Cubans celebrated former president Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday by partying on the Malecón seafront in Havana as an electrical storm lit up the night sky.
On the stroke of midnight, a band played Happy Birthday on a plaza outside the new U.S. embassy, while fireworks exploded on the other side of the bay. Colourful floats carrying dancers and salsa bands stretched for miles down the Malecón as Havana’s annual carnival was combined this year with Castro’s birthday concert.
Tributes have ranged from the conventional, such as photo exhibits about his life, to the outlandish, such as the longest cigar in the world, measuring 90 metres, rolled in Castro’s honour. To make the giant cigar, the factory used about 80 kilograms of dry tobacco leaves from Pinar del Rio, west of Havana, where the famous aromatic plant is cultivated.