Caracas, November 28, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered three days of national mourning Saturday for the legendary Cuban leader Fidel Castro who died on Friday night at the age of 90.
Speaking at a ceremony held at the tomb of President Chávez in the Mountain Barracks in the Caracas barrio of 23 de Enero, Maduro highlighted Castro’s role in standing up to US imperialism and paving the way for Latin American independence.
“60 years facing down the most murderous and powerful empire in the world from just 90 miles away, Fidel changed the political history of Latin America,” the head of state declared.
Maduro further underscored the geopolitical significance of the Cuban Revolution, which he said, “marked the beginning of the end of US hegemony and imperial domination in Latin America.”
Castro, who stood at the helm of the Cuban Revolution from its triumph in 1959 until 2006, was a close friend of Hugo Chávez as well as one the Bolivarian Revolution’s closest allies.
The two leaders are widely considered the key architects of Latin American integration efforts over the last fifteen years, which include the Bolivarian Alliance of Peoples of Our America (ALBA), PetroCaribe, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Under the terms of the ALBA, Venezuela exports oil to Cuba at favorable prices, and in exchange Cuban medical personnel operate thousands of clinics and hospitals serving poor Venezuelans free of charge.
Among other Cuban-Venezuelan solidarity initiatives is the widely-touted Cuban eye surgery and eyesight restoration program known as the Miracle Mission, which has undertaken over 3.5 million corrective surgeries at no charge throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Under the leadership of Fidel Castro and his successor Raul Castro, Cuba’s famed literacy program “Yes I can” has been implemented in thirty countries, including Venezuela and Bolivia, which eradicated illiteracy in 2005 and 2008, respectively.
The Cuban state has declared nine days of official mourning for the death of the revolutionary leader.
The Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega has, for its part, decreed nine days of mourning for the late leader in recognition of his firm backing of the Sandinista Revolution.
Algeria has likewise announced that it will be paying tribute to Castro for eight days in acknowledgement of Cuban support for the North African nation in its anti-colonial war of liberation against France.