Fidel Castro’s Death: What It Means for the Church In Cuba


Reaction ranges from sorrow to celebration at the news of Cuba’s former President  Fidel Castro’s death at age 90. 

His brother Raul, who now leads the island nation, said he died at 10:29 pm on Friday. He ended the announcement by shouting the revolutionary slogan: “Toward victory, always!”

Castro had been suffering from intestinal problems and other serious health issues since 2006 and handed over the dictatorship to Raul in 2008.

Castro led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba in the late 1950’s, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half-century rule.

Miami’s Little Havana heralded the news with shouts of victory. The small community located in Miami-Dade County was celebrating not grieving the death of the communist leader.

For the thousands that fled the dictator’s leadership, his death symbolizes the end of a far-reaching communist regime.

“Cuba si! Castro no!,” they chanted, while others screamed “Cuba libre!”

“We’re all celebrating, this is like a carnival,” said 72-year-old Jay Fernandez, who came to Miami when he was 18 in 1961.

There were no reports of violence or any arrests during the demonstrations.

Miami police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat said Saturday there were no plans to activate the emergency operations center – another sign of the more subdued reaction to Castro’s death than might have previously been expected.

“They are celebrating but in a very peaceful way,” Fallat said of the demonstrators.

Miami-Dade mayor Carlos A. Gimenez writes that he hopes for a “free and democratic Cuba,” The Guardian reports.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama made a statement on Castro’s death and extended a hand of friendship with Cuba, which he visited earlier last year in an effort to thaw out U.S-Cuba relations.

“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” he said. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure in the people and world around him.”

US president-elect, Donald Trump also issued a statement, “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

“While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve,” Trump said.

He added that his administration would help in giving Cubans freedom and prosperity.

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Talia Wise