With the demise of Fidel Castro, a few important clarifications for the national and international news media are in order:
1. No Castro has ever been elected. In fact, since Castro took power by force in 1959, Cuba has not had free elections. Hence, there has never been a “President” Castro. A more apt description would be “dictator” or “tyrant.” Anything else would be an insult to the many nations that hold legitimate elections.
2. Cuban-Americans in Miami are not “protesting.” We are cautiously, optimistically celebrating what we hope will be the end of a (very long) era. No one should expect violence or the destruction of property.
3. There will undoubtedly be many Cubans on the streets of Cuba in the next few days because of Castro’s death. This should surprise no one. In Cuba, pro-government marches are mandatory, not voluntary or organic. Not participating in such acts results in — among other government-imposed punishments — the loss of employment, the loss of benefits such as food rations, and incarceration.
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Here is hoping that today is not only historic, but also symbolic, marking the beginning of the end of a murderous regime and bringing the Cuban people closer to freedom.