Generational differences as Cubans respond to Fidel Castro's death

HAVANA, Cuba -- Cubans across the generations are reacting in very different ways to Fidel Castro’s death. Many older people who grew up under Castro’s regime are mourning his loss and expressing loyalty, but some younger Cubans who have lived through tremendous change say they don’t feel a strong attachment.

Both young and old will gather in the Plaza de la Revolución, or Revolution Square, to pay their respects to Castro on Monday and Tuesday, reports CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez. Castro turned over power to his brother Raul in 2006, so not all will remember his time as president — and even fewer still recall his days fighting the revolution.

On Sunday in Havana, a church league soccer game went on as usual until half-time, when both teams stopped to hold a moment of silence for Fidel Castro.

Alejandro Deben and Ariel Dorta say they admired Castro.

“For us Cubans, it’s a great loss,” Deben said.

But like many young people here, it’s an image molded less by firsthand experience and more by tradition and family. Their grandparents were part of the revolution.

“Clearly, they feel this a lot more than we do,” Dorta said. 

That was apparent away from the field in church pews across the island, where many older Cubans openly mourned. After mass we spoke with Mercedes More Alfonso, who had a tear streaming down her face. She said she loved to watch Fidel Castro and spoke emotionally of “my revolution.”

There is no mention here — at least publicly — about the abuses and oppression of the Castro regime. 

Supporters are trying to make sure the revolution does not fade into history for young people. Nearly a third of the island’s population is under 25 and they’re increasingly drawn to American pop culture as Wi-Fi hot spots ease connections to the outside world.

In the decade since Fidel Castro gave up power, dissidents have supported opportunities like access to Wi-Fi to expose young Cubans to other cultures and new ideas. But many here have expressed concern that the nation’s youth is becoming too distracted during a defining time in this nation’s history.