As A Cuban, I Am Celebrating The End Of A Dictator 

On November 26th, Raul Castro, current leader of Cuba released a statement revealing news that could potentially change the lives of all Cubans, both residents and non. At 10:59 on Friday night, Fidel Castro had passed away. It seems as though we were given something to be thankful for.

Castro, reigning terror on Cuban soil in 1959, changed the lives of the people forever. Castro became the youngest leader in all of Latin America, promoting the motto of socialism or death. Forcing communism on the people, his supporters claimed he “gave Cuba back to them”. To others, he ripped it from their bear hands.

Being Cuban, I grew up with real life accounts of how horrible the Castro regime truly was. It is very easy to claim that he did a lot of good, sugar coating his reign with examples of good healthcare and education. However, it’s extremely difficult to agree with these opinions. Seeing as I have witnessed the lives of loved ones slowly deteriorate because there is simply nothing that can be done for them in the hospitals of Cuba. Many other Cuban Americans can vouch with me. Growing up always sending gigantic care packages filled with medicine, clothes and food that cannot be found.

A lot of you may be asking well what did he do that was so bad that his death is being celebrated? His dictatorship lasted over sixty years.

Within those sixty years, he imprisoned hundreds of people for being against him and by trying to conspire against him.

Also, people who spoke against him. He changed the constitution that Cuba once had, which permitted elections every four years, and forced his reign on the people. Oppressing people and ridding them of basic human rights, Castro was easily defined as a dictator.

Aside from eliminating the constitution, he intervened with many businesses, both big and small and took ownership, giving it to the country. He erased all aspects of democratic influence in Cuba to emphasize his rule, and make it much more difficult to disobey. Parents feared for their sons, being forced to lower their ages to save them from being sent to the military. Churches were shut down, all religious people were persecuted.

At one point, so many people were fleeing the country that as punishment he ended all connections with the United States, leading to the ban on US travel to Cuba. Shutting Cuba out from the rest of the world. Breaking relations with the U.S and building with Russia. Letters and packages arriving from the U.S were lost completely, and never arrived to their destinations. For many years, we knew nothing about Cuba, they became ghosts. The United States had many attempts to overthrow the Castro regime, and constantly made efforts with Cuban exiles.

The news of this death left people jumping for joy. I have never seen people so content over someone’s death. Cubans all over have been celebrating, taking a look specifically at Hialeah (a known hub for cubans) hosting block parties bigger than when the heat won. One woman saying

“I’m happy that after so many years he’s dead. The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here.”

Others can easily agree.

What now? The death of Castro has brought us hope for Cuba’s liberty. We stand together, hoping and praying for the best. For our beautiful land to be returned to us, as it was once stolen. This death has brought happiness to the Cubans who left everything. They left the only lives they know. Their families, their friends, their comfort, their homes.
The minute Castro became uncomfortable with Batista’s reign was the minute Cuba changed for the worst. No matter how you cut it, the bad will always outweigh the good (and that’s only if you believe there was). The hardships my people faced will never be forgotten.

Waking up to my grandfather with joyous tears in his eyes, I can feel the change coming near.

 ¡Viva mi Bella Cuba!

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Written by
Ivette Borges is a fourteen year old freshman in high school from Miami, Florida. She is president of her class and is also on the debate team. In her spare time she enjoys reading, singing and binging on netflix movies. One day, she aspires to attend Columbia University and become a lawyer and part time journalist. She enjoys writing about all things feminism, cultural appropriation, and the faults in certain pop culture trends. If you need to contact her, her twitter is @ivettebxrges and her instagram is @ivette.mariie, feel free to DM her!

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