90 Miles, One Celebration

For 57 years, the Cuban people have been awaiting a day that many wish may have come sooner. As the pulsing sounds of pots and pans echoed through neighborhoods, it was certain that their long awaited had ended.

As the clock struck midnight on the 26th of November, news was released that infamous Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, had just passed away at the age of 90. It was then that Cuban refugees who had escaped Fidel’s regime, began to celebrate, and celebrate, and celebrate. “I was left speechless when I heard the news. It happened so suddenly that it caught everyone by surprise,” said Myriam Clemente, who joined in the festivities. Her among many others participated in the celebrations that lasted close to 24 hours.

Castro came to power in 1959 after leading a revolution against former democratically elected president-turned-dictator Fulgencio Batista. When he announced he was a Marxist in 1961, Castro found himself in the center of the Cold War. He ruled over the island for forty-seven years, before giving power to his brother Raul in 2006. Although he officially gave Raul the title of President in 2008, Fidel Castro remained a symbol of the revolution for the Cuban people, and a symbol of oppression for many who escaped from the island nation. Cuba’s government is still under communist rule.

This idea, however, didn’t stop people of all ages and even different ethnicities to join together to celebrate side by side. Cuban refugee Myrna Millan, who was widowed after her husband was killed in the bay of pigs war. “I’m sure that the death of Fidel is not only going to affect Cuba, but also affect all foreign countries,” said Millan. “These countries have seen him as an unruly dictator and because of it, they come out and celebrate as well”.

Amongst first generation Cubans in the celebrations, lied a group of third generation cubans, who though they are not native to the island, understand the importance of this day. Congressman Carlos Curbelo is one of those who fall under this category of non-native Cubans. “People from my generation and younger, we know that this is a historic day.

Though this event didn’t directly affect Miami, the occurrences on the day of November 26, 2016 will be laid out in our countries history for the rest of time.

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