Castro’s death could mean Cuba’s freedom
It’s 1956, and a young woman boards a boat in search of a better life.
This better life was more than economic prosperity, it meant total freedom. It meant gaining the right to speak out against the government, the right to gather publicly and the right to own land.
This young woman is Josefa Milian, my grandmother, and an immigrant who fled the rise of the Castro regime.
Fast forward to 2016, Fidel Castro is dead.
There are parties in the streets of Little Havana, local Cuban-owned businesses are practically giving things away and the hallowed screams of “Viva Cuba Libre!” can be heard in homes across America.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting choked up at the prospect of a free Cuba, but there is a more tender side to the celebrations in Miami.
The same people who partied in the street go to the memorial to remember their loved ones, many of whom were murdered in the violent crusades of what Castro promised to be a free and peaceful Cuba.
Castro is dead. Cuba is not free, not yet.
Castro feigned wanting to reestablish democracy in Cuba. He was a communist, a Marxist. In his alleged fight for equality, he confiscated privately owned land from citizens for the government.
Those who attempted to fight to save their land were killed. Those who spoke out against Castro’s uprising were killed.
An estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed during Castro’s rise to power. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cuba was one of the most prosperous Latin American nations before the rise of Castro.
The Cuban government called for a week of national mourning for their deceased leader.
However, the population is not distraught by the death of their leader. They remember the government brutally murdering their loved ones.
Many were killed by firing squad for protesting the Castro regime or trying to save their land.
Castro’s death has become more of a Cuban Memorial Day for their loved ones than a week- long funeral procession for their leader.
In Miami, the parties haven’t stopped. Even a week later, signs that read “Viva Cuba Libre” remain in businesses.
This means so much more than the death of a corrupt leader. This is a glimmer of hope for the Cuban people.
We will always fight for freedom.
Viva Cuba Libre por siempre.