Update with Andy Garcia statement In a lengthy statement to the press, Havana-born Passengers actor Andy Garcia said, “It is necessary for me to express the deep sorrow that I feel for all the Cuban people both inside and outside of Cuba that have suffered the atrocities and repression caused by Fidel Castro and his totalitarian regime. The promises of his so-called revolution of pluralism and democracy were and continue to be a false promise and a betrayal of all basic human rights. The executions, persecution and imprisonment of political dissidents and the LGBT community, denial of free press, elections and religious freedoms continue to be his legacy. He claimed that history would absolve him, but it can also condemn him. I stand as I always have with the Cuban people who love, cherish and celebrate liberty. Hard-working, helpful people who open their hearts and homes to all, whether in Cuba or in exile. I pray for what I have always prayed for: the restoration of our constitution and absolute freedom for the people of Cuba. That dream is very much alive, that fight is very much alive. Let the spirit of Jose Marti and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. show us the way.”
Previous Donald Trump might have put it most succinctly – his first tweet on the death of Cuba’s former president and despot this morning was an unusually brief “Fidel Castro is dead!” – but other politicians, pundits and celebrities felt no less moved to join the discussion. Gloria Estefan, Adam McKay, Barbara Walters and Cher entered the fray, and for once (as these things go) “condolences” were in short supply, though President Barack Obama made the offer to Castro’s family, along with thoughts and prayers for the Cuban people.
Here’s a serving, starting with Trump’s hors d’oeuvre and continuing through some political side-taking and one or two humor fails – yes, Billy Eichner, it is too soon for Florence Henderson jokes. And, no, Colin Kaepernick has not tweeted about Castro’s death, tearful or otherwise, no matter how many times Mike Huckabee and other meme believers say so.
Although the death of a human being is rarely cause for celebration, it is the symbolic death of the destructive ideologies that he espoused that, I believe, is filling the Cuban exile community with renewed hope and a relief that has been long in coming. And although the grip of Castro's regime will not loosen overnight, the demise of a leader that oversaw the annihilation of those with an opposing view, the indiscriminate jailing of innocents, the separation of families, the censure of his people's freedom to speak, state sanctioned terrorism and the economic destruction of a once thriving & successful country, can only lead to positive change for the Cuban people and our world. May freedom continue to ring in the United States, my beautiful adopted country, and may the hope for freedom be inspired and renewed in the heart of every Cuban in my homeland and throughout the world. 🇨🇺🇺🇸 Aunque la muerte de un ser humano es raramente causa para celebrar, es la muerte simbólica de las ideologías destructivas que el patrocinó que, en mi opinión, están llenando al exilio Cubano de esperanza renovada y un alivio que ha tardado mucho en llegar. Y aunque el agarre del régimen Castrista no se aflojara de un día para otro, el deceso de un líder que supervisó el aniquilamiento de aquellos con puntos de vistas opuestos al suyo, el encarcelamiento de inocentes, la separación de familias, la censura de la libertad de expresión, el esparcimiento de terrorismo sancionado por su gobierno y la destrucción económica de un país exitoso que prosperaba, solo puede llevar a cambios positivos para el pueblo Cubano y el mundo. Que la libertad siga viva en los Estados Unidos, mi bello país adoptivo, y que la esperanza para la libertad crezca y se renueve en los corazones de cada Cubano en mi tierra natal y a través del mundo.🇨🇺🇺🇸