The death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro may have been a sad time for many Cubans, but the news prompted a jubilant reaction from thousands of Cuban Americans who fled their homeland for a better life in the United States.
Castro, who died at the age of 90, was a dictator who prohibited free speech, persecuted political opponents and abolished Christmas as a national holiday. His oppression and tyranny forced thousands of people to escape the Caribbean island nation and live in exile.
As the news of his death spread, hundreds congregated in the streets of Little Havana in Florida — the heart of the Cuban-American community — to sing and dance while bashing metal pots, blasting car horns and waving Cuban and American flags.
“I think most people aren’t celebrating his death per se, but the end of something that was horrific for a very, very long time,” said a Cuban immigrant.
Gloria Estefan, one of Cuba’s most famous singers, also released a lengthy statement detailing the sentiments of most Cuban-Americans.
Although the death of a human being is rarely cause for celebration, it is the symbolic death of the destructive ideologies that he espoused that, I believe, is filling the Cuban exile community with renewed hope and a relief that has been long in coming. And although the grip of Castro's regime will not loosen overnight, the demise of a leader that oversaw the annihilation of those with an opposing view, the indiscriminate jailing of innocents, the separation of families, the censure of his people's freedom to speak, state sanctioned terrorism and the economic destruction of a once thriving & successful country, can only lead to positive change for the Cuban people and our world. May freedom continue to ring in the United States, my beautiful adopted country, and may the hope for freedom be inspired and renewed in the heart of every Cuban in my homeland and throughout the world. ???????? Aunque la muerte de un ser humano es raramente causa para celebrar, es la muerte simbólica de las ideologías destructivas que el patrocinó que, en mi opinión, están llenando al exilio Cubano de esperanza renovada y un alivio que ha tardado mucho en llegar. Y aunque el agarre del régimen Castrista no se aflojara de un día para otro, el deceso de un líder que supervisó el aniquilamiento de aquellos con puntos de vistas opuestos al suyo, el encarcelamiento de inocentes, la separación de familias, la censura de la libertad de expresión, el esparcimiento de terrorismo sancionado por su gobierno y la destrucción económica de un país exitoso que prosperaba, solo puede llevar a cambios positivos para el pueblo Cubano y el mundo. Que la libertad siga viva en los Estados Unidos, mi bello país adoptivo, y que la esperanza para la libertad crezca y se renueve en los corazones de cada Cubano en mi tierra natal y a través del mundo.????????
Cuban-American baseball player Jose Canseco also took to social media to share his thoughts on Castro’s death.
I was born in Cuba and Fidel Castro was our leader. Came to the USA because of him.— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) November 26, 2016
Can't say I feel anything for his death. There is a reason many defected to USA— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) November 26, 2016
Find out more in the video above.