Fidel Castro’s Death – A Nine Day Overdose

11 Dec

At first it was interesting.

After all, I had been in Havana when the Pope visited and when Chavez died so I knew it was going to be tough.

I was having breakfast when I switched on my mobile and the text messages started coming in. First from my Cuban friends announcing the death of Fidel, then from my friends all-over the world confirming it and congratulating me for being in Havana at the historic moment.

Well, the nine days of official mourning with most places closed, no music allowed, no alcohol sales in bars, restaurants or even the LCDH in International hotels really made it an insufferable overdose.

I was lucky enough to find and pay for a few cases of Cristal beer and Santiago AƱejo rum the morning his death was announced. A friend called me from Artemisa saying that all alcohol sales there were forbidden.

When I went to pick up my haul later that afternoon it was already hidden away for me and Havana like all of Cuba was also being made dry.

All Paladares withdrew beer and alcohol from sight or placed black sheets over the coolers and shelves. Failure to do this or selling a beer would result in permanent closure. Some also posted pictures of Fidel at their doors for good measure. Most night places just closed down.

Traffic came almost to a standstill and the streets were eerily calm and empty. Most public transportation was being used to ferry people from their workplaces to the official mourning site at Revolution square ( I visited it a few times and it had a sort of relaxed atmosphere ) where they would stand in lines for hours to get a glimpse of one of the three salons containing a black & white picture of Fidel.

There was nothing else but Fidel on all TV channels, 24/7, Fidel and nothing but Fidel with live coverage of all acts, events, presidents that flew in, the speeches, the lines at Revolution square, interviews and documentaries – nine days of Fidel and Fidel only, even at the International hotels the TV was a steady stream of Fidel.

Sports bars were empty, forget about watching El Clasico, it was Fidel only on all screens. Classic overdose.








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