Miami Residents Celebrate in the Aftermath of Fidel Castro's Death at 90
Celebrations broke out in Miami at the announcement of former president Fidel Castro’s death.
Thousands of residents poured into the streets of Little Havana within 30 minutes of the news, which was announced by his brother and the current Cuban president, Raul Castro, late Friday night.
Fidel Castro is dead!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016
“With profound pain I share with our people and the friends of America and the world that today, on the 25th of November at 10:29 p.m., the head commander of the Cuban Revolution, the companion Fidel Castro Ruz died,” President Raul Castro said.
In several videos posted to social media, people are seen cheering, banging on pots and pans, carrying Cuban flags, popping bottles of champagne, and playing salsa music into the early hours of Saturday morning.
5 a.m. Still a lot of energy out here on Calle Ocho. Miami police have said they're ready in case demonstrations continue through weekend. pic.twitter.com/4r236c6VKN— Joey Flechas (@joeflech) November 26, 2016
“We’re celebrating the end of a man who separated so many families throughout the years,” one woman told CBSNews “a man who killed many, who imprisoned many individuals just for thinking differently and not believing in his revolution, like my father, who was a political prisoner in Cuba.”
Castro, who was 90, took power in 1959 and starting transforming Cuba into a communist state, causing families to flee to the United States, many to Miami.
Castro held onto power for 47 years until his brother Raul temporarily took over in 2006 due to Castro’s intestinal illness before permanently taking over in 2008.
The former president’s long-held diplomatic standoff with the United States ended in 2014 when President Obama reestablished diplomatic relations with the country – an agreement Castro still didn’t appear to approve of.
The streets of Havana, where a nine day mourning period was announced, looked nothing like Miami, according to reports.
But, some Miami residents said they are not celebrating death.
"We're not celebrating the death of a person. That would be morbid," Virginia Perez Nunez told USAToday. "We're celebrating the beginning of the end of a dictatorship, of a genocide."
President also Obama released a statement on the former president's death.
"At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said. “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation."