Cuban-Americans in Southern California were overjoyed at the news of Fidel Castro’s death on Friday, as the dictator who clung to power for decades and drove many to flee to the United States finally passed.
“Throughout Southern California on Saturday, Cuban-Americans hoisted glasses of champagne and waved Cuban and American flags in celebration of Castro’s death,” the Orange County Register reported.
The Register added some personal recollections of Cuban-Americans in the region:
Magaly Bertran, 71, said she will never forget the day Castro’s oppressive regime labeled her and her husband, Jaime Bertran, 74, “gusanos,” a slur meaning worms and directed at those trying to depart the country.
Castro’s government made his father a political prisoner, said 55-year-old [Santiago] Martin. His mother was taken out of their home and he was forced to live with an aunt until the family was permitted to immigrate to Spain in 1968.
Cuban-Americans prayed for the day when Castro would no longer be in power. “But it’s emotional because so many people from Cuba didn’t live to see this moment,” Martin said.
Santa Ana resident Cesar Hernandez was a judge in Cuba before he was forced by the government to become a gas station attendant. He fled the country in 1967.
“Fidel Castro was a tyrant, murderer, liar, and evil despot. History will remember him as nothing more. He murdered his own citizens, imprisoned those who disagreed with him and wrought inconceivable misery on the people of his country for nearly 6 decades,” Issa said.
“His death does not deserve to be mourned. While the dictator has died, the repressive regime he created endures. It is my hope that his death will mark the beginning of a new era of hope, freedom, and peace for the people of Cuba.
“We have much work to do, but the people of Cuba should know that the United States stands at the ready to help further our common mission of eradicating communism and oppression wherever we find it. The irony of his death on Black Friday, the most capitalist day of the year, should also serve as a reminder that capitalism and freedom always win.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.