Juanita Castro, a sibling of the former Cuban leader, has said she will not be attending his funeral. A row stretching back many years led to a huge rift after her brothers decided to give away the family's plantation.

Exiled in Miami since 1964, the 83-year-old, who worked with US intelligence says that Castro called her a "counter revolutionary worm" after she sold off some livestock belonging to the family.

On Saturday (26 November), she told the Miami Herald: "In light of the bad rumours that said I was going to go to Cuba for the funeral, I want to clarify that I have never returned to the island, nor do I have plans to do so," Juanita Castro stated.

"I have fought alongside exiles, arm and arm, during their most active and intense stages of struggle in past decades, and I respect the feelings of all."

She added: "I do not rejoice over the death of any human being, much less when that person is someone with my blood and surnames. As a sister of Fidel, I am experiencing the loss of a human being who shared my blood."

Speaking of her 51 years of exile in Miami she said: "Like all the Cubans who left to find a space to fight for the freedom of their country.

"I have never changed my position even though I had to pay a high price for the pain and isolation."

On Monday (28 November), the country will continue preparations for Castro's funeral. A public memorial will be held at the Jose Marti Memorial until 29 November to allow the public to pay their respects.

A mass gathering is also expected at Havana's Plaza of the Revolution, where Castro often spoke in front of huge crowds, according to AP.

Castro's ashes will be taken on a countrywide tour starting in Havana and finishing in Santiago. On Sunday 3 December, the former leader's remains will be buried in the Tanta Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, a significant city in Castro's early life.