People in Miami marched by the thousands Friday night and Saturday and into Sunday, celebrating, at long last, the death of the cruelest human being ever to breath the air of Cuba — or for that matter the air of the Americas — Fidel Castro.
Castro was a communist despot, a thief, a liar, a murderer, a betrayer of his own revolution. He was a pig of a man who made prisoners of his own people in their native land as he took their property and made them slaves to a way of life that was so vile that none other has touched it in its degree of evil in our hemisphere, in our time.
The people celebrating his death left no doubt they were overjoyed, as they took to Miami streets.
The solemnity usually accompanied by a death was nowhere to be seen unless it was indoors. Instead, there was unbounded joy. The people celebrating had either experienced Castro’s evil and duplicity firsthand, or were related to others who had experienced it. Whole families sang and danced together as it finally sunk in, that like the wicked witch in the “Wizard of Oz,” the Cuban epitome of evil was gone for good.
I personally knew some Cubans who fled their homeland after Castro took over in 1959. Although Castro had promised revolutionary reforms, these Cubans knew Castro to be a liar and a thief, not a reformer. He had already begun confiscating the property of business people and farmers, and turning it over to the state. As a result, people took what they could, piled into small planes or boats and headed for Florida. Thus, they began a great migration of Cubans from their homeland, mostly to Florida, but also to other regions where Cubans and other Spanish-speakers had already settled.
The friends I knew had been part of a family of tailors in Havana. They eventually arrived in Seattle with barely enough clothing to wear. They found restaurant jobs, janitorial jobs and finally one of them found a job making alterations in the men’s clothing department of a department store. Seven of them lived in a two-bedroom apartment.
Oh, they had one other thing with them — a guitar.
I was a friend of another employee of the department store, and at a party one evening, we all wound up at one apartment large enough to accommodate about 10 people. The man from Cuba who had the guitar brought it, and eventually he began to strum and sing in English.
I remember he sang about Cuba and how much he missed it, as though it were a long-lost child or a lover.
“You will never know how much we miss our homeland,” he said. “Nobody can know.”
In later years, we met people in Miami who had fled Cuba. One was a doctor, while another was a friend and colleague of one of our daughters. Even though they had done well in the United States, there was a great hole in their lives because of their loss of Cuba.
My daughter went to Cuba to visit some friends under a special visa, and when she went there took great risks to bring them little presents they couldn’t get there — shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste.
That was the kind of place Cuba was under the worst man who ever lived there — a place beloved by its people, yet a place of dreary enslavement for no reason than to keep one dictator in power.
Hell is too good a place for him.