Fidel Castro dies: Music stops but holidays continue in Cuba

Nine days of mourning for the former leader will last until 4 December

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The Independent Travel

The music has died, temporarily, in Cuba, with bars and restaurants turning off their sound systems during the nine days of mourning for the late president, Fidel Castro. Until noon on 4 December, all public events have been cancelled.

Journey Latin America (JLA), a leading specialist travel agent, says that music venues including the Tropicana in Havana are closed as a mark of respect.

The former leader’s death was announced on Cuban state television Friday night by his brother, Raul Castro, who took over as leader.

JLA says: “Clients currently in Cuba have not had their travel plans changed. At the moment everything is operating normally – restaurants are open (but without music) and excursions are going ahead.

“The clients that we have there are travelling at a unique time and will witness first-hand the reaction of a nation mourning the loss of someone who was a fundamental influence in the life of every Cuban.”

The company is telling travellers who are booked to depart: “It is another chapter in Cuba’s ever changing history and although the mood will be sombre it will also be an opportunity for visitors to understand some of what Cubans thought of their leader and dictator.”

A mass rally is scheduled for the Plaza de la Revolucion on the evening of 29 November. “We expect some clients will wish to attend,” says JLA. No customers have cancelled, and the firm has had at least one enquiry from somebody keen to attend the funeral.

In Santiago de Cuba, where Castro began his revolutionary career, there will be a rally on 3 December, with a private ceremony the following day.

The Foreign Office is telling visitors: “Monitor local media, or get information from your tour operator or hotel about possible road closures or new information from the government.”

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