photo courtesy of Henry Makow
The streets of Havana were blanketed in silence as it was announced Friday that Fidel Castro had passed away at the age of 90. The news trickled in as Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, told the world.
"I say to the people of Cuba, with profound pain I come here to inform our people, our friends of America and the world, that today, 25 November, 2016, at 10:29 pm, died the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz," he said, according to CNN.
The reaction seemed to be a mixture of grief and celebration with some citizens of Havana not knowing of the news until CNN asked for their reaction.
Raul had fought alongside Fidel from the beginning and remained his brother's "closest confidant" and has ruled Cuba since taking over for his ailing brother more than eight years ago. President Raul Castro had recently announced he plans to resign in 2018.
The relationship between Cuba and the United States has been a unique one to say the least. The travel embargo that had once been limited to Americans being permitted to making only educational visits to Cuba in tour groups and not allowing individuals to travel on their own had been lifted back in March of this year.
This change was immense of the "American bargo against Cuba," according to The New York Times. "The Republican-led Congress has shown little interest in lifting it. While tourism is still barred by statute, the new rules amount to permission for any American who wants to travel to Cuba to plan an educational sojourn there, as long as they keep records of their activities for five years."
Since this is a travel site, the question that remains among the community is how will the passing of Castro affect anyone wanting to make their way to Cuba? Well --- the answers remain unknown.
In a statement from Greg Geronemus, CEO of SmarTours, a New York City based guided tour company that has been taking Americans to Cuba since April 2015, says there are just as many questions as there are answers.
"Since smarTours began taking American’s to Cuba, we have seen two dramatic changes: the election of Donald Trump and the passing of Fidel Castro," Geronemus in an emailed statement. "Both within weeks. On the former, will President-elect Trump follow through on his promise to repeal President Obama's executive orders related to Cuba and prevent Americans from traveling? On the latter, will Raul Castro now feel liberated to take steps towards progress that might make President-elect Trump comfortable going down the path towards further normalizing of relations between the US and Cuba?"
Geronemus adds that if you are planning a trip to Cuba, you should make these arrangements sooner rather than later.
"How will either affect the ability of U.S. citizens to visit Cuba? Nobody knows. And anyone who gives a definitive answer, doesn’t know. The only thing we can say with any certainty is that if you want to go to Cuba, go soon, while we all know it is possible. And if you go soon, it will certainly be fascinating to experience Cuba during this period of uncertainty and potential change."
The passing news of Castro is still in its infancy which means questions will continue to surface. Travel Pulse will continue updating information as it comes in.