LA PAZ – Bolivia’s government on Monday declared an official seven-day mourning period for former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who Bolivia’s head of state, Evo Morales, described over the weekend as “a giant of history.”
Morales plans to travel to Havana in the next few hours to participate in the events honoring Castro, who died on Friday night at age 90, Cuban Ambassador to Bolivia Benigno Perez and a Bolivian Foreign Ministry official confirmed.
The Bolivian president plans to attend the ceremony Tuesday in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution honoring Castro, Perez told the official Patria Nueva radio network.
“Many, many foreign dignitaries, among them President Evo (Morales), are expected to be present for the ceremony,” the ambassador said.
Morales joined other Latin American leaders over the weekend in praising Castro’s accomplishments, saying that the late Cuban president left a legacy of “fighting for the sovereignty and dignity of peoples.”
The official seven-day mourning period in Bolivia will not affect official or private activities, but flags will be flown with black ribbons at public buildings, the Communications Ministry said.
Cuba has been a close ally of Bolivia since Morales took office in 2006, sending numerous medical teams to the Andean nation.
Morales noted recently that his administration’s only allies when it took office were Cuba and Venezuela.
Bolivia and Cuba are both members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, along with Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and several other countries.
ALBA was created by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close Castro ally, in response to the since-derailed U.S. proposal to form the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
On Sunday, Morales delivered an address criticizing those who celebrated Castro’s death, saying that the best tribute to the late Cuban revolutionary was to “stay united in the face of domestic and foreign enemies who want to destroy our people’s future.”
Fidel Castro was “the leader who taught us to fight for the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the peoples of the world,” Morales said.