- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 02 December 2016
- Written by JASMINE RAMOS | POLITICS CO-EDITOR
On Nov. 25, Cuba’s former president and one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, Fidel Castro, died at the age of 90.
Castro’s younger brother, Raul Castro, and successor announced to the world that the man that survived over 600 assassination attempts, had passed away of natural causes.
He ended his announcement with the revolutionary slogan that became the battle cry for most leftist movements across Latin America, “Towards victory, always!”
The death came as a surprise to many. However, Castro officially resigned in 2008, due to an ongoing illness that was made known to the public.
Castro made his impact globally in the 1950s by leading the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. From then, he began his legacy as the Communist leader of Cuba, having the country divided on their stances of his regime.
According to CBS, “Castro’s Cuba has been a land of contradictions. It has free medical care and its literacy rate is among the world’s highest. But political opposition is suppressed, and the economy is a disaster. Those antique cars on shabby roads became as much a symbol of Cuban life as cigars or music.”
Chair of the Poltical Science Dept., Dr. Ken Mitchell said, ” Similar groups drew inspiration from Castro and fueled Cold War conflicts in Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua and El Salvador. No political leader shaped the modern Latin American left more than Castro.”
He continued, “Post-Revolutionary Cuba is a contradiction, distorted by most in the name of ideology. Conservatives characterize him as a brutal dictator – of course, USA-supported conservative dictators in the region are seen differently. Castro was no more brutal than General Trujillo in The Dominican Republic or Papa Doc in Haiti, both in power at the time of the Cuba Revolution. In turn, progressives see Castro as bringing literacy and health care to his people while downplaying violations of the human rights by the Castro regime. Reality is somewhere in between.”
The reaction to his death has also been mixed. A young Cuban woman told CNN, “The Cuban people are feeling sad because of the loss of our commander in chief Fidel Castro and we wish him, wherever he is, that he is blessed and us Cubans love him.”
“They have been knocking and calling and asking if it is true,” said Angel Daniel Castro, a nephew of Fidel Castro’s. “Many people are crying. Some complain of high blood pressure. Fidel was a good man.
“For us, he was like a father. And Cuba sees him as a father. One woman just called crying and saying she had lost her father. Everyone feels it.”
However, many Cuban- Americans had different reactions. Actor Laz Alonso posted a video on Instagram of several Cuban-Americans on the streets of Miami celebrating the death of Castro. “There is a reason they celebrate,” he wrote in the caption. “Unless you lived it, are related to those that did or lost relatives that did, you do not know.”
One of Cuba’s most famous singers, Gloria Estefan, released a statement on social media, and said, “Although the death of a human being is rarely cause for celebration, it is the symbolic death of the destructive ideologies that he espoused that, I believe, is filling the Cuban exile community with renewed hope and a relief that has long been in coming.”
Cuban-American Senator, Marco Rubio said, “Over six decades, millions of Cubans were forced to flee their own country, and those accused of opposing the regime were routinely jailed and even killed.”
He continued, “Sadly, Fidel Castro’s death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not.”
President Barack Obama released a statement that said, “Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements.”
Obama continued, “During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends — bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity.” On the contrary, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, “Fidel Castro is dead!”, shortly after it was announced.
Natorye Miller, a senior communcation student, said, “It is intresting to see how Castro’s death will play out in the world of politics. Even though he has not been in power 8 years, his ideologies still have an impact on the country.”
image taken from MSN
image taken from Daily Mail