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Cuba in national mourning for former leader Fidel Castro

Cuba is observing nine days of national mourning for former President Fidel Castro, who has died at the age of 90.

The socialist revolutionary's death was announced by his brother, Raul Castro, the incumbent Cuban president, on state television late on Friday.

In his address the elderly leader said Mr Castro, who ruled Cuba since 1959 and survived countless assassination attempts, died at 10.29pm on Friday.

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Donald Trump: Fidel Castro was a 'brutal dictator'

Donald Trump Credit: PA

US President-elect Donald Trump has described the late Fidel Castro as a "brutal dictator".

In a statement, Trump said he now hopes for a "free" Cuba and said his incoming Republican administration would do everything they can to help the Cuban people.

Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.

While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve."

– Donald Trump

Trump's first response had been a tweet, saying: "Fidel Castro is dead!"

Trump, who takes office in January, threatened during his campaign to reverse President Barack Obama's moves to open relations with Cuba over concerns about religious freedom.

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