New Delhi [India], Nov. 26 : President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday mourned the demise of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
"I'm deeply sad to learn of Former Cuban President Fidel Castro's demise. I pay my most respectful homage to this great revolutionary leader Fidel Castro; his absence will be greatly missed," said President Mukherjee.
Paying respects to the deceased leader, Vice-President Ansari said, "I was saddened to learn of former Cuban President Fidel Castro's demise.
He had great affection for India; I think we have lost a genuine friend of India." The news of Castro's death was announced by his brother and successor Cuban President Raul Castro, who said on national TV: "At 10.29 at night, the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died." Raul added that Fidel would be cremated on Saturday, giving no cause of death but ending the address with the revolutionary slogan: "Hasta La Victoria Siempre!" which translates to "Ever onward, to victory!" In 1959, Castro along with a small band of revolutionaries overthrew an unpopular dictator Fulgencio Batista and rode their jeeps and tanks into Cuba's capital Havana.
Cubans believed in Castro's promise of democracy and an end to repression as they were fed up with the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
An intestinal illness that required several surgeries forced Castro, who had been in power for 47 years, to hand over his duties temporarily to younger brother Raul in July 2006.
Raul took over permanently as the President after Fidel's resignation in February 2008..