Cuban families across the United States reveled in telling their older relatives this Friday that dictator Fidel Castro had died, with some posting reaction videos of their parents and grandparents hearing that the man who forced them out of their country could no longer persecute them.
Flora Suarez left Cuba in 1965 with her husband and children, never to return. Now 85 years old, Suarez suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, her family told the Miami-based AmericaTeVe. She does not remember her children’s names, but she understood when her daughter told her that Fidel Castro had died.
“I have the best news in the world for you. … What is this? It’s the flag,” her daughter says in the video, wrapping her in a large Cuban flag. “Fidel fell. He fell. … The day is here”:
Ninety-three-year-old Pablo Suarez, her husband, tells AmericaTeVe that Flora had made the decision to flee communist Cuba. “She said at night, ‘We’re going tonight,'” he recalls. “I said, ‘You’re crazy.’ ‘Well, if you’re not going, I’m taking the kids.”
Her family purchased the flag more than 20 years ago to celebrate Castro’s death.
Another video surfacing on social media shows an unnamed older Cuban gentleman as his children tell him that Fidel Castro has died. They tease him with good news from Cuba, to which he replies, “Good news from Cuba? I never expect any good news from Cuba.”
“It’s not freedom, but it’s something good: Fidel died,” a relative tells him.
In disbelief, the man tells her, “Fidel has died before,” before letting it sink in. He added, “He should have died 56 years ago”:
On Twitter, Cuban-Americans have been sharing photos of their relatives celebrating, this couple, for example, who had a specialty cake made for the occasion:
my abuelo and abuela with their FIDEL DEATH CAKE pic.twitter.com/WKlp029P1G
— mr. Kink Santa (@aisu10) November 27, 2016
This family kept a special bottle of liquor to be opened when Fidel Castro died:
“Open only when Fidel dies” my grandma got this as a gift over 10 years ago & she’s so excited to open it tonight with our family. pic.twitter.com/kZ6QdmjDvW
— Claidys ❁ (@pcvdtxo_) November 27, 2016
Keeping a bottle of rum, champagne, or other celebratory liquor saved especially to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro is a common tradition in Cuban-American families, depicted in the classic PBS sitcom ¿Que Pasa, USA?:
Cuban dictator Raúl Castro announced the death of his brother Fidel, 90, on Friday night. Fidel governed Cuba from 1959-2008, killing thousands through the use of firing squads and sending thousands more to their deaths in military occupations of African countries, most notably Angola, in an attempt to turn those nations into communist satellites. Castro’s legacy also includes the use of labor camps to do away with “undesirables” – mostly LGBT Cubans and Christians – and the global Cuban diaspora resulting in his wake.