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‘The Old Man is Dead’: Castro’s Death Brings Jubilation in Miami

Unlike the solemn streets of Havana, Miami frolicked to the news of Castro’s death with slogans like “Cuba is free”.

Updated
NBC
2 min read
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History will remember Fidel Castro as a fierce revolutionary who built a communist haven in Cuba.

While the world mourns the death of a leader as popular as Castro, elsewhere, in Miami, many Cubans in exile have taken to the streets to celebrate what is for them a joyous occasion.

Unlike the solemn streets of Havana, Miami’s Little Havana reeked of jubilation as young and old Cubans beat pots and pans to slogans of “Cuba Libre” or “Cuba is free” and “the old man is dead”, half an hour into the announcement of Cuba’s former president’s death.

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Cuban flags went up as did cigars and bottles of champagne – as Venezuelans, Colombians and Puerto Ricans joined the first and second generations of Cuban exiles in their celebration.

Many political exiles fled Cuba after their properties were nationalised and their homes and businesses were confiscated.

“Feels weird,” said Gabriel Morales, a 40-year-old financial executive in Miami, whose parents left Cuba after Castro came to power.“Been waiting to hear this news all my life. Seems unreal,” Morales said.

Some even wished for Fidel’s brother Raul to follow the former to the grave, while recalling how “the dictator” (as is the general impression of the revolutionary among those who fled from Cuba) imprisoned thousands of activists over the years and banned free speech.

The revered leader was as hated and feared as he was loved.

Although responsible for restricting human rights and imprisoning thousands of activists and opposition members, Castro created a society of unparalleled access to free health and educational opportunities that ensured that almost 95 percent of the Cuban population is literate.

(With inputs from NBC News and AP)

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