As others may have done, I will not celebrate the death of a man I met on four occasions, but I will not grieve for him, either. My grief is reserved for the Cuban people who continue to suffer the oppression and dictatorial whims of new tyrants and for those of us who continue to live in exile. My celebration is reserved for that day when the Castro name is no longer relevant in Cuban society and I am able to return to my homeland and vote in free, multiparty elections. I look forward to a day when candidates and citizens can express opposing political views without fear, beatings or threats of incarceration.
As a television journalist, whenever I met Fidel I always looked deep into his eyes and sometimes, my thoughts would momentarily drift from what he was saying to me. I would say to myself: Here, before me, is a man who changed my destiny and the destinies of my family and generations of my fellow Cubans. One man who tore apart families and caused so much suffering, death, hatred and division. Here he is in front of me. He’s not larger than life. He’s just a man made of flesh and blood. How could this happen?
History has already judged him, and no, in spite of his prediction, he has not been absolved.
Bill Urbizu, Miami