News of Castro’s illness sparked jubilant celebrations in Miami. Lining the streets of Little Havana, Cuban exiles cheered and waved flags in anticipation of the communist president’s demise. They see his relinquishing of power after nearly 50 years as the first step forward for a free Cuba. An end, they say, to the tyranny.
Both Miami’s Spanish and English newspapers focused on the period of uncertainty to come for the communist island and the speculation about the severity of Castro’s illness. Most Cubans living in Florida seem optimistic about the future: “I think it’s about time. We’re looking forward to him getting out of power, but I think it’s bittersweet because I think he’s going out on his terms as opposed to the Cuban exile community terms,” one said.
Another Cuban exile added: “It’s been 47 years, almost half a century of oppression in our country. The beast is horrible. It is a problem that has almost no solution unless what the Cuban people want to happen happens.” The feeling among exiles is clear. In order for Cuba to be free, they say Castro must die.