he was 90 years old when he died. >> and for years he had been out of the public eye. his brother, the current cuban president, raoul castro, made the announcement on cuban television. here it is. >> translator: dear people of cuba, with profound pain i have
to sadly inform you, to our friends from our america and to the world, that today, november 25th, 2016, at 10:29 in the evening, the commander and leader of the cuban revolution, fidel castro died. following the explicit desires of leader fidel, his remains will be cremated in the early hours of tomorrow, saturday, the 26th. the organizing commission of the funeral will give our people detailed information about the organization of the posthumous tribute that we will give to the founder of the cuban revolution. until victory, always. >> raoul castro there giving the news in cuba. let's go to our dedicated correspondent on the ground, live this hour in havana, cuba, cnn's patrick