As nine days of mourning began in Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death on Nov. 25, Cuban-Americans began to celebrate in the streets of Miami’s Little Havana.
They celebrate the death of a dictator who tore apart a nation, a tyrant who separated families and exiled millions of people from their homes. He is not a man who should be praised as a leader, but one who should be condemned for his dictatorial regime.
Growing up as the granddaughter of Cuban refugees, I was told stories of the hardships they faced when Castro began his rule. They talked fondly of the home they loved and the Cuba they had to leave behind. They often said it would never be the same.
Unfortunately, they did not live long enough to see the death of a man who exiled them from the country they called their home. He outlived them, but their stories live on.
Cuban-Americans are celebrating in the streets of their new home for their family, their friends, the ones they had to leave behind and the ones who did not live long enough to see this day. A day where “Cuba Libre”— Free Cuba — has a chance to be a reality.
However, it is difficult to see leaders like former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau praising Castro as a dedicated leader.
A leader does not oppress a nation, he does not rip apart the country he loves and he does not strip them of their humanity.
Cuba’s 99.8 percent literacy rate and 5.8 percent infant mortality rate does not matter when its people are deprived of their basic human rights.
In the United States, if you disagree with the government’s actions you can freely speak against them.
In Cuba, you are imprisoned. Or worse, you are killed.
Castro was not the inspirational leader many are now making him out to be.
The symbol of the Cuban Revolution has died and with it, a renewal of hope for the new generation of Cuban people.
Jackie Benitez is a senior majoring in mass communications.