Mon, 23 May 2022

HAVANA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- On Friday night, thousands of Cubans gathered at Havana's Fraternity Park for a vigil to mourn the victims of the Hotel Saratoga explosion.

Wearing face masks and dressed in black, attendees carried lit candles and flowers to convey their condolence.

"I am here to express my support to relatives and friends of the victims," Amed Jose Conill, a university student, told Xinhua. "We are living days of sorrow and deep pain."

Yasser Calvo, a 38-year-old rescue worker, said that this vigil had a great significance for him.

"It has left profound traces in my life. I had never faced such a tragic accident in my professional career," he said. "I feel devastated."

Organized by Cuba's Young Communist League, the commemorative event was attended by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other high-ranking officials.

So far, 46 people have lost their lives in the hotel blast which took place on May 6 due to a gas leak.

Located near the National Capitol building, the five-star hotel was scheduled to reopen on May 10 as part of the country's bid to revive the local tourism industry.

Cuba on Thursday announced 42 hours of national mourning for the victims, which began from Friday morning to Saturday midnight.

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