Penn State Pledges to Remove Castro Quote from Campus Building

Cuban President Fidel Castro touches his head while attending the VII International Meeting about Globalization in Havana in 2005.
Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images

Penn State has promised to take down a quote by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro from a wall on campus, following a student-led campaign to have it removed.

“The University agrees with the concerns you and others have expressed and the quote is being removed,” Frank T. Guadagnino, vice president for administration, wrote to Penn State senior Erik Suarez in an email obtained by Campus Reform.

Suarez has reportedly sent Penn State President Eric J. Bannon a letter, signed by fellow students, expressing concern over the Castro quote. One of the signatories included Carlos Garcia, a “victim of socialism/communism in Cuba.”

“For many across campus, Castro is a figure of totalitarianism and oppression that many victims of communism and their families have experienced during their lives,” Suarez explains in his letter, adding that “having his words on campus washes the reality of who he really was, a dictator.”

Penn State says it will remove the text from its Paul Robeson Cultural Center on campus.

The Castro quote reads as follows:

The equal right of all citizens to health, education, work, food, security, culture, science, and wellbeing — that is, the same rights we proclaimed when we began our struggle, in addition to those which emerge from our dreams of justice and equality for all inhabitants of our world — is what I wish for all.

The promise by Penn State to remove the quote arrives in the wake of thousands of Cubans seen taking to the streets to demand an end to the 62-year-old communist regime, chanting, “Down with the dictatorship,” and “We want liberty,” while waving American flags.

The anti-communist protests have also made their way to America, where Cuban-Americans and their allies have been demonstrating in opposition to Cuba’s government — including one protest in Miami, Florida, in which people flooded the Palmetto Expressway and shut it down.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, the face of the Castro communist regime, responded to the protests by announcing an “order of combat” against peaceful pro-democracy protesters, urging communist civilians to assault them.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s state-run telecom monopoly ETECSA restricted access to major social media platforms and messaging apps in order to silence citizens and hide ongoing protests in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations across the island.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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